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October 8, 2022

The Empress of Time by Kylie Lee Baker ~ a Review

by MK French

The Empress of Time
is the sequel to The Keeper of Night (read my review here), the second half of the duology. Ren left Britain for Japan, learning about her Shinigami heritage, feeling torn between and judged wanting by both halves. While she was able to complete the impossible task of eliminating three particular yokai, she didn't count on becoming the goddess of death in Japan. Britain's goddess is now Ivy, the same leader of the gang that had tormented her. In order to stop her from reaching Japan, Ren must complete another impossible mission: find the sword that the god of storms and seas wants. While she has the help of the god of the moon, she is working against the interests of various gods and demons, and the future of Japan is at stake.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of young adult fantasy novel The Empress of Time by Kylie Lee Baker
October 2022;  Inkyard Press; 978-1335915856
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); YA fantasy

Ren is caught by her heritage and the guilt for the means she had seized her kingdom of death. While she rules, the Shinigami don't respect or like her and refuse to help protect Japan, saying it's already ruled by a Reaper. She believes she is alone again, racing around Japan for items to appease gods or yokai in order to get the sword. She's tormented by guilt and doubts, and knowing that someone might betray her weighs her down. Her fear of Ivy remains; it's hard to let go of fears about a childhood bully, and her bully is stronger now than she used to be. Ren is left at the end to face all of it, feeling just as alone as she used to be.

Japanese lore is rich and varied and is used to great effect in this novel. Not just for the locations Ren must travel through, but for the interaction between the gods and yokai we meet. They have a richness to their character, adding to the tension as the novel progresses. Ren has four days to Ivy's arrival, as well as years of self-recriminations. The final quarter of the book was beautifully done, and I had to read this all in a day, I couldn't put it down. This is a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the duology. Do yourself a favor and read it!

Buy The Empress of Time at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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