"I will tell you . . . a story of magic and love, of daring and death, and one to comfort your heart. It will be the truest story I have ever told. Now listen, and tell me if it is not so."
After following a hart into the woods bordering her town, Keturah is faced with Death. Lost and hungry after following a stately hart through the forest, Keturah encounters Lord Death, who is ready to take her. Like Scheherazade, Keturah spins a story that she leaves unfinished and extracts from Lord Death a promise that if she finds her true love in a day, she can go free. Thus begins Keturah's search for her one true love and the salvation of her beloved town. But Lord Death is falling in love with her, and as the villagers begin to sense her alliance with this horrifying figure, her life twists and turns on itself.I originally was rating this three stars, but upon further contemplation, I've changed my mind to something closer to four stars, and I'm just gonna round, so four stars! Keturah and Lord Death felt very much like a book written by two of my favorite authors (who I apparently can't stop talking about on here) Robin McKinley and Juliet Marillier. It almost wasn't certain elements of the story, but just the feeling I got while reading it. And maybe because it's been a little while since I've read a McKinley or Marillier book, I didn't recognize that feeling till later. Mmmmm, fairy tales. :) :)
The only reason I gave this four stars is because it's not Robin McKinley or Juliet Marillier. I just don't feel like anyone can do this style of story as well as they can. I don't think Martine Leavitt was striving to imitate them or anything, I just can't muster the same feelings about it. Plus, I'd love a teensy bit more romancin'. Can't help that hopeless romantic hiding inside. This is my only detraction from the book. Otherwise, it's near perfect. On with the gushing...
I believe my love of this type of book comes from the simplicity of the writing paired with the magical and complex world. Somehow the authors understand that big, complicated words and labored characterization is unnecessary and distracting. They let their complicated world speak for itself, rather than putting words in its mouth, if that makes sense.
The reason I even heard of this book is Maggie Stiefvater. She gave it a glowing review on Goodreads and I decided that if she thought it was wonderful, I, who thinks she is wonderful, should give it a try. And she made a point in her review that I will hallelujah and amen till the end of the earth. Keturah is a different kind of "strong female heroine" than those we've heard about in novels recently. She is brave while still unafraid to be in love. All she wants in life is to have a husband she truly loves, a home to call her own, and a child. Sure, she wants to find true love, but is not willing to settle for just anyone. She's just fine on her own till he comes around.
If you're like me, and can't get enough fairy tales, watch Disney movies practically constantly (and know all the words!), and love a simple, beautifully written story, Keturah and Lord Death is absolutely for you. And y'all, the ending is so perfect. It's not a Disney movie, but just works absolutely perfectly, just the way my favorite Juliet Marillier and Robin McKinley books' endings do.
Risk a paper cut? See above rambling. Boy, do I wish this book had been more heralded. :(
To buy: Amazon (Apparently, they're not selling the book on Amazon anymore--only from users--but check out the Kindle version. It's only $4.90!! Also, Barnes & Noble has it for the Nook for $7.95.)