Monday, July 8, 2013

The Lost Gateway by Josephine L. Brooks

 The Lost Gateway by Josephine L. Brooks
Synopsis: Invaded by Monsters
When Enyeto's calam herd is attacked, he finds some unusual creatures are to blame. Fearful of losing more animals, Enyeto tracks the creatures and destroys them. But these invaders are only the beginning. The creature's tracks lead him to a mysterious gateway where monsters are entering his world. His tribe is endangered. His shaman is clueless. And no one knows how to close the gateway.

Betrayed by Wizards
Faced with a problem beyond their understanding, Enyeto's tribe sends him to get help from the Outsiders. But a stable gateway between worlds is a prize no wizard can resist. Faced with a culture he barely understands, Enyeto falls prey to wizardly power games as they vie for control of this phenomenon.

In the Company of Witches
Only two back-country witches are willing to stand between Enyeto's tribe and total annihilation. Can he trust them, or do they also have ulterior motives?
In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

The story itself was good. It is an adventure story, where the main character is in a race against time to seal a portal before monsters destroy his tribe.

I thought some of the descriptions were too short, they were lacking in detail and there were many examples of “Show don’t Tell”. This was particularly bad during the action sequences. This made them less exciting and harder to follow. Sometimes it was also problem during long dialogue, where we are given plenty of interesting dialogue but not many details on things such as facial expressions, postures, tone of voice etc.

Some of the paragraphs felt too short, they were only one or two short sentences long, and the sentences on the next lines felt they all should have been part of the same paragraph.

Most of what happens is part of the main plot, while this is good for keeping the pace up, it did mean the story was lacking some breadth that you would get from having multiple plotlines.

There was some back story/world history in the book. These parts were interesting and well written. It was also fitted into the story very well, in a natural manner and at a time it was needed.

The pacing is fast and the story moves along nicely. The book is very short, the edition I read was 150 pages, there was also a large number of chapters given the length (31 in total), and other pages are stretched out because of the sentences over many lines when they should have been in one paragraph. With all this white space, the book is probably closer to 100-120 pages in length if it had a more normal structure.

It was an interesting twist that one of the main characters came from a tribe/nomadic group. This is not something we get to often see in fantasy novels and I enjoyed reading about this. I would like to have seen this to be more relevant to his story, other than some skill with the bow and affinity with animals, it wasn’t really important that he was a nomad. There were also times when he seemed to know things that he shouldn’t given his ‘sheltered’ life. For example (small spoiler), at one point he is imprisoned and looking at the door for a way to escape, examining the lock, hinges etc. for weaknesses. As he is a nomad he probably would have no knowledge of how doors work and it seems unlikely he would have any ideas how to plan an escape through it.

I did enjoy the Granny Fog Quotes that were at the start of each chapter. They were often funny, insightful and relevant to the story,

The characters were interesting with good personalities. Their thoughts and feelings were well written and they came across well.

Overall this was a good story and good characters, but it was one where you could tell it was the author’s first book. The details were too short at times, the structure sometimes felt wrong (broken up paragraphs and too short chapters) and the story stuck to the main plot and didn’t have much breadth. There were good points as well, the story was interesting and the characters were likeable with well written thoughts and feelings. I also loved the idea of one of the main characters being a nomad. The history of the world fitted in nicely and good to read about.

 Rating: *** 1/2

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