Feb 1
2021

Star Eater is one of Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall is one of Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021!

“This book had me at phantasmagorical fantasy. As a fan of Kerstin Hall’s sprawling novella The Border Keeper, I’ve been eager for more of her work, and Star Eater sounds like a bloody knock-out. It follows Elfreda, who wants out of the Sisterhood that seeks to use her to create a powerful bloodline. This book tackles issues with hereditary magic, which is often used for the passing of power in so much of the fantasy genre. For that alone, this will be a haunting and much-needed read, but then there’s also spying and cannibalistic magic. Yes please, put this book in my veins (blood pun intended).” — Book Riot

May 19
2020

The Border Keeper shortlisted for Nommo Award!

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall has been shortlisted in the novella category for the 2020 Nommo Awards from the African Speculative Fiction Society!

Jul 30
2019

Tor.com on The Border Keeper

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

“In Kerstin Hall’s Border Keeper the characters are required by natural law to tell the truth, and yet no one is what they seem. Familiar mythology is turned on its head. And ruminations on grief and healing are whispered alongside a quest narrative that is at once traditional and anything but.

If this sounds like a lot for one little novella, it is. Hall’s economy of worldbuilding is nothing less than profound. The Border Keeper, even aside from its haunting prose and memorable characters, is a wonderful example of its form. It is short, sweet, and anything but shallow.

The Border Keeper is simply creepy. It’s haunting and evocative, even beyond this toying with our expectations and comfort zones. Images like baby doll arms rattling in the wind, a child trapped inside of a crab, and creatures playing demonic symphonies on ghost ships fill the pages of the novella, every one of them surprising and vivid and a little bit terrifying. If Hall has built her world in familiar mythology, she has made that world interesting by turning it sideways and shaking it.

The Border Keeper is both readable and re-readable. So much in the story is significant only in hindsight, and its imagery is just as surreal and unsettling the second time. The ending itself, while abrupt, felt earned. Hall could write a whole series in this world, and I’d read ithowever, I love that this is a novella. Its compactness and its finely drawn characters make it a real delight to read and ruminate on.” — Tor.com

Jul 22
2019

Booklist on The Border Keeper

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

“There are three things to remember about the spirit realm: follow the rules, get consent, and do not eat or drink. Another unspoken guideline is to trust no one beyond the border between the mortal and spirit worlds. Controlling each domain is a god or demon who will kill for sport, especially anyone who breaks their rules. The border keeper has had many names and inhabited untold vessels over innumerable years, but she lives alone and does not suffer fools lightly. She once loved a god king but lost him to treachery and murder centuries ago. A wandering scholar arrives at her home, seeking passage, though he will not specify what he is looking for in the world of spirits. He has a sad story that brought him to her door, and for reasons she does not understand, will compel the guardian to accept him and act as his guide. With parallels to a range of mythologies, Hall’s elegant descriptive language evokes a vivid world of lost souls and revenge in this fast-paced fantasy debut.” — Booklist

Jul 17
2019

Library Journal on The Border Keeper

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

“Hall surprises and perplexes with spellbinding yet simple dialogs that raise more questions than they give answers. The mysterious, dark, and often violent worlds envelop readers in a cacophony of mystery and fantasy. Even the identity of the female lead is foggy as her form shifts over time, taking possession of new bodies. As the title reveals, someone protects the border, and from the first few chapters we glimpse demons reminiscent of Haitian worshippers possessed by Gede, the spirit of the dead. Shapeshifting and underworld realms take center stage. The characters eventually grow, becoming stronger as plots progress, expressing extreme power and weakness. Life and death feel mutable in the imaginary arena of Mkalis. Points of contact are elaborately visualized, boundaries normally fixed dissolve within the pages, terrifying and wild apparitions manifest and recede just as quickly as they appear, resulting in wonder. VERDICT For fans of occult-tinged speculative fiction.” — Library Journal

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