Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Gatekeeper's House by Eva Pohler

Title:  The Gatekeeper's House
Author:  Eva Pohler
Series:  The Gatekeeper's Saga #4
Published:   November 1st 2013 by Green Press/Eva Pohler
Page Count:  289
Genre:  YA Paranormal
Shelf:  Review Copy
Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Therese Mills has second thoughts about marrying Thanatos when she learns no god has ever been faithful to his wife. Before she can move into Hecate's rooms, however, the Underworld is attacked, she and her friends are crushed, the souls are unleashed, and a malevolent goddess threatens to unhinge Mount Olympus.

Hypnos has just made a deal with Hades to have his turn in the Upperworld, but before he can tempt Jen with a kiss, he's called back to rebind the souls and defend the House of Hades, and he unwittingly puts Jen and her family in harm's way.

My Review:

This novel is simultaneously mythologically accurate and an extremely entertaining story. Pohler combines mystery with suspense with mythology and romance to create a captivating and well-rounded whole with some shocking twists. As an author Pohler engages her readers both emotionally and intellectually. She had me on the edge of my seat biting my nails, curled in a ball with a broken heart, and laughing like a little kid. Her smooth, flowing writing style draws you into the story and keeps you following her characters throughout. Not only is this novel well written but Pohler’s descriptions flow from one another very smoothly and paint a picture that takes you all over the world with her characters. Her show-not-tell descriptions draw you into the scenes and don’t let you go. I also appreciate that this is a well-rounded story with a beginning, middle, and end even though it is part of a series. It follows well in the series and leaves an opening for a sequel but doesn’t have you feeling confused at the beginning or leave you hanging at the end.

Pohler also mixes modernity with antiquity throughout relationships and the novel as a whole to create a seamless work that you won’t want to put down. Not only does she portray the Greek Pantheon with her own twist, but she keeps to the major facts and doesn’t completely reinvent an entire culture and religious base. I love how she takes the relationship between Hades and Persephone and gives it a bit of a shake, taking a very different route from most but ensuring that there is still an explanation for everything that fits in the overarching knowledge about their characters. It’s also really nice to see Hades as the ‘good guy’ for once, especially without it throwing preconceived notions of the deity out the window.

I love how Pohler introduces her new characters, especially the divine ones. She works the actual mythology of the characters right into the plot of her story as part of a character’s thoughts or actions. The audience not only learns about the god(dess) in question but also gets to know them as a real person without breaking the flow of the story. Character development also steps it up a notch in this one when Pohler not only develops the personalities of her new characters, but also gives us a much more rounded view of those we’ve already met. This is especially apparent in Hip, who becomes more than simply the fun loving twin, of course, I do also want to throw a pillow at him a time or two for being a total rich guy with a sense of entitlement and no clue about girls. It’s entertaining to watch him grow as a person, regardless of his age. I appreciate that she develops all relevant aspects of a character, but that you don’t ever feel like you’ve read a complete psych profile on them. You get to know everyone in a manner befitting a friend or acquaintance rather than the subject of an inquiry. Above all, Pohler’s characters are the type of people that you want to know and love and are developed in such a way that you feel like you’ve known them forever.

As a whole this novel is both an educated piece of fiction and a fun, suspenseful romp through the lives of the characters that we’ve come to know and love throughout the series, as well as the new ones that we meet in this instalment. As much as I love this series as a whole, this may be my favourite yet. Pohler combines suspense with a love story or two and a culture worth of mythology to create a work of art.

See the trailer for this novel.

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