Monday, April 14, 2008

Keturah and Lord Death

[lhs_star_rg3.50.gif]Leavitt, Martine. 2006. Keturah and Lord Death.

I've got to admit right up front that I was intrigued by the opening to Keturah and Lord Death: "I was sixteen years old the day I was lost in the forest, sixteen the day I met my death." Our heroine is Keturah Reeve. This is her story, her tale. It reads like a fairy tale. It does. And it's got a certain atmospheric charm and quality to it. I think that it will appeal to some more than others. Or perhaps I should say that it will satisfy some more than others. It had me reading; it kept me hooked. But, for me, this wasn't the ending that I wanted or needed. Perhaps most readers would disagree with me there though.

Keturah has spent her whole life--all sixteen years--dreaming of her true love. Waiting to find her true love, waiting to settle down, waiting to keep house, waiting to have babies of her own to love and tend to. Waiting for THE ONE. When she wanders into the forest, the woods, her hopes seem all but dashed. She becomes lost. She's lost for three days. Without food, without water. She's on the brink of death. And death does come for her. Death, Lord Death, is handsome enough. And she makes a heartfelt appeal. She tells him her heart's desire, she tells him stories, gives him promises. She in fact bargains with Death. He grants her request.

He does not take her then. He gives her a chance. A day. A day to find her true love. A day to be wed to that love. If she succeeds, then he'll not claim her. She'll be safe this time at least from his clutches.

I won't go on beyond this point. But the stories and tales she weaves as she bargains with Lord Death captivate not only him but the reader as well. Can her words save her? Does she even want to be saved?

Some call this a romance. I don't feel comfortable with that label.


I hope that you're not reading this if you have plans of reading it yourself. Though some might think it predictable enough that the spoiler is silly. Anyway, this is your last chance.

Okay. I disliked her choice. While death in itself is neither absolutely good or absolutely evil. The fact that this young girl thinking herself madly and passionately in love with Death would choose to die and be Death's companion and wife when she could have had a life, a love of her own, her every dream realized is silly. Why choose an early death? Why choose Death over John? Why? This baffles me. And it is this reasoning that makes me be on Team Jacob instead of Team Edward. (For those not in the know this is a Stephenie Meyer reference.)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

Am trying really really hard not to read your spoiler... It sounds less like a romance and more like a fairy tale from your description. Do you think I would like it? I am not a fan of straight romance books personally.

Tricia said...

I also didn't like the ending. I read it in a YA Lit class and we all had different opinions about it. Even though I was disappointed, I still liked the book and think it is well worth reading.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really like the ending too. I mean, I can understand that she wants to stay with Death and everything have a point, why does she she give up John and everyone else? But one thing I realized is that at the end of the book, those people die. Possibly being with Keturah at the end. I don't know. Oh, and I like you're little Twilight refernce. It's true though. I'm normally on Team Edward, but I'm going for Team Jacob now too...

Anonymous said...

Death and Life are the same. Only in the linear mind do we separate them. When we accept our death we can truly love our life. How many of us can say that my one "true love" is my life?

Anonymous said...

i hate people who choose the obviously foolish choice too. But trying to understand her point of view, she saw two options, live a dead loveless life with john or die to be with the love of her life. thats all...
*team switzerland*

Anonymous said...

Keturah is in love with Death. This fact isn't going to change. So even though she might have been happy with John, she would never have the true love she dreamed of. The charm she was given is proof of that.

Anonymous said...

yes, the eye wept. Id be weeping too if in order to save my life I imagined myself in love with someone I was not. You cant force yourself to love someone. John didnt love her either, he didnt even know of her existance until she got lost, and he was all "ooh shes pretty... shiny..." and its in the conclusion, he finds his love.

I LOVED the ending. Absolutely loved it. And I dont like Jacob, he didnt love Bella, if he had he would have imprinted on her, not her baby.

Anonymous said...

I loved the ending.I felt like keturah should end up with death from the begnining and i would have been extreamly sad had she hear more of death than john,to me i belived death deserved love too.

Anonymous said...

i loved the ending of keturah and lord death and of twilight. i personally liked lord death, he was my favorite character. in twilight i liked jasper and alice. but i think keturah and lord death was really good and im doin it for my book report

Anonymous said...

i personally loved the book and the ending. by the way did u see the new moon trailer. dude, it was bad. i wish they would make a movie of keturah and lord death. it would be soooooo cool. LOL!LOL! like gasp!!! but anyways i liked lord death and keturah as a couple. i like them toghether. so whoever doesn't plez give me a break.. pce!!!

Anonymous said...

I REALLY loved this book and I REALLY loved the ending!!!! i loved how Death was depicted as a romantic somewhat vulnerable figure as opposed to how he is traditionally depicted. I am sooooooo glad she chose Lord Death over John HE WAS HER TRUE LOVE AFTER ALL!!!! and that is worth dying for instead of living a loveless life . I was rooting for Death throughout reading the book and when i got to the end i was like "YES!!!". I just wish i knew what happens next i really loved this book and i didn't want it to end or stop reading it . That be great if they made a movie out of it, but a GOOD movie. TEAM EDWARD ALL THE WAY!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was baffled too. At first I thought she'd pick death because I'm weird, but once I saw that Jonh was going to be the person the eye stopped on, I couldn't wait for them to get together.
The end shocked me too, I had no idea she would choose that.
What I really don't get is WHY she loves Death. I mean, ewww. lol.
But I still loved the book.

And with the twilight thing.... Hmm, I've always been team Edward. Jacob doesn't age until he stops the werewolf thing though. Plus I'm a Blackwater fan. If you don't know what that is, its Leah/Jacob. I don't care what anyone thinks of my weird pairings.

Anonymous said...

do you know any books that are simliar like this? Like a girl falling in love with death/devil or something? thanks

Anonymous said...

do you know any good books that are similar to this?
like a girl falling in love with death or a devil? thanks

Anonymous said...

It's a metaphor. It's not about whether Death is the cutest boy of the bunch but rather that Keturah accepts that she's going to die.

In the light of that is actually kind of questionable if anything that happens in that book really happens, except maybe the beginning.

Keturah is a storyteller and the story she lives (in which Death a handsome guy who is in love with her) and she gets three days to save the village, gets three days for a mystical quest for a true love, gets three days to say goodbye are exactly the kind of story she would tell.

I think it's actually the story she tells herself to make the fact that she's dying more palatable.

Anonymous said...

I had thought it was a interesting book. I was hooked from the the beginning but I was not satasified enough in her choice. I knew the she would choose Death in the end similar to other books but the suspense that leads up to it was not enough.

One part that I did understand with is when she felt that she had never lived. As if it was a dream. The feeling of isolation most likely is felt by everyone once in a while. While some isolation is simply foolish others are justified.

That part is what pacified my discontent with the actions leading to the ending.

I did love the book though. IT WAS A GREAT BOOK!

Vanessa said...

I had a hard time with the ending, too. But I can't think of another way it could have ended that I would have liked better. Loved the book overall.

Great review! I linked to it from mine:

Jori said...

I thought this book was good, but the ending felt a little off to me. What about all her friends, Grandma, the town and John?? WHY!?! I was crying and screaming by the time I finished, and just couldn't believe it... makes me want to write fanfiction... Oh and by the way, I DEFINATELY agree with the team Jacob thing. I like my men alive.

gee4g said...

In my opinion, this book was fantastic.
I think keturah choosing death over john and giving up her life, grandmother and friends has a meaning.
She did not really leave them, in fact she moved on to another life thats better and she will have all her people back at somepoint and she will be with her true love at the sametime (Lord Death)
Death has mentioned to her that dieing feels more like waking up in the morning. which concludes that death is just the begining.
well, this is just my option and there is no right or wrong about this. this is language arts its the grey, math is the black and science is the white, in english and social studies there is no right or wrong.
but over all i thought it was an amazing book and its worth reading.
to be honest, i probably have read it more than 10 times, which is weird, but i guess i was into it.

anna said...


considering she was living on borrowed time and should have died anyway and that her friends should have died but also got a second chance, I don't consider the ending/girls choice questionable as in Twilight. She was going to die anyway...she did not 'fear' death and it was not an ending. Her parents were dead, her grandfather was dead...her grandmother would soon die too - everyone she loved. She knew they would all be in another place and that she wanted to be with them. Logically speaking, that is silly but it is a fantasy book and you have to let go of logic to enjoy it. She didn't love John; just like she didn't love handsome Ben. After all the concessions Lord Death made - saving her friends and villagers when it was their time to go, I feel like it was almost her duty to sacrifice herself through selflessness.