I received a free copy of A Keeper’s Tale in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to JA Andrews.
Set in the world of The Keeper Chronicles which includes SPFBO semi-finalist A Threat of Shadows, this is an enjoyable fantasy fairy tale told to a crowded inn full of enthusiastic patrons, by a Keeper. The story progresses as follows. Tomkin is the youngest son of the Duke of Marshwell. He’s a great strategist and administrator with a prompt, analytical mind. His hero brother, Elton, and the nation’s armies are away doing typical military duty. Everything is in order and great until a dragon is witnessed hijacking and devouring local sheep. Tomkin, with his grandfathers sword Scalebreaker, decides to investigate the castle ruins at Colbreth where the dragon is reportedly residing.
Simply put, this is a very well written, positive fantasy drama that would be a great introduction to the scene for young teens. Perhaps the sort that you and your children could read at the same time and both love. It was similar to King’s Eyes of the Dragon (that I loved when I was 11) and the main flashback from his The Wind Through the Keyhole. Although simple, the characters are engaging throughout. We only really follow Tomkin, the mysterious Mags, the purple hat flaunting creature Wink, and the dragon. The descriptions given to describe the dragon are beautiful. It was a pretty gripping and engrossing tale hence why I completed it within 24 hours. It is ultimately story focused so don’t expect exquisite world building yet, that isn’t a negative. This narrative is about Tomkin and the Dragon and 80-percent of the action takes place amongst the castle ruins. Common opinion, which I ignore, is that self-published books are second-rate compared to trad-published. This story is another reason of why I can argue against this point. It’s really well edited and during its brisk 200-pages, I only noticed 2 minor grammatical errors. It isn’t action packed with showdowns galore. Although Tomkin is often stubborn, the draw here is how he uses his mind, deals with Mags and analyses the grave scenarios to maybe escape the dragon-fuelled predicament. Just a quick review for a short fun tale. Andrews has a lot to offer. One of the plot twists was easy to work out for me but I don’t think that will be the case for this tale’s target audience. This is an excellent, well-written fantasy fairy-tale containing intriguing characters, interesting dilemmas, and a seemingly charming dragon. This is definitely worth picking up.