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Gateway Hardcover – Oct 15 2009
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About the Author
Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Our heroine is Asian and her adventure takes place in a parallel Universe with Ancient Chinese overtone. As usual a gentle romance accompanies the fantasy adventure.
Although the premise and setting are great, somehow the execution was dull. The usual depth and richness of a Shinn novel was missing. The adventure was flimsy. The romance felt forced. My feelings towards the heroine were lukewarm.
I am sorry to give this book just 3 stars.
If you want to get a sample of Ms. Shinn at her best- try out her anthology of novellas that was just released :Quatrain
If you want a better written YA Historical Fantasy with an Asian heroine in an Ancient Chinese setting try out Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
Despite a few flaws, I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were unique, and I love the idea of world travel. I am not sure if this novel will have a sequel, but I really hope it does. There are many questions that went unanswered and with an open ending, I would really like to learn more.
First, let me mention that, due to earlier reviews, I was expecting an excessive amount of formatting problems/"typos" due to the conversion to Kindle format, but frankly they were far fewer than I had been led to expect, and most were easily-decipherable mash-ups of words, and not frequent enough to be much noticeable to me. Your mileage may vary, as it were.
As for the book itself, maybe it was because my expectations were lowered, but frankly, I don't think so. Being a St. Louis native, all of the descriptions of St. Louis settings/events just charmed and delighted me, and I instantly warmed to the main character and her family, a knack of imparting an instant connection that Shinn often has with her character depictions. The young man who was the romantic interest was also instantaneously likable and trustworthy, while Shinn conveyed the heroine's sense of distrust in other characters and her confusion and conflicting feelings regarding the charming villain with her usual deftness. The story was straightforward, yet still filled with the wonderful character-driven complexities and nuances of Shinn's best works. It was such a satisfying read that I was disappointed when it ended and would love to see a sequel.
Daiyu is the adoptive daughter of a couple who was unable to have a child of their own. Adopted from China and brought over to the States when she was a baby, she knows very little of China and has never been to visit it. Now a teenager, she is a hard worker and looking to go to college soon - that is, until she stumbles across a "gateway" to another reality, a reality in which China discovered the United States.
St. Louis is renamed, the landmarks we all know are gone, and the largest minority are Caucasians. But evil still exists - and it's against that evil that Daiyu has to figure out where she stands and what decisions she needs to make regarding her future.
This was a very easy book to read, the story flowed well and Sharon Shinn's development was great, as always. It seemed a little stilted in parts, however, almost like she was writing for an audience younger than the subject matter would normally speak to - but overall I had a blast with Gateway and will be recommending it.