Sunday, September 28, 2014

Evil Star

Evil Star by Anthony Horowitz

Book two in the Gatekeepers series. This was recommended to me by a friend who, on finishing the last book I was told, stormed out of her house and had to pace the yard to cope. Just the kind of series I had to read, right? Thankfully, I am reading it with her sister, so we can try and cope together.

*Spoilers below*

Matthew Freeman has just survived the opening of Raven's Gate and is now trying to live as normal a life he can with Richard, a 25-year-old journalist who has agreed to let Matt stay with him. Richard and Matt get along well enough, and there are times with Matt feels like Richard is his older brother, but he soon has to accept his life is far from normal. Just when he comes to understand this disaster again hunts him down and he and Richard find themselves traveling to Peru where there is another gate. Matt once again is being called upon to stop it from opening, only this time he has help from another of the give Gatekeepers - a boy his age named Padro. Unable to speak a word in each other's language, Matt and Padro join forces to do the impossible, no matter the risks.

 I liked this one more than the first. Mostly because Matt wasn't alone this time. (Matt on his own is kind of depressing, he needs friends, someone to look after him.)

 Matt is a character it is hard to not feel bad for. All he wants is a normal life. Go to a normal school. Hang out with normal friends. Richard tries hard to give this to him, but by the end of it Matt has to accept that he is a Gatekeeper whether he wants it or not, and nothing is going to change that. He grows up a lot in this book, which makes him that much cooler but was also hard to read because you begin to realize his boyhood is gone and he isn't ever going to get it back.

 In book one I wanted to kick Richard when he first appeared, and then hug him when he worked so hard to save Matt's life. In this one I wanted to hug him even more. Even though he's only about 11 years older than Matt, he was trying so hard to give him a nice home. He didn't do the best job at it, but he did better than most would have. (Quitting his job so he could spend more time with Matt, finding one closer to where they lived, trying to help him when he had trouble in school.) Both of them were thrown into a kind of brotherly relationship with no training or heads up, and Richard took it well and tried everything he could to make Matt happy. Also, he worried nonstop about him, which was endearing.

 I adored Padro. There wasn't a lot of time to get to know him since the story focused on Matt, and Pardo barely had lines in English, but right off the reader is given an assurance that Padro can be liked and trusted. (He saves Matt with a sling shot, Hard not to like him.) Like Matt, Pardo doesn't want to be a Gatekeeper, and he doesn't think he's anything special. He doesn't even know what his power is until the very end of the book. And there were times when he could have turned back and left Matt on his own, even before they were friends, but he refused. Pardo just wins the reader over, at least in my case.

 The villain in this book was SO MUCH worse than in the first. Not only is Mr. Salamanda cold and frightening, he LOOKS creepy. And you know how bad it is when the villain looks like a villain, not just acting like one.

 The plot was faster and more exciting. Book one was a little slower at the beginning - understandably so - but this has action almost from the start.

 Like the first, there was some mystical stuff in it. Not so much the demon feel of book one, but monsters and frightening gates. But for those who've read book one, book two must be read.

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