Rating: 3/5 ⭐
In her first book, debut author Kylie Lee Baker presents a historical fantasy about Ren Scarborough, a Half British Reaper and a Half Japanese Shinigami who collects souls on the streets of London. Her mixed heritage (as both a half-Japanese and half-Shinigami) makes her a target for the Reapers, who often punish her for her dual heritage. Her Shinigami powers are lost accidentally, forcing her to leave Japan with her fully Reaper brother, Neven, and return to Japan. Having entered the Japanese underworld, she accepts a task to kill three Yokai demons with the help of a mysterious ally named Hiro.
As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. I really enjoy how well the writer writes, and how easily she expresses the innermost thoughts of the characters. I was so intrigued by Japanese folklore this year since it was my first time reading about it. There is a fantasy world of Reapers and Shinigami that shouldn’t seem so easy to understand or even comprehend, but Kylie Lee Baker makes it so clear and writes all the differences and similarities of the two worlds with Ren. Ren as a whole is an incredible character. Although she can sometimes have questionable morals and lean into her own desires selfishly, she wants to know herself and doesn’t mind having to get her hands dirty to do so. She is surprisingly human, considering that she is an immortal. It is hard for her to distinguish pain from anger, passion from care. She is an extremely complex character and reading her perspective felt like a breath of fresh air. I would highly recommend this to fantasy readers.
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