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The Gatekeeper's Son by C.R. Fladmark
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The Gatekeeper's Son

by C.R. Fladmark

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I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley.com and that in no way has influenced my opinion in regards to this review. This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer. Title: The Gatekeeper's Son Series: ----- Author: Chris Fladmark Rating: 3 of 5 Stars Genre: YA Fantasy Pages: 313 Synopsis: Junya [who I insist on calling Junior in my head] is the grandson of a billionaire, the son of a ninja and the Inheritor of a brand new power of the gods of light and darkness. Another world is involved, lots of fighting, a cute chick and lots of YA'ness. Junya must fight the minions of Light AND Dark, as he is the cross between them. He must save his grandfather, save his mother, destroy an evil monster and keep a legion of other worldly super ninjas from killing him, all at the same time. My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this for what it was, a boys' fantasy novel. I don't think I'll be reading any more by this author but that isn't a negative on his part. It just means that it is a bit too YA for me to handle. It takes consummate skill to write a novel for both men and boys and as this is Mr Fladmark's debut novel, he deserves credit for writing a very good boys novel. Lots of fighting, your prerequisite cute girl, secrets out the wazoo, ninjas and a badguy who helps Junya for his own ends, *insert evil laughter*. That was the good stuff. The 2 main issues for me were as follows: 1) Junya goes from being a shy, almost cowardly boy, to this strong young man who can manage a multi-billion dollar company with no real in between phase. It felt very awkward to me. 2) Junya's father. He is in the story, but is so token that the reality is that Junya might as well have been raised by a single mother. He is supposed to be with them and part of their family, but he plays such a small part, even emotionally, that he comes across as a prop more than a real character. Other than that, no real issues worth discussing. This is the beginning of a series, but it ends up just fine that I don't feel the need to read any sequels. And the Series title is missing because Fladmark hasn't given it one yet. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
I received this book free for review. When I first read the book description I thought it sounded really interesting--a YA urban fantasy with a Japanese twist from the male's perspective. When I started reading, I found it hard to get into. The hero is the grandson of a very wealthy man. However, I didn't get that feel from him, and his voice seemed disconnected from the storyline. It was unrealistic when his grandfather throws him into a situation in a public setting without telling him first. And if his grandfather has been grooming him to be a business magnate, then why is he so unaware of what is happening with the company?

The supernatural events are interesting as they develop. And I liked the heroine and love interest. She is a strong personality and is smart. However, the hero seemed to be far less intelligent than he was supposed to be for much of the book. While strange things happen around him, it takes a while before things are spelled out for him (and the reader) so we really know what's going on. Of course, I had my suspicions, which were mostly correct. But, I found myself struggling to stay engaged until then. After that things begin to happen so quickly that I had a hard time keeping up, or understanding what was going on. When he travels to Japan, I was unable to picture where they stayed as the description was not clear for someone unfamiliar with the setting. And, the fact that he can do what no one else can, that he is able to just decide to use his abilities at the last moment to save things, was also unbelievable.

So, while the book picked up and had an intriguing concept behind it, I found the first third slow and the last third confusing. That being said, I think the hero behaved in ways consistent with his age, although I didn't understand his relationship with his parents. ( )
  laracat | May 25, 2015 |
"Filled with magic, mayhem and intrigue, Fladmark's series is off to a solid start." - Kirkus Reviews ( )
  crfladmark | Feb 4, 2015 |
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The adventurous tale of one boy discovering his true destiny.

On his 16th birthday, James Edward Thompson, aka Junya, is literally knocked off his feet after spying a beautiful, mysterious Japanese girl sitting in the park across from his grandfather’s mansion. Soon after, he is once again thrown for a loop when his billionaire grandfather announces that James will be the heir to the family business—a company his grandfather built from scratch and whose success is held as a deep, dark secret. Raised in a Japanese culture in the heart of San Francisco, James is used to his mother’s little quirks, from her ninjalike skills in the dojo to her uncanny ability to always know what he’s thinking. But when company insiders threaten his life, James realizes that his grandfather isn’t the only one with something to hide. As the truth begins to unravel, James isn’t sure whom to trust, and with the help of the mysterious girl in the park, he learns about strange worlds he never knew existed and power he never knew he had. Fladmark’s freshman offering starts off strong and progresses at just the right tempo. Adept worldbuilding further enhances the storyline, while skillful character development—aside from an occasional hiccup in terms of voice and personality—creates intriguing, relatable characters with a variety of ages, abilities, and social stations. Additionally, the clear, accessible prose ably depicts not only the various cultures of contemporary San Francisco, but also the magical hidden lands of Japan and the dangerous Mojave Desert.

Filled with magic, mayhem, and intrigue, Fladmark’s series is off to a solid start.
added by crfladmark | editKirkus Reviews (Feb 10, 2015)
 
What a tense novel! There's big business intrigue, intense fighting scenes and a dash of Japanese mythology thrown in to give it just the right touch.

Although this is marked for the young adult audience, the plot is complex enough to grasp adult readers as well. Junya has just been marked as heir to a billion dollar company, but with it, he's getting more than he bargained for. The company has enemies who plan on bringing it down - strong ones. But this isn't his main concern. A mysterious Japanese girl who keeps popping up (and can fight better than any normal ninja) is already keeping Junya's hands full...not to mention the strange things that are happening to him. Suddenly, he can sense things and a power is growing inside of him.

The characters are very well done - serious and driven, but they let a little bit of the light side of life sneak in every now and then. The problems thrown at Junya are sometimes more than he can handle, despite his own growing strength. Even his oncoming powers aren't something he really embraces at first, and the reader gets to discover and questions things along with him. This made him sympathetic and easy to cheer for.

The plot is fast paced and well weaved. I really enjoyed the more mature feel of the business world in this; the author never talks down to the reader. The little spice of Japanese culture really adds a nice touch, and it's clear that the author knows what he's talking about. It weaves in so naturally.

Summed up, this is a great read for intrigue and fantasy fans. Once they dive into Junya's world, they won't want to leave.
 
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To Mika, who took me across
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0993777600, Paperback)

Junya’s grandfather is a billionaire who keeps the secret to his success hidden in a heavily guarded safe. His mother is a martial artist who wields a razor-sharp katana—and seems to read his mind. And a mysterious girl in a Japanese school uniform can knock him over—literally—with just a look. What do they know that he doesn’t? Junya’s life takes a dangerous turn on his sixteenth birthday, when someone sets out to destroy not only the family’s business empire—the one that he’s set to inherit—but Junya himself. He’s fighting for his life, and doesn’t know who to trust. What has his family been keeping from him? Junya’s journey takes him from the narrow streets of San Francisco to Japan, and through hidden portals to the top of the ancient Japanese Izumo Shinto shrine, to places where death and violence are a way of life. And in a mystical world he’s never imagined, he finds his true destiny.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:28 -0400)

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