Summon the Keeper: Entertaining urban fantasy

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Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff fantasy audiobook reviewsSummon the Keeper by Tanya Huff urban fantasy book reviewsSummon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff’s KEEPER’S CHRONICLES is about a family of Keepers, descendants of Lilith who have the power to close up holes in the fabric of the universe that appear when evil things happen. Keepers get supernaturally summoned toward these holes, so they’re often on the go, traveling from place to place as they feel the pull of their summons.

Claire, a Canadian Keeper in her late 20s who travels with Austin, an elderly talking cat, has been summoned to a bed & breakfast called the Elysian Fields Guesthouse. When she arrives, the owner turns his establishment over to Claire and quickly bolts.

That’s because there’s an unconscious evil Keeper in room six, the place is haunted by a dead (but still horny) Frenchman, the elevator travels to other dimensions (including one that’s inhabited by tentacled horrors), the next door neighbor is nosy and obnoxious, a few imps are running amok, the bust of Elvis talks (“Thank you. Thank you very much.”), and did I mention there’s a portal to hell in the furnace room?

The situation must have been too much for the former owner, so now Claire’s in charge, but it’s taking a while to sort things out. Claire feels trapped at the B&B, like her talents are being wasted while she’s stuck there. The one bright spot is the maintenance guy who works at, and lives in, the hotel. He does all the work around the place, including the cooking. And he’s super hot.Keeper's Chronicles (3 Book Series) by Tanya Huff

Summon the Keeper (1998) is a light, amusing, fast-pace read that is sometimes too silly. I loved the bed & breakfast setting and the strange situation Claire found herself in. She isn’t planning to stay at the B&B after this job is done, yet she’s redecorating and making improvements. Meanwhile Hell, down in the furnace room, talks to itself, heckles the other characters (sounding a lot like Statler and Waldorf), and plots mischief. This is going to be too silly for many readers.

As for the characterization, Claire doesn’t have much personality (or maybe it’s just that she’s kind of rigid and a little too sensible), and the French ghost is too much of a cliché, but I loved the cat and, especially, the hot maintenance guy. The nosy neighbor is somewhat entertaining, but a bit over the top.

Summon the Keeper will appeal to fans of light urban fantasy and cozy paranormal mysteries. I was entertained enough to take a look at the next volume, The Second Summoning. I’m reading the audio versions that were recently produced by Tantor Audio and are narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley. She’s really great and I think the book was more entertaining because of her performance. Summon the Keeper is 14.5 hours long.

Published in 1998 (print) and 2018 (audio). Austin was a black-and-white, far-from-young cat. Not just any cat, mind you, he was the Keeper’s cat, a very outspoken feline with extremely strong opinions he was always willing to voice. After all, who knew better than Austin what was best for the well-being of Claire – and for the not-quite-as-important rest of the universe? Claire Hansen was a Keeper, a member of that select group that kept the universe in one piece. And now she’d been Summoned to the Elysian Fields Guesthouse, a rundown bed-and-breakfast that seemed to attract the most unusual clientele. And Claire was not happy about this latest assignment, not happy at all. Not when she’d been tricked into taking over here by a horrible little gnome of a man who’d abandoned his post before she’d even figured out who he really was. Not when room six held a resident who’d been sleeping there for so many years that she really needed a good dusting – except that it was far too dangerous for anyone to get that close to her. Not when she found herself surrounded by “helpers” as distracting as Dean, the hunky-yet-innocent handyman, and Jacques, a ghost with a real lust for life. And especially not when it looked like this might be the not only her most challenging mission, but one she’d be stuck handling for life….

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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2 comments

  1. April /
    I loved these books back in the day! Good to hear that they are now out on audio.
  2. Sally Loomis /
    ThrowbackWow! Throwback, I know I read these awhile ago, sounds like a I will need a refresher! I have to give a shout out to my new summer favorite, Fortitude Rising by AM Bochnak. It was written in 3 parts, which had me slightly skeptical...but it was well done and really enhanced the quality of the story and characters. I highly recommend this one! I found it here, http://www.ambochnak.com/

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