Book Review: Gateway to Fourline

GATEWAY from the back of the book:

Strapped for cash, college student Natalie Barns agrees to take a job at a costume shop. Sure, Estos—her classmate who works in the shop—is a little odd, but Nat needs the money for her tuition.

Then she stumbles through the mysterious door behind the shop—and her entire universe transforms.

Discovering there’s far more to Estos than she ever imagined, Nat gets swept up in an adventure to save his homeland, an incredible world filled with decaying magic, deadly creatures, and a noble resistance of exiled warriors battling dark forces. As she struggles with her role in an epic conflict and wrestles with her growing affection for a young rebel, Soris, Nat quickly learns that nothing may go as planned…and her biggest challenge may be surviving long enough to make it home.

My review under the cut.

I decided about two months ago that I wanted to start doing book reviews, in part because my site feels awfully empty and lonely and this seemed a good way to encourage critical thinking in myself and pad the content of the site a little. I waffled for a while, trying to decide what to review first. Do I do an older book that I’ve read a million times? Would that make me biased? (yes) Should I do a book that released recently this year? My first review was almost for Magonia but I had already read that by the time I decided to do reviews, and that worry about bias still hung about.

so when this book practically fell in my lap I decided that yes, I would let it be my inaugural book review, something that I only knew about from the blurb on the back of the book. Clean slate, this would be great.

I regret this decision. Let’s break it down into sections shall we?

The Good

-The world of Fourline is clearly one the author has thought about for a while, there’s signs that this world has been crafted with love and care and has the potential to be fleshed out into a fantasy world that fans world wide will love to play in.

-The events that lead up to the content of this book are interesting, and I can sincerely say I wish there were more focus on the “before” of this. There may be in later installments but to be perfectly blunt: I will not be reading them.

The Bad 

My that was a short list. Let’s move on to the rest.

-Author consistently skips over little moments that might provide actual depth to her characters. Instead, we get things in info dumps and are assured, no less than twelve times before we see any of it, that her Protag “can do this because she’s fast, I’ve seen her run” I didn’t even know running was a thing the character did in any capacity beyond that sentence that is uttered so. many. times.

-Split perspective between your Everyman!character and your we-know-what’s-actually-up!character which wouldn’t be an issue if they were handled well. When it jumps to the We-know character nothing is ever explained and the reader is locked out completely, so there’s all these words being bandied about and no frame of reference for what any of it means.

-Several times our Protag gets upset, and rightfully so, about the other character’s withholding information on her. Repeatedly she grows frustrated and demands they answer questions or else she refuses to help them anymore. but not only does she never follow through with her threats, there’s never any tension caused by this issue. It’s not like they work particularly hard at manipulating her into doing their bidding, one of them makes puppy dog eyes and that’s it, she’s back on board, her own safety be damned.

-The romance subplot. I have come to the point in my life where I wearily accept the fact that there will nearly always be a hetero-romantic subplot chunked at me unless a book has been specifically rec’d otherwise. Sometimes, the characters can be written in such a way that I grudgingly at least buy their feelings for one another. The romance subplot reminds me of the romance plot in the BBC’s Merlin: painful and seemingly tossed in because the creator remembered that it should be a thing.

The Bottom Line

Man, this review feels really mean. I didn’t mean for it too, but I didn’t want to sugar coat things. This was a frustrating read that I had to force myself to soldier through and when I was done I celebrated by diving into a collection of Dragon Age fanfic to soothe my poor brain meat. This isn’t a bad book by any account, it’s just not a good enough book for me to warrant telling anyone else that yes virginia, you should read it.

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