Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Gatekeeper of Pericael by Hayley Reese Chow

The Gatekeeper of Pericael is a middle grade fantasy book that was sent to me by the author. 12-year-old Porter is the Kotalla Kan, the next generation of the Gatekeepers, who guard the portal between Earth and the parallel spirit universe of Pericael. He hates spirits, and would much rather play soccer and be "normal" then spend hours channeling them and accepting his fate. When Pericael is threatened by the soul-stealing shaman Raspburn, Porter tries to help his mother banish him, but accidently drags himself and his powerless cousin Ames along with him. He must find his way back home in six days before Raspburn does, and defeat him. Along the way, he learns more about his powers and must learn to embrace it.

I loved The Gatekeeper of Pericael! While the premise of being sucked into a portal and having to find your way home is not very unique, the world-building certainly is. I also enjoyed how it was not information overload; I liked having a sense of mystery of certain aspects of the sprits and learning with Porter along the way. The book reminds me a bit of Avatar the Last Airbender, especially with the connection to the spirits. The plot's blend between familiar and unique was refreshing. The imagery of the fights and Porter's magic was very vivid and enticing. 

Porter's character development was astonishing. He went from despising the spirits and his role in protecting Earth to earnestly joining the King of the Spirits and feeling a sense of pride in his abilities. And for a 12-year-old kid? That is a heck of a ton of pressure to be under, and I enjoyed watching him adapt to it and find new strength to save his friends. While unfortunate circumstances caused his journey, I have no doubt that it helped Porter evolve in his abilities and become a more confident person. I do wish that the same growth was present with some of the other characters like Ames; or perhaps his relative flatness was written on purpose to emphasize Porter's emotions and difficulties?

I recommend this book! 

See my review of another book by this author, Ordiel's Heirs

Title: The Gatekeeper of Pericael
Author: Hayley Reese Chow
Publisher: Hayley Reese Chow
Pages: 186
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Journey to the Kingdom of No Return (Shelf Life Book 2) by Leslie R. Henderson

Journey to the Kingdom of No Return is the second book in the Shelf Life series that was sent to me by the author. Little Book accomplished his dream of becoming an international best-seller, and is back in the bookstore. But soon, he learns that his shelf-life is running out, and he will be put on sale. Desperate to have more time, he strikes a deal with the lead Space-Arranger to go on a reconnaissance mission to the dark side and retrieve scifi hero Luke Shelfwalker, who has apparently been booknapped to the dark side.

I find it really funny that the video game section is the furthest back in the store that borders the dark side. Is there some symbolism to the dark nature of video games over books? I enjoyed the extension of the setting of the bookstore. The "dark side" actually takes place in the storage room. The assumption would be that nobody cleans out the storage spaces, so the books and other items can stay there forever. The cover is once again amazing, and it shows an actual scene from the story. Henderson also did a great job making that environment creepy; I hate spiders and silverfish. *Shudder*

I enjoyed the subtle humor and frustration, like how Timothy Smithers never puts a book back where it belongs. I understand that frustration completely as I used to volunteer at my local library. Putting the children's section and the ones near it back in order were quite a chore sometimes. It is also true that sunlight can fade the art of a book and can trigger chemical changes in the pages, and many places do try to rotate shifts of what books are in the windows the longest. I also love the comedic and truthful timing of phases like "guns and kids don't mix" (49).

I may be reading too much into this, but one thing I found a bit strange or slightly confusing was that it was never mentioned how many copies of each book there were; one would assume that with how Little Book a best seller that he would have been sold; or he is the only one of x amount of copies that is "alive" and stayed in the bookstore out of luck? Or does each copy of the book have the same memories and thoughts and personalities? Also, one would think that being on sale is sort of a good thing; being right at the front of the store with a compelling price would make it more likely that they would be sold; isn't it ironic that the books are desperate not to go on sale as a last-ditch effort to be sold and want to stay in the bookstore forever? 

I recommend that you read this book and I look forward to reading the next one!

Read my review of the previous book in this series, Never Turn the Page Too Soon.

Title: Journey to the Kingdom of No Return
Author: Leslie R. Henderson
Publisher: Leslie R. Henderson
Pages: 209
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars
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