So I just read The Gatekeeper of Pericael by Hayley Reese Chow and…
Shockingly I enjoyed it. I don’t get asked to review books very often, I’m a smaller Instagramer and Blogger so I’m not exactly on publishers and authors radar, but when I do I get really excited! Though more often than not I don’t enjoy the books, either because it’s just not my thing or the writing isn’t good. So when Hayley Chow emailed me I was willing to give her book a try but I kept my expectations at a manageable level. I’m really glad I said yes. So before I get too into it first let’s talk about what it’s about.
Twelve-year-old Porter would much rather spend his weekends playing soccer than channeling spirits in the parallel universe of Pericael. Unfortunately for him, Porter’s family has guarded the gate between Earth and monster-filled Pericael for generations, so he’s not getting out of Gatekeeper lessons anytime soon. But some after-school activities are more dangerous than others. When a soul thief threatens the gate, Porter reluctantly comes to its defense… and gets thrown deep into Pericael’s dangerous jungle wilderness. With the help of two fierce native girls, Porter must learn to embrace the creepy spirits and find his way back to the gate. But the soul thief is racing for the gate too, and if he gets there first, Porter won’t have a home to go back to.
Now there were one or two things I didn’t like and I want to get into that. For a start the two main female Characters Fira and Conri. I have an awful memory, memory issues are something I’m actually diagnosed with professionally, and so I need Characters to be defined and very different so I can remember who’s who and what’s happening. Throughout this book I constantly felt like I was struggling with this, there’s one thing that obviously differentiates them but when they’re not talking about this I struggle to remember who’s who. But as I said this is just a me issue.
Now onto the good stuff! This book is beautifully written, the world building so well done that I constantly had a really good understanding of the world around me, especially when Chow talked about the jungle where some of this story takes place.
I also felt like I had a good understanding of the main character. Porter is obviously a kid thrust into a role he doesn’t want to be in and this does come across in the book, it’s easy to follow along with his story.
Now building a magic system is always something hard to do. You have to make sure it’s balanced and that no side, good and bad, has such an advantage over the other that you sit there wondering why they don’t just take that insta win. You don’t want a superman problem. Chow does this really well, I went through the whole book feeling like the good guys could win but there really was a threat against them.
All in all I really liked this book, it’s a short read and I did enjoy it. It’s something relaxing and easy that I know you’ll enjoy. It comes out the 6th of April and I definitely think it’s worth a read, you’ve honestly got nothing to lose. I think it’ll especially be a good read for nearer the end of the year to finish that Goodread challenge.
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