Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blog Tour and Review: Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert

First of all I would like to thank Sheri from A Novel Menagerie for inviting me to participate in this mini blog tour. I really did enjoy this book, but I must admit that since it isn't the genre that I usually read, I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own. So thank you Sheri, for introducing a new author to me that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Here is a summary of Keeper of Light and Dust from Natasha Mostert's website:

What is the greatest desire of all?

In the death choked corridors of Palermo's famous catacombs, a young man asks this question of himself as he stands surrounded by eight thousand mummified corpses. The answer he gives, will set the course of his life and take him on a journey into the heart of darkness.

Adrian Ashton is a brilliant man: a quantum physicist and chronobiologist who has devoted his life to the study of chi - the vital energy that runs through our bodies. A gifted scientist, he is also a skilled martial artist - and a hunter. Calling himself Dragonfly, he preys on fighters and martial artists who are blessed with a strong life force, draining them of their chi and making it his own. To assist him in his quest, he draws on the knowledge contained in an enigmatic Chinese text written by a legendary Chinese physician in the thirteenth century.

But the hunter becomes the hunted when a mysterious woman enters his life. A martial artist herself, she belongs to a long line of Keepers: women who are warriors, healers and protectors. When Dragonfly targets the man she loves, she sets out to defeat him. It becomes a fight to the death in which love is both the greatest weakness and the biggest prize.

A fast-paced, highly original thriller, Keeper of Light and Dust* blends mysticism with science and explores themes as old as time: the imperative of violence, the redemptive power of love and the greatest desire of all -- to live for ever.

My Review:

First of all I think you should know that although this book is categorized in the 'Thriller' genre, I don't think it had that many scary scenes. There were a couple of opening scenes that were tense and had me thinking that I wouldn't be able to handle it, but I did just fine. I love how this book had a balanced blend of ancient Chinese traditions, mythical elements, martial arts, and even a nice love story.

The main character in this novel is Mia, who happens to be a tattoo artist, and secretly is a 'Keeper' for several martial artists that practice kickboxing on a professional level. A mystery surfaces over a period of time as a few of the boxers that Mia is a Keeper for, unexplainably die from heart problems.

Nick has been Mia's close friend since they were children, and although they always felt a special bond, neither one of them have been able to confront the other to bring their relationship to the next level. They end up growing closer as they spend more time together to try to solve this mystery and prevent another death.

Nick is also a professional kickboxer and Adrian, otherwise known as Ash, shows up just in time to help Nick get in prime shape for his next competition. Ash does develop a strong friendship with both Nick and Mia, but definitely is looking for more than friendship from Mia. Mia senses this from Ash, and for some reason she is strangely attracted to him also, but in a different way that she is attracted to Nick.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book. Here is an excerpt from page 135 that describes the beauty and friendship that Mia is feeling at the time:

It was a summer of beauty and friendship. She wondered if she would remember these days, one day when she was old. Would she look back to when they were all young and confident and energy was flowing strongly through their bodies? And would those memories be vital and glowing or drained by old age? If only one could stop time. Sometimes she'd be training in the dojo surrounded by voices, laughter and movement and the desire to halt time in its tracks would be so strong it took her breath away.

As a Keeper, Mia would often visit a Retreat to perform a ritual to help protect her boxers. I also enjoyed this mythical aspect of the book. I don't want to go into too much detail of this part, but I do want to share a segment from page 184 that I enjoyed:

But as she let the gate swing shut behind her, her heart lifted. Home, she thought as her bare feet followed the mossy path. Home. And as she walked down the moon-ribbed track, she knew there were ghostly footprints underneath her bare feet, unseen markers leading her on, left by Keepers who had entered before her many years in the past. Sometimes she would dream of them: of women with long necks and silver eyes, holding hands through the ages, drawing their dreams together even though the dream they shared and the burden they carried were no longer celebrated or understood.

I do not want to give too much more away about this book, as it is a thriller and I feel that I would ruin the plot if I did so. To find out more about some of the content of the book you can go to Natasha Mostert's website here. I did enjoy this novel and thought that Mostert did a great job of weaving all of the elements together. Thank you Natasha, for providing a copy of your book for review.

My Rating: 4/5

Here is a list of the other blog participants-just click on the link to see what they thought about this book. I suggest that you visit these blogs to check out their reviews also.

A Novel Menagerie
Literary Escapism
The Literate Housewife Review
Wrighty's Reads
Peeking Between the Pages
Savvy Verse and Wit

You may want to check back later today to read my interview with Natasha.


Serena said...

I can't wait to see your interview with Natasha. She was a fun interview subject.

I really loved this book. I've added your complete link to my review.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Great review! I'm definitely interested in reading this one. Thrillers are right up my alley!

Ti said...

Not a genre for me but I enjoyed your review and look forward to the interview.

bermudaonion said...

I don't usually enjoy this genre, but I've read nothing but positive reviews of this one. Glad you liked it.

TexasRed said...

This is a great review. I wouldn't have expected that story from the cover, so it definitely helps to have your take on it. Thanks!

Darlene said...

Great review Jo-Jo. I really enjoyed this book as well. I really like thrillers but this was a different one and that was made it even more interesting.

Wanda said...

This book isn't one I would normally choose.. though I do agree that it's nice to stretch beyond our comfort zone once in awhile to experience something new. Good for you for giving it a shot; glad to hear that you enjoyed the read.

I have an award for you here.