A paranormal fantasy by Alison Levy

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In Gatekeeper, Rachel Wilde comes from a dimension that exists adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil). Now Rachel has been given two unusual assignments: 1) find a person who has been trying to break down dimensional barriers, and 2) track down a missing line of gatekeepers, human placeholders for a daemon that was too badly damaged to repair.

Authorities of Rachel’s world believe the missing gatekeepers are descended from a girl who went missing from West Africa hundreds of years ago, likely sold into slavery. With no leads to go on, Rachel seeks help from Bach, a raving homeless man who happens to be an oracle. Bach does put her in the path of both of her targets—but he also lands her in a life-threatening situation. Rachel must stop the criminal, reunite a gatekeeper with her stolen past, and, above all, survive.

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I’m always up for a fantasy with an interesting world concept, and man, did this world intrigue all my fantasy senses. Our heroin lives in a pocket dimension. She works for an agency that kind of exists in its own little bubble. She’s from a place that is decidedly not Earth but that has humanoids, and she ends up filling her social circle with people who have fascinating gifts of their own. I wanted to take a walking tour of this world. It felt massive and so real.

While the world hooked me like crazy, I felt a disconnect between it and the characters. We meet Rachel when she’s getting new assignments for that agency in a bubble. Rachel has to keep working for a while before she can return home, but I didn’t feel like I ever found out why. The agency collects daemons (different from demons) because daemons can be a problem for the world(s), but again, the details felt fuzzy. This really was a shame. I wanted to get so into this adventure of part urban fantasy, part mystery, but the lack of clear motivations just didn’t let me feel immersed. The ending wrapped everything up nicely, but I did feel a bit as if it was done too easily. The pieces fell into place. Everything suddenly made sense, but it didn’t feel like I uncovered enough info for that to be the case.

Something worth mentioning is how this book addressed human culture. Rachel is not from Earth, and in a discussion with a guy from Earth, points out so many things that are rather weird about human society. It made me stop and think about all the things we do as humans that just don’t make sense. Things that harm our planet or are just wasteful. I thought to myself “she’s right. Whose idea was that, anyway?” It was a very interesting angle from which to view Earth.

The characters were well-drawn. There was some head-hopping that occasionally confused me, but otherwise, my reading experience wasn’t interrupted. And then there was the daemon who lived in a coat. I want one. That is all.

I recommend this book for fans of urban and paranormal fantasy. There’s a lot of cool stuff in here, and it’s definitely worth a read.

About Alison Levy

ALISON LEVY lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects.

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