This series is a spin-off of the very successful Matefinder trilogy and follows Anya’s trials as the daughter of two powerful werewolves whose shoes won’t be easy to fill as she grows older. There are many expectations set on Anya, and she feels the weight of the huge responsibility on her shoulders. She is afraid to let anybody down as the future Matefinder of her pack. Anya is a straightforward, likable character. She has a great relationship with her parents and brother. This is nice to see in YA as so many books in the genre use the missing-parent or evil/careless parent trope. In Keeper, Anya’s parents are very present. They are protective of her, but know when to back off, just the way good parents should be. For those who enjoy plots that tick, this will be a great addition to their shelves. Things move fast and Anya quickly finds out that her destiny is not as clear-cut as she had suspected. In spite of the turmoil, Anya faces each challenge with bravery and resolve. Her strength of character is her biggest weapon at every turn. She is never a pushover or too scared to face the tryouts that are constantly thrown in her direction.
I think the story is one of growth and change for Anya and her mate. The antagonist is an outside force that remains on the fringes of the story and is, for the most part, faceless. She certainly has to fight the enemy, putting her wits to good use more than once, but the most important obstacles she faces have to do with reassessing her skills and coming to terms with her shape-shifting nature and the fact that she has found her mate. This is an excellent setup to allow the reader to connect with Anya before getting deeper into the greater conflict which I suspect will play a bigger role in the next installment.
There is a romance element in the story and, although it’s a driving factor, Anya doesn’t lose her identity to her love interest. If anything, I would have liked for Gavin to be a bit more fleshed out. He is hot, achingly handsome and with some skills of his own, but, at times, he felt like an extension of Anya rather than a true individual. I hope that in book two, we will see more of him and will learn of his own passions and dreams.
For those who like a heads up, there is language in the story, and a sexy scene that fades to black. But, in general, the books can be enjoyed by any young adult who doesn’t have heightened sensibilities in those areas.
Keeper will keep the voracious reader turning the page. Perfect for urban fantasy fans who like a mix of witches, shamans and vampires sprinkled in with their werewolves.