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Reviewed by Kayleigh Perumal for Readers' Favorite
The Keeper: Part 1: An Invitation by Craig Speakes is an action-packed adventure about twelve-year-old Arthur who discovers a little black box in the lake near his house one ordinary summer day. He doesn’t realize this seemingly innocuous event will change his life forever. After the government enlists his help with a top-secret space mission, Arthur begins a thrilling quest to make first contact with extra-terrestrial life forms. But Arthur’s initial excitement quickly abates when things take an abrupt turn, and the mission is forced to launch ahead of schedule with little preparation. Though they reach the planet successfully, several team members, including Arthur’s father, are captured en route. More importantly, they discover on arrival that they have stumbled into a 100-year inter-species war between the Solarians and the Treskans. Will Arthur manage to survive this war, find his dad, and get back to earth?
While directed primarily at children and younger readers, a few aspects of The Keeper are more suited to mature readers. The action scenes are particularly intense and intricate. Nonetheless, Craig Speakes writes masterfully and keeps the reader enthralled and curious about what will happen next. My favorite character was undoubtedly Arthur’s sarcastic, offbeat, talking black cat, whose dialogue often made me laugh aloud. Iryna Sadova’s illustrations are eerily beautiful and help to paint the combat scenes more clearly. The Keeper is a short, fast-paced page-turner that ends deliciously on a cliff edge. I can’t wait for the next installment.