Book Review: Gateway

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gateway by Sharon Shinn

Releases: October 15, 2009

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Rating: 3 stars

As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring—and tells her that “black jade” translates to “Daiyu”—she buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it’s more than that; it’s magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means stealing time to be with handsome Kalen, who is in on the plan. There’s only one problem. Once her task is done, she must go back to St. Louis and leave him behind forever. .

I was looking forward to reading this since the first time I read the summary. The idea of traveling through gates to another world was very intriguing, but after reading Gateway, I feel sort of disappointed. To me, I think the story had good potential but halfway through it went flat. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things about this novel too.

I really enjoyed Shinn’s writing style – the way she put her words together made the story flow nicely. The majority of the characters were well-developed and fun to read about. My favorite character was Kalen; he was a very outgoing, laid-back kind of person. I really enjoyed Daiyu’s character too, and I loved how she did what she thought was right and not what other people said was. Not that this has much to do with the book, but I really like the cover.

The main thing I didn’t like about this book, was the fact that the story just fell flat, for me. Like I mentioned before, Shinn had a story with potential. I would have liked to see a little more action – there was some action but only in the last quarter of the book. Most of the book was a little too slow paced for me, and I kept hoping that something exciting was going to happen, but it didn’t. Another thing was I thought Chenglei’s mysteriousness was great, but once Daiyu started to figure things out, I would have liked to see more interaction between the two. It was like the conflict started and then turn the page and it was over.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, despite some flaws. I do hope there will be a sequel because I felt that the book ended too soon, with some unanswered questions.



Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I love honesty. I'm more excited to read this now.

Unknown said...

Wonderfully put. Glad you enjoyed the novel.

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