Like the first book in the Vega Jane series, The Finisher, I received this book as a gift from my Aunt Shannon. I don’t think I would have picked the series out for myself because the author, David Baldacci, typically writes adult thrillers that I associate with things that dads would like to read! Like authors Michael Connelly and Lee Child, David Baldacci just isn’t on my radar. I’m glad I decided to start this series, though, and I can’t wait to find out how Vega Jane’s adventure will end.
Master storyteller David Baldacci is back with THE KEEPER, the follow up to his instant #1 global bestselling and award-winning fantasy debut, THE FINISHER.
Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but the Quag, a wilderness filled with danger and death. And she believed it – until the night she stumbled across a secret that proved that everything she knew was a lie.
Now just one thing stands between Vega Jane and freedom – the Quag. In order to leave Wormwood and discover the truth about her world, Vega and her best friend Delph must find a way to make it across a terrifying land of bloodthirsty creatures and sinister magic. But the Quag is worse than Vega Jane’s darkest imagining. It’s a living, breathing prison designed to keep enemies out and the villagers of Wormwood in.
The Quag will throw everything at Vega Jane. It will try to break her. It will try to kill her. And survival might come at a price not even Vega Jane is willing to pay.
Master storyteller David Baldacci unleashes a hurricane of action and adrenaline that takes readers to the breaking point.
*Review contains minor, vague spoilers.
Might be best enjoyed by readers who have already read the book!*
I had some real worries going into this book – mainly that the book would be incredibly limited and repetitive. Would it just be about staying alive in the Quag? Moments of calm and then constant battles for their lives? And just Vega, Delph, and Harry Two (a dog) for characters? How would this carry a whole book? Thankfully, Baldacci has crafted quite the adventure and quite the heroes, and I think I enjoyed this book more than the first one.
Vega Jane, Delph, and Harry Two continue their trek through the Quag in the second book, The Keeper. The book starts right where the first book in the series left off: at the bottom of a cliff. From the first page to the last, there are trials and creatures to defeat at every turn. Vega is a bit like Odysseus, being tested on a long, dangerous journey where forces outside of her control are trying to thwart her plan to see what’s beyond the Quag. Vega starts to feel like she’s been left behind in Wormwood, like she wasn’t worth saving, but then she comes to discover that she has the power to wield magic. Along with Vega’s magic, the incredible tools she collected in the first book (Destin, the Adder stone, and the elemental), plus Delph’s strength and uncanny sense of direction, and Harry Two’s selfless bravery, our heroes attempt to make their way through five circles of the Quag – a literal maze to keep anyone from getting in or out. The circles are designed to break your spirit and no one is supposed to actually succeed in escaping the circles.
While, thanks to a book provided by Quentin, Vega and Delph know that there will be many horrendous creatures that will stop at nothing to kill them, one of the most surprising things Vega and Delph come across is other people: a cruel, self-proclaimed king, the Keeper who (fittingly) wants to hold them captive, and some survivors living in the Quag who may or may not be trustworthy. The people are some of the trickiest challenges to navigate, but it was a relief that the entire book wasn’t just one terrifying creature after another.
At times, the book felt a bit juvenile because the writing was so…well, I’m not actually sure why I think this, but I do! Perhaps because it was such a fast-paced, action-packed book? Or because Vega actually thinks like a teenager? Also, some of the plot points felt borrowed from other sources. For instance, the five circles felt too contrived, and Vega’s magical incantations are sure to remind readers of other famous wizards (personally, I could have done without the wand-wielding magic – I liked how tough and fearless and smart Vega was without it). Luckily, the book is still incredibly fresh and unexpected.
Even though Vega Jane learns some answers to questions she had about Wormwood and its past, there are still plenty of unanswered questions to uncover in the next book. I read this book several days faster than The Finisher because it was so dangerous, suspenseful, and surprising. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.