The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice
Indie – Book – Review
Book:The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice
Author: E.S. Barrison
Date read: 21 November 2020
Available on: Paperback, Kindle
Buy on: Amazon UK
I received a copy of The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice by E.S. Barrison in exchange for an honest review.
E.S. Barrison thrusts you into a world full of order, rules, and distrust.
Everything is happening and there is so much already at stake. As a reader, it takes a few chapters to catch up. Barrison’s writing is captivating and takes hold of you strong enough to bridge the knowledge gap that I definitely felt here. You’re urged to keep reading for more explanation and story.
Honestly, I’ve been sitting with this review for a couple of weeks now because I don’t know what to say about The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice. Words actually feel an inadequate way for me to talk about how much I loved this story, this world, the characters, and the writing.
I went into this book, as described above, completely lost. I had no idea what was going on, felt confused, and like I’d never latch onto what the story was about.
But this was all part of the journey!
The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice is about a storyteller in a world where telling stories is outlawed. Outlawed? Right!? How that’s even a thing first of all.
Combine this element with magic, death, religion gone (way) wrong, a senator too enthralled living a lavish life to care about what’s going on back at her town, what happens when evil men gain power, and, of course, love, and you have a book that you devour, wishing only that you could read it again for the first time and waiting rather impatiently for the follow-up.
One aspect that I wholeheartedly loved about The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice was about celebrating and loving yourself as you are.
Main character, Rho, has a small branch growing out of her head, an indication that she’s a magical being. She’s been told all her life that she should hide who she is, hide this branch, and physically hide herself in some tunnels only she can access. This book explores what it’s like to embrace yourself, your perceived flaws, and finding the people who love you for who you are, wholly.
There are also cities in The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice where it is actually okay to express yourself as you are at your core. One of these cities is where our Main Characters go to get away from the oppression of where they grew up under the strict and controlling organisation. Here, they find space to be themselves, fully in their love, and celebrate their uniqueness with other people who appreciate them for who they are.
There’s even an underground speakeasy where they can go to express themselves however that may look for them!
It’s the Stories that Make Us
How mundane and insecure must a society without stories be? To have nothing to keep you entertained, no way to pass down history, and no fables to help children learn right from wrong.
Especially the society Barrison created in The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice where you get thrown in the Pit for telling a story. Where you have to be cleansed for spreading a bit of joy?
One of the reasons I loved this story so much is because of how genuinely horrifying it was. It was the kind of atmosphere I would not be able to exist in – I’d definitely be one of those silver-eyed souls (indicating someone outside the specified norm) in the Pit with other societal outcasts.
Main character Brenton is one of these outlawed storytellers. I found myself drawn to him as a character and, while at times his ignorance annoyed me, I genuinely loved his development throughout this book.
I love that Brenton explores his storytelling ability while also dealing with what will happen as an apprentice of Death – the other core theme of this book.
Ruled by an Oppressive Religion
Finally, I want to talk about how easy it can be for a religious organisation to gain too much political power and take over society.
Honestly, and I’m going to get a bit controversial here, I feel like this is modern Christianity that’s full of bigotry, hatred, misogyny, and oppression. Stay with me here.
When societies become too embroiled in religion and when church mixes too closely with state, how the heck can you make conscious, fair, and informed decisions as a government? When everything you believe is based on a book that’s been misinterpreted for centuries, not to mention was written a very, very long time ago, how the heck can you justify making political decisions about it?
The true meaning of Christianity is to love your neighbours and do good on this earth. There are people out there who follow this type of Christianity (it’s true, I’ve met them!) and genuinely love their fellow planet inhabitants and want to do better. They know that there are so many shitty takes of their religion out there… but I think there’s also this knowledge that they can’t fight the oppression alone.
That’s what the Order is. That’s what the Council is. And that’s why we need the rebellion.
Where the society that’s been stamped down for decades finally lashes back against their oppressors and the few good people with the good, core beliefs of their religion break their chains and stand up for what is right in the world.
I don’t want to get too specific here and create any spoilers. But let’s just say that I’m down with what happens in The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice.
Overall Thoughts on The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice
If loving yourself, sticking it to the man, ruffling a few feathers, and standing up for what you believe in is your cup of tea, so is this book.
I honestly cannot wait for the sequel. It’s the type of story and the type of writing that I abso-fucking-lutely live for. Go on and get sucked into the world of magic, wonder, corruption, and fighting back.