My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jaric attempts to escape his fate as the heir to the elemental mysteries of earth & fire continue. He tries to leave the Keys of Elrinfaer at Anskiere’s prison of ice, only to be confronted by another Llondelei seer who warns him of the consequences of his refusal. Next, he searches the extensive libraries of Landfast for answers, only to discover that mankind has no other arcane defense against demonkind. Finally, in a desperate bid to help Taen receive healing from the Llondelei, Jaric becomes convinced that he must attempt the trials of mastery to help stop the demons’ compact to eradicate all humans.
This novel meanders more than the previous Stormwarden, as Jaric travels to & fro searching for answers. His sojourns are necessary to the plot, but does allow some lag as readers hurry up & wait for him to discover the next clue. Thankfully, the action is driven by a twist in the triangle between Jaric, Taen, & Emien as the demon Scait uses Emien to trap the other two. The struggle between the three characters gain new depths & raises the stakes of the series as well. Keeper of the Keys also seems to be Jaric’s just as Stormwarden was mostly about Taen. I’m guessing that Shadowfane will probably focus on Emien? He’s consistently at the edges of this story, so our author is probably saving him for some serious action in the next book.
I also love that we finally get some more background on the event that brought both humans and demons to this planet. Janny Wurts can really pull a 360 on readers sometimes, going from traditional fantasy complete with flowery language into sci-fi that always raises interesting social questions–a reason that she continues to captivate me after all these years.