The Fallen Gatekeepers by C R Fladmark

The Fallen Gatekeepers by C R FladmarkThe Fallen Gatekeepers by C.R. Fladmark
Published by Shokunin Publishing Company on February 15th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

Being a modern teenager is complicated. Family expectations. Japanese teenage-girl warriors. Shape shifting lizard-men. Alternate worlds. All a day in the life of Junya Thompson. It’s been months since sixteen-year-old Junya survived his savage battle with the Evil Ones, but now that he’s back in San Francisco he's still feeling the effects. His limp is slow to heal, his shoulder aches from the bite that should have killed him, and black poison lingers in his blood, tainting his life energy. The Gatekeepers of Izumo Oyashiro, land of the gods, fear he’s been permanently affected and are reluctant to allow him to return to their realm.

The Fallen Gatekeepers seems like a relatively standard portal fantasy, with people from Earth with special powers being able to travel between worlds as and when it’s convenient for them, and people from a very tightly controlled society in an alternate dimension which sounds suspiciously like Japan who travel to our dimension. It has magic, lizard people who can take on the appearance of human beings, with the inventive name of “the evil ones”…

And that’s what I don’t get about this book – it’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer at times, and spends way too hard on creating some sort of allegory, without taking the time to focus on telling a decent story. Part of my problem was that the book is told in first person perspective, and I never felt like I could connect with the main character. I thought the author was trying just a bit too hard to sell the message of the corrupting outside influence on an otherwise closed society of Totally-Not-Japan. And although I’m an adult, and do not consider myself prudish, I thought the fact that the Japanese Schoolgirls’ magic was powered by sex was a bit too much for me. That is before I even mention the fact that one of the teenaged protagonists is basically gifted a Porsche sportscar when they don’t even know how to drive.

I think when you’re writing in a genre that is crowded with competitors, you really have to do something to stand out from the pack. I really felt this was just… generic… with ham-fisted plotting and world-building. While this book may well be of interest to a younger audience, but there are some definite themes involved that make me wonder just what audience this is intended for. I suspect that most adult readers would find it overly simplistic, and the characters too childish.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

It might be someone’s idea of a fantasy, but I won’t be going back.

I received a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Rating Report
Overall: two-half-stars

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