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The Keeper’s Six, by Kate Elliott

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Esther isn’t supposed to go into the Beyond any more. She and her Hex broke the rules–even if they broke them in the best possible way. But when she wakes up to find that someone from the Beyond has kidnapped her adult son Daniel away from his family, her conflict-ridden Hex has to reunite to get him back–and Esther is the one who has to do the reuniting. Blues Brothers this ain’t–but they are definitely getting the band back together.

This is a novella, and as such there’s only so much room for development. Some of the characters are pretty sketched in as a result, and there’s a lot of worldbuilding left vague as well. Mostly this is intriguing, occasionally frustrating. The themes end up being much larger than the literal story–themes of freedom, self-possession, and what we owe each other. Would more space have given Elliott time to develop these themes or just stretched out a story that does get satisfactorily solved in the word count available? Hard to guess. There are oppressive dragon regimes going on here! It’s hard to be satisfied with just a gesture toward them, oh, oppressive dragon regimes, you know what they’re like. And yet on some level one knows enough. The plot moves on.

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