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Summon the Keeper
by Tanya Huff
Claire Hansen is not a happy Keeper. It's her duty to travel from place to place, magically setting things to rights where the fabric of reality has worn a bit thin. Now, however, she's stuck in Kingston, Canada, monitoring a decrepit bed-and-breakfast where reality has positively shredded.
The idea of magical guardians moving secretly among us has been well chewed-over by various fantasy authors, but Tanya Huff has great fun with it in Summon the Keeper. Claire must cope with a lecherous ghost in the attic, a hole to Hell in the basement, and an elevator in between that doesn't always let you out into the same world from which you entered. The clientele includes vampires, werewolves, and geriatric Greek gods. There's a very dusty woman in room 6 who's been asleep since 1945; and if she ever wakes up, the world will come to a very unpleasant end.
Huff's characterization leans a bit too far toward caricature, which gives the story an unfortunate sitcom feel. The dialogue, however, is great. It's not often you find a book in which Hell gets all the best lines.
Summon the Keeper is lightweight, funny, and fast. It's fluff, but it's excellent fluff. It takes itself much less seriously than Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde series and Diane Duane's So You Want To Be a Wizard, but the premise is similar, and it ought to appeal to the same audience.
-- Christina Schulman.
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