The Keeper: Vega Jane, Book 2

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Keeper:  Vega Jane, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Wand magic at the forefront of action-packed sequel.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain. Glossary in the back defines many fantasy and magical terms.

Positive Messages

Without the truth, nothing else matters. Belief, having faith, is the most powerful thing of all; believe in yourself, and you can do anything. Trust your heart -- it's the one thing you have that the forces of evil don't have. People don't like change, so we either run from it, build walls to keep it away, or attack it. Vega thinks of herself as "pretty strong for a female."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Vega Jane, 15, continues to model bravery, resourcefulness, compassion, and loyalty. She learns empathy by appreciating other creatures, no matter how strange, because she is just another kind of creature herself. She'd rather die trying to find the truth about the world than live a life that's not really her own. Delph continues to model loyalty, bravery, and helping out in unexpected ways, even though he doesn't have magical abilities the way Vega does. Other characters run the gamut of good to evil.


Heroes are frequently in peril from fantasy creatures. Descriptions of attacks and fights are intense and suspenseful, and they detail blows and subsequent pain without being gory -- although blood is mentioned a half dozen times or so. Weapons are both magical and real and include arrows, swords, and, infrequently, guns.


Delph and Vega kiss on the cheek once or twice. Vega starts to notice romantic feelings for Delph.


Strong language is all British slang. "Bloody" is frequent; infrequent are "arse," "git," "prat," "bum," "damn," "bugger off," and "Hel" for "hell." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man is described as "in his cups."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Keeper is a continuation of The Finisher, which was prolific and best-selling author David Baldacci's YA debut. Reading the first book isn't strictly necessary, but it will broaden the reader's appreciation of the fantasy setting and of 15-year-old protagonist Vega Jane. Fantasy violence is frequent and sometimes intense but rarely gory, except for some mentions of blood without detailed description. Vega and her friend Delph kiss on the cheek once or twice and start to notice deepening feelings for each other. Strong language is almost all British slang such as "arse" and "git"; hell is used frequently, spelled "Hel."

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What's the story?

Vega Jane; her dog, Harry Two; and her best friend, Delph have escaped the safety of their home village of Wormwood and entered the wilds of the Quag. The Quag is a deadly wilderness that surrounds Wormwood, and everyone in Wormwood knows there's nothing beyond the Quag. But Vega's family history hints that there really is more to the world. If Vega wants to know and understand the truth about her world, she and her companions will have to face THE KEEPER, an evil king, monsters galore, and even death itself.

Is it any good?

David Baldacci’s sophomore young-adult effort suffers a bit of a slump, but fantasy lovers will enjoy the imaginative creatures and emphasis on wand magic. If you haven't read The Finisher, Vega Jane's sterling qualities won't be as obvious; her temper has gotten shorter as she takes on a leadership role while lives are at stake. Baldacci also holds the reader's hand a bit too much here, overexplaining things and broadcasting some events and motives.

But readers who fell for Vega Jane in the first book will enjoy her continuing adventures beyond Wormwood. There's still lots of action, suspense, and adventure, and the wand magic adds an exciting new element to the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many young adult books are part of a series. What would Vega Jane's story be like if it all had to fit in one book?

  • Did you read The Finisher? What did you think would happen next to Vega Jane, and did that come true? Would you like her adventures to continue in a third book?

  • Vega Jane thinks the truth always matters and that without the truth we have nothing. What does she mean by that? Do you agree?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and magic

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