Opening line: “This is the story my mother told me:”
Apparently this is the last volume of a trilogy, which I didn’t realize until I looked at the back flap after I finished the book. Oops. All the same, it works as a stand-alone novel.
Somehow I didn’t quite expect to like the book. I think at first I was somewhat skeptical of Kellen’s dressing as a boy. That has been used so often at this point and I often don’t find books where girls dress as boys very satisfying (Alanna was never my favorite Tamora Pierce heroine). However, in this case Shinn worked with the idea in a very different way. Kellen doesn’t dress a boy to prove a point or to take on the system. She is forced by her mother to not only dress but to live as a boy and in certain ways this proves to be extremely painful for her.
When I read Gateway I ended up feeling like I never quite fell in love with the characters. That feeling was present in The Dream-Maker’s Magic, although to a much smaller degree. I cared a lot more about Kellen and Gryffin. Still, they never quite worked their way into my heart and I’m not quite sure why. In a similar way, I never entirely bought their world. Now, this may be partly because Shinn has done the groundwork in the first two books. As a new reader, however, I was left with a sense of a world that almost worked but didn’t quite.
This was still an enjoyable read and a nice take on several different fantasy elements.
Book source: public library
Book information: Viking, 2006; grade 7 up
My other Sharon Shinn review: