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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review : Gateway by Sharon Shinn

Title : Gateway
Author : Sharon Shinn
Publisher : Viking Juvenile
Genre : Young Adult / Fantasy
ISBN : 978-0670011780
Series : Stand Alone
Release Date : October 15, 2009
Rating : 3/5 Stars - Good

Description from Goodreads

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. . . . 


Daiyu was adopted when she was very young by an American family, and being the only Chinese member of her family can sometimes be a little stressing.  When she is shopping at the local fair in St. Louis she meets an elderly Asian woman, who happens to be selling jewelry.  She tells Daiyu that "black jade" translates to "Daiyu", and this sparks a significant interest in her.  She is drawn to the ring, and eventually ends up purchasing it.  What she doesn't know, is that one simple ring can mean a world of difference, in a completely different world.

While Daiyu is in this new world, she meets a young man named Kalen, who helps her upon her initial "landing".  She finds that she trusts him, and doesn't truly understand why, but doesn't really care because he is kind and handsome.  He brings her to the people that have made it possible for her to travel to their world, and learns that she is to be a spy, and is to help them to remove a very unwanted person from their community.  Daiyu doesn't understand it all, but she is willing to help, especially knowing that she will be able to stay in this world with her new found friend Kalen for just a while longer.

When given the opportunity to review this novel, I jumped at the chance.  As soon as it arrived in my mailbox I began reading it, and despite the fact that I rather enjoyed this book, I was a little disappointed.  I thought the story was a little slow at times, and dragged on just a little too much through the middle.  I didn't really like Daiyu's character in the beginning of the book, but slowly she grew on me.  I thought she was rather selfish for a person that claimed to help people all the time.  I hoped that she would surprise me somewhere along the lines, and thankfully, she did.

I was probably three quarters through the book before I really started getting into it.  The story was starting to shape itself more, and Daiyu was beginning to shape as well.  We learned more about her past, and the things she enjoyed, as well as her feelings toward the people around her.  She began to understand her quest, and why it was so important.  I was rather curious as to how things would work out for her in the end.

The romance in this novel wasn't as prominent as I expected it to be.  Kalen wasn't your typical "lover boy".  He wasn't perfect by all means, but he was kind and did what he could to help others.  He was personally my favorite character in the book, despite the fact that I didn't get to learn as much about him as I would have liked.  I actually think it was Kalen's character that had the biggest tole on the transformations with Daiyu, and for all the better.

I will definitely read more books by Sharon Shinn in the future.  The idea alone of this novel was something different and exciting, and that makes me wonder what other fascinating stories she has conjured up.  

Where did I get this book? :

I received this ARC in order to participate in a traveling tour with Other Shelf Tours.

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fredamans said...

Great review!

I think I would enjoy this book.