THE HEALER’S KEEP by Victoria Hanley


Age Range: 12 & up
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Four young people divided by geography, class, and philosophy come together in the dream realm to fight the powers of darkness. Maeve, a Sliviite slave of noble descent, runs away from a sinister new master, as Jasper, a clever lowborn entrepreneur, risks his precarious freedom to help her escape. On the opposite side of the sea, Princess Saravelda of Archeld comes incognito to the Healer’s Keep of conquered Bellandra to study her magical gifts, while the outlander Dorjan enrolls, already proficient in his rare talent of walking in dreams. A plot by the disciples of the demonic Shadow King unites these four unlikely allies in a mystical battle to keep the spiritual light from being drained from the world. In this sequel to The Seer and the Sword (2001), Hanley again employs a complicated double narrative, intertwining the tales of her principals while keeping them physically apart. She extends the map of her world with decadent Sliviia and resentful Bellandra, and clarifies the underlying magical structure—although her excessive dependence on sound-alike terminology will force most readers to keep one finger in the glossary. The dramatic action keeps the characters hurtling from crisis to cataclysm, while forcing them to moral compromises that develop character depth. Although the one-dimensional villains, along with a tendency to tell rather than show, make this a more straightforward good-vs.-evil adventure than the subtly ambiguous conflict of Hanley’s debut, the tale works well both as a sequel and on its own. Solid and satisfying. (Fantasy. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2002
ISBN: 0-8234-1760-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2002


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