2 out of 4 stars
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Ten years previously, the leaders of Earth, the Gatekeepers (beings with unique powers tasked with protecting the inhabitants of the universe), and a group of astrobiologists met to discuss the colonization of Mars. Earth was becoming overcrowded and polluted. The meeting was interrupted by Asariel, a shape-shifter from Venus called a Biddatal. The Biddatals promised to keep the Earthlings from inhabiting Mars. Asariel attacked an astrobiologist and was close to killing him when Calbas (a Gatekeeper) created a funnel that sucked up Asariel.
A decade later, the city on Mars has been secretly constructed, and it is time to determine who may go there. After the first migrants are selected from a large group of volunteers, they are transported to a city on Earth that looks similar to the one on Mars. While there, they practice how to stay safe and work as a team. Then, their spaceship is boarded, and their journey begins. The migrants are varied from shy and introverted, like Carrol, to outgoing and rambunctious, like Martin and his friends.
The Gatekeepers know they will need a superior fighting machine, named the Gate, to help them keep the Mars’s inhabitants safe. They have been working on that for some time and are now ready to put their plan into action.
The Gate by Jennifer N. Hibbert is a fast-paced science fiction and fantasy novel that showcases the author’s vivid imagination. The scenes are described well, so they are easy to visualize and represent my favorite aspect of the book. Her world-building ability is superb. The language is simple and easy to follow. The dialogue is believable, and all the pertinent questions are answered by the ending.
However, there are negatives as well. First, I believe the first migrants to venture to Mars will be carefully selected to increase their chances for success in the dangerous endeavor, needing intelligence, bravery, and certain expertise. The only criterion for the selection in this book is they need to resemble the general population on Earth. Therefore, their ages range from children to the elderly. Some people don’t seem to possess any useful skills, and at least one person is so terrified of everything that she rarely leaves her room.
In addition, the author incorporated almost every mythical character known to man in the story. This included aliens with different physiques and powers like shape-shifting but also mermaids, fairies, witches, zombies, ghosts, vampires, dragon lizards, and walking skeletons. It was a little too much for me and was my least favorite aspect of the story. I think it would have been more plausible if she had stayed with the species pertinent to the story.
Plus, I had a hard time bonding with most of the main characters. Some of them acted more like children or teenagers than adults in their mid-twenties. Before this trip, Martin still lived at home with his parents and was paid an allowance. He and his friends seemed to think the rules didn’t apply to them and were insensitive to other people’s feelings. They laughed at and made fun of others not in their group.
I discovered numerous flaws in the book, mostly in the form of missing commas but also grammatical errors. It could use a professional editor.
The Gate achieved a rating of two out of four stars. One star was taken off because of the errors in the book and the other star because of the issues mentioned above. I believe preteens and teenagers who enjoy fantasy with some science fiction mixed in would appreciate it, as the main characters acted much younger than their ages. Other fantasy/science fiction lovers who don’t think the previous issues would detract from their experience would likely enjoy it as well. There was only one borderline profanity and no sex other than one kiss. However, there was some violence, although not explicit. Therefore, it is unsuitable for young children.
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