Reviewed by Sarina
SERIES: City of Keys #1
AUTHOR: Amber Kell
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2015
My name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.
Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.
Now, power hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.
Growing up in the City of Keys wasn’t easy, especially if you lived in one of the lower districts but despite being alone at a young age, Oss still managed to survive. Now working for the Key Masters, and helping to keep the city running, Oss’s life is better than ever…add in his lover Thorne and it could easily be said his life is the best its ever been. Oss has a secret, however, one that will reshape the City of Keys and its inhabitants forever. There are powerful forces at work and more than one person that doesn’t want to see him succeed and if Oss wants to live to see another day, let alone to fulfill his purpose, he’s going to need to do the one thing he never has before; open up and trust.
Keys was an absolutely amazing read! I would label this as primarily fantasy with some steampunk elements but whatever the label, from start to finish the story was fantastic. Each character was unique though Oss will probably forever be my favorite; he wasn’t afraid to do what was necessary, even if others found it distasteful, and even as jaded as he is at times, he’s still willing to help others. Thorne I liked for a variety of reasons though it was the fact that he didn’t care were Oss grew up or what societal class he belonged to that made me enjoy his character so much. Every main character in the book also has some sort of secret and while some were easy to figure out, a couple still managed to catch me off guard and it was great!
Things are set up perfectly to go into the sequel and I just can’t wait; the story was the draw with this one, not the sex, and I was totally enthralled with both the characters and the setting from start to finish. This story was absolutely amazing! The word building was spectacular and the story was so imaginative and entertaining. I just loved every aspect of this and I know I’ll be re-reading it a lot. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to reading the next book; I have a feeling that this series will become one of my all time favorites. I seriously can’t recommend this one enough.