Title: The Path Keeper
Author: N. J. Simmonds
Page Count/Review Word Count: 438
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
This book was interesting, because in some ways it’s defies genre. It’s billed as “the first in a thrilling new YA fantasy series”, but it also has elements of romance, historical fiction and just straight up contemporary. In fact, when I first started reading it, I wondered where all of the fantasy was – but then it kicked in during the second half, and it worked well because of that.
The result is a book that feels simultaneously similar to half of the books on the market while still maintaining an original feel, and that makes it a lot of fun. I also liked the way that Simmonds didn’t shy away from sex, but she also didn’t make it seem like a big deal. It happens, of course, because it has to in a story like this, but she didn’t kill the mood and unsuspend my disbelief with cringy descriptions and awful words.
When I was reading this, I wasn’t sure whether to give it a three or a four, because I felt like it was somewhere in between. When I rated books out of ten, a seven was my default rating for a professional quality book, while eights were for books that impressed me and nines and tens were for those that amazed me or changed my life. But by the end of this book, it was definitely an eight, and I’d be up for reading more of the author’s work.
Loosely speaking, the plot follows a man and a woman whose lives are interlinked. This is a world in which reincarnation happens, angels exist and there is no god, which sounds like a pretty good world to me. To begin with, life seems pretty much normal, and the protagonist – Ella Fantz – is a fairly typical teenager. Except, that is, for the fact that her parents are rich and she’s a minor celebrity.
Initially, I didn’t think I was going to relate to any of the characters. Imagine my surprise, then, when I actually got drawn into it and started to genuinely care about what happened to them. Oh, it wasn’t perfect – after all, it’s a debut novel. But the characterisation was pretty good, the pacing worked well and I enjoyed the story line as a whole. Overall then, worth reading – especially if you’re into this sort of thing. I’d recommend it to people who like fantasy or romance.