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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Gildemer (The Gate Series 1) by AS Oren is a young adult fantasy story and the first in a series. On planet Gildemer, which has a white and a purple moon, the humakats (and others who are part human, part animal) live in a strict hierarchical society where everyone strives to obey the laws that bind them. Gabby, fifteen, is a member of the lowest class of all. She works to pay off a family debt as a servant at the school where the king’s sons, others, and her own twin sister are being educated. Koi is the heir to the throne and he and his brother Etu love the bread Gabby bakes them. Little does Koi realize that the Gabby who disguises herself as part of a higher class and sneaks into the garden and meets him, is the lowly servant girl. Gabby is promoted to be Etu’s servant. But will Koi recognize her as the girl from the garden – her crime of disguise and pretense being punishable by death?
AS Oren has created an intriguing world and I very much enjoyed reading this book. The story line is well thought out and I was fascinated with the society where the DNA of the dying human race is combined with the DNA of animals to ensure that a species of sorts continues. The writing is good with suspense and intrigue throughout the plot, which moves along at a good pace – easily drawing the reader along with it. The story is told from different characters’ points of view, giving the reader more insight into the thoughts and lives of different key people. I think young readers are going to warm to Gabby and her plight and the unfairness of it all. All the characters are believable and very real. Dialogue in Gildemer is used effectively to suggest the relationships between the different characters as well as their hopes and fears. Gildemer cleverly ends with a hint of what might come in the next book, leaving us keen to follow this well written futuristic fantasy series.