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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Opal of Light by Norma Hinkens is the first book in The Keeper Chronicles series. Orlla is a Keeper tasked with the knowledge of ancient runes and the Opal of Light which protects their island. Efyllsseum is a place hidden from the rest of the world by the Light. A place where no one grows old and destruction is kept at bay. Orlla is sent on a mission with her mentor Akolom for the king, sending her away from taking care of a trouble-making younger brother and a father who suffers from memory deterioration. When Orlla learns her brother has been arrested for a dare gone wrong, she's forced to stay on her mission and is unable to return to him. She sees an opportunity to help her brother when he escapes to the mainland. Going after him, she joins the handsome Erdhan in his search for a thief she fears is her brother. Life on the mainland is nothing as she imagined it to be. Orlla is thrown into the middle of a brewing war, forcing her to give away the secrets of Efyllsseum if she's to save her brother and stop a war.
Efyllsseum is a place of an eternal youth where no one outside the island is allowed. Everyone believes it's just a myth. When the island is first introduced it's spoken of as a paradise where they prize their youth and honor the Opal of Light. Dragons are mentioned throughout as part of the myth and origin of the Opal. Orlla has her life laid out before her to be a Keeper and she's been learning from her mentor, but Norma Hinkens quickly shows the reality of Orlla's life. Her brother is a troublemaker who is described as taking advantage of when his mentor drinks so he can do as he wishes and she often wishes he'd apply himself more. Her father shows the downside to eternal youth as he remains looking young but his mind has gone to where he doesn't even recall who she is. Orlla feels it's her responsibility to take care of them and to be the head of the household but when she's tasked with a mission from the King, she has no choice but to do her duty. Her conflict between honoring her duty and loyalty to her family is the root of her journey which leads her to discovering where her loyalty lies and what means more to her: duty or family. The conditions of the mainland are quickly different from what she believed it to be like and this makes her question her role as a Keeper.
She has flirty moments with Erdhan, but it's their relationship that maintains in focus, not a romance. His role in the story provides comedic moments and a sweet friendship develops between them. He changes her perception of life outside the island and gives her an ally to trust. The chapters build up the tension as the story unfolds where the end of each one makes you want to keep reading to see what happens. Opal of Light is an action-packed adventure with a strong heroine who fights against everything she's known to save her family, changes her loyalty to stop a war, and follows her heart.