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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain. Glossary in the back defines many fantasy and magical terms.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Delph and Vega kiss on the cheek once or twice. Vega starts to notice romantic feelings for Delph.
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Strong language is all British slang. "Bloody" is frequent; infrequent are "arse," "git," "prat," "bum," "damn," "bugger off," and "Hel" for "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man is described as "in his cups."
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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."
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.