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Gateway

( 14 )

Overview

As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring-and tells her that 'black jade' translates to 'Daiyu'fishe buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it's more than that; it's magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means ...

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Gateway

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Overview

As a Chinese adoptee in St. Louis, teenage Daiyu often feels out of place. When an elderly Asian jewelry seller at a street fair shows her a black jade ring-and tells her that 'black jade' translates to 'Daiyu'fishe buys it as a talisman of her heritage. But it's more than that; it's magic. It takes Daiyu through a gateway into a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China. Almost immediately she is recruited as a spy, which means hours of training in manners and niceties and sleight of hand. It also means stealing time to be with handsome Kalen, who is in on the plan. There's only one problem. Once her task is done, she must go back to St. Louis and leave him behind forever. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Daiyu was adopted as a baby from China by an American couple, and now as a teenager in St. Louis, a strangely attractive gem sends her into an alternate world where North America was colonized by Chinese settlers rather than Europeans. Daiyu is recruited by Ombri and Aurora, two “servants of the gods” who are also able to move between worlds, to help stop Chenglei, a dangerous traveler who has been elected prime minister of Shenglang (the alternate version of St. Louis and “arguably the most important city on the world called Jia”). But even as Daiyu becomes increasingly fascinated by Shenglang and attracted to Kalen, who assists Ombri and Aurora, she begins questioning everything: is the charming Chenglei truly evil? (“Were Aurora and Ombri simply interdimensional bounty hunters who had their own agenda?” she wonders. “How could she possibly know?”). Shinn's (General Winston's Daughter) fantasy finds the right balance between adventure and romance, while illuminating how seductive evil can be and that sometimes the best weapon one can possess is a skeptical mind. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)\
Children's Literature - Jennifer Waldrop
Daiyu has walked under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis more times than she can remember, but when she walks under it wearing the black jade ring she was inexplicably drawn to, something new happens—she is transported to Shenglang, another world in which the upper class is made up of Chinese people and the lower class of Caucasians. In this new world she is immediately met by Kalen, a poor laborer who lives with Aurora and Ombri, two people who can travel through iterations like Daiyu has just done. They explain to Daiyu that the reason she was brought to this world was to take Chenglei, the enigmatic leader, out of it. As Daiyu spends more time in Shenglang, she finds herself conflicted about whether Aurora and Ombri are to be trusted, whether she should help them get rid of Chenglei, and if she can bring herself to go home, where she will forget that Kalen and the feelings she has for him ever existed. Gateway is a unique, original fantasy that transports both Daiyu and the reader to another world. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
VOYA - Grace Zokovitch
I thought that Gateway was terrific. It was a very fast book. I couldn't put it down. What's she going to do next? What will happen next? It didn't have much humor. That would make it better but not by much. Just like the main character, I couldn't tell the bad guy was bad for a while. It had romance, sadness, suspense, and magic, which I consider a very good combination. Overall: A really good book. Reviewer: Grace Zokovitch, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Diane Colson
Daiyu is Chinese by birthright, but she was raised by American parents in St. Louis, Missouri. During a fair held on the grounds of the Gateway Arch, she finds herself drawn to a black jade ring and impulsively purchases it when the strange vendor tells her that "Daiyu" means black jade. As she walks away, crossing beneath the magnificent gateway of the Arch, Daiyu finds herself instantly transported to another St. Louis. In this world, most of the people are "Han," or Chinese. Daiyu learns that her arrival was deliberately planned as part of a scheme to bring down an unscrupulous Prime Minister. She only has to play her role in banishing the Prime Minister and she can return to her own world with no memory of these other world events. But Daiyu falls deeply in love with a boy named Kalen. It would break her heart to leave him behind, but it seems her destiny is to forget him forever. Shinn's creation of a parallel world is immensely enjoyable and creative. Here the Han people are dominant over the other races, and the ramifications are seen in architecture and social structure. The political intrigue is satisfying, making the story more attractive to fans of alternative worlds than to romance readers. The conclusion to the romance is one of the more awkward elements of the story, and Daiyu's easy successes in a strange world also strain credulity. The book is still an excellent fantasy selection that bucks the current trend of horror romance. Reviewer: Diane Colson
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—When Daiyu, a St. Louis high school student adopted as a baby from China, buys a black jade ring from an old woman and then walks through the Gateway Arch, her life instantly changes. The Arch has been replaced by an enormous pagodalike gate, and most of the people around her are Chinese. A young man assures her that everything is fine and takes her to the people who have been expecting her. Daiyu discovers that the world she knows is only one of many "iterations" created by contentious gods who wanted different versions of the world when it was created. Because she is Chinese, she has been brought to this particular iteration, a place where the ruling class is Chinese, to help eliminate one of the gods' rogue servants. The fantasy is coherent and engaging and has the potential for sequels that explore other iterations. Shinn is a prolific and skillful writer, and the world in which Daiyu finds herself is full of interesting detail, though its use of Chinese culture is superficial. The story itself moves slowly. Daiyu is placed into the household of an upper-class woman who claims the teen as her niece because she is desperate to get certain invitations only available to families with girls being introduced into society. Daiyu falls in love with the young man who rescued her and is also courted by a wealthy suitor. In the end, it is the hint of a happy ending to the slight love story that will satisfy most readers.—Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Blending romance with a touch of fantasy, Shinn's new series rests on a promising premise: The St. Louis Gateway Arch is a portal to other universes, each an "iteration" of the basic template created by gods of whom readers learn little else. Daiyu, about 17, adopted as an infant from China by white parents, is magically pulled into Shenglang, a version of St. Louis. Here, America was settled by Han Chinese, and whites are an ethnic minority. Servants of the gods have brought Daiyu here to dispatch Chenglei, the powerful prime minister, back to his own iteration. Daiyu's uncertainty about their objectives is complicated by her attraction to Kalen, an impoverished, white stone-picker. Groomed to travel in high society and catch the eye of Chenglei, Daiyu makes seeing Kalen a condition of her cooperation with the scheme. The vivid contrast of Shenglang's elite class-combining great wealth with rigid social customs-to Kalen's hardscrabble world is especially effective. That, along with the intelligent and convincing characterization, lends weight to an otherwise light romance. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670011780
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 842,106
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by  Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2009

    Sad and Racially Driven Book

    Really sad to see Sharon Shinn use Chinese culture in this way. Yes, lets have more stories where all the villains are Chinese and it's set in an America taken over by the Chinese. Xenophobia anyone? What is Chinese these days; a term for generic bogey-men?

    On top of that, the heroine's Chinese-ness is only redeemed by her upbringing in a white family, her willingness to kill the Chinese minister, and her fawning after the white man. Thanks Sharon Shinn, I'm sure young adults don't have enough racial bigotry in their lives, you have to help reinforce it in their fiction as well. Could you maybe create a plot that's not focused through a racial lens?

    But even more upsetting is how this is nothing more than a poor watered down version of Eileen Chang's Lust, Caution. Not only are you racially insulting, but you have to steal from a Chinese writer's creative work to do it too. Way to rub salt in the wound.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    Love Sharon Shinn's writing!

    Typical Sharon - Love it as I do all her work... from her very young adult novellas and novels to her series fantasy.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gateway by Sharon Shinn

    I was looking forward to reading this since the first time I read the summary. The idea of traveling through gates to another world was very intriguing, but after reading Gateway, I feel sort of disappointed. To me, I think the story had good potential but halfway through it went flat. Don't get me wrong, there were some good things about this novel too.

    I really enjoyed Shinn's writing style - the way she put her words together made the story flow nicely. The majority of the characters were well-developed and fun to read about. My favorite character was Kalen; he was a very outgoing, laid-back kind of person. I really enjoyed Daiyu's character too, and I loved how she did what she thought was right and not what other people said was. Not that this has much to do with the book, but I really like the cover.

    The main thing I didn't like about this book, was the fact that the story just fell flat, for me. Like I mentioned before, Shinn had a story with potential. I would have liked to see a little more action - there was some action but only in the last quarter of the book. Most of the book was a little too slow paced for me, and I kept hoping that something exciting was going to happen, but it didn't. Another thing was I thought Chenglei's mysteriousness was great, but once Daiyu started to figure things out, I would have liked to see more interaction between the two. It was like the conflict started and then turn the page and it was over.

    Overall, I did enjoy this book, despite some flaws. I do hope there will be a sequel because I felt that the book ended too soon, with some unanswered questions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    Will I Ever Find My Way Back Home?

    Gateway
    By: Sharon Shinn
    (Published by Viking copyright date 2009)
    Daiyu has always been a little different being adopted from China. But when she buys a black jade ring from a jewelry stand at a local fair her whole world turns upside down, that is when she walks through the Gateway Arch with the ring on. She is thrown in to a whole new world where everyone is Chinese. She doesn't know why or where she is she's here until a native tells here where she is and gives her mission that could save the world from mass destruction. But once her mission is finished she will have to return home but will she be able to return home from what she has known for so long? Find out in this thrilling novel Gateway that 9 through 12 would enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun Read

    I enjoyed the story. It's a relaxing read. good balance of mystery, romance and excitement.

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