The Gatekeeper's Descendants

Young Adult - Religious Theme
437 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

To Johanna Frank, retirement means the freedom to do what she simply loves—bringing family and friends together with good food. But even better is the space to pen creative, inspirational fiction; stories she hopes will touch the lives of her readers.

Johanna lives in the Waterloo Region of Ontario, Canada with husband, Joe, cherishing and watching their children and their families as they churn through life and develop into their own wonderful characters.

At the time of publishing, Johanna’s The Gatekeeper’s Descendants was declared the Winner of The Word Guild’s 2021 Word Awards for the best unpublished manuscript.

The Gatekeeper’s Descendants is Johanna Frank’s debut novel and first in a compelling fantasy series.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

A Christian fantasy science-fiction novel that delves into the riddles of life and death, The Gatekeeper’s Descendants by Johanna Frank is bold and imaginative. Pipiera arrived in the form of a curious young teenager and is still reluctant to enter the gate to the kingdom. This catches the attention of Megalos, the head gatekeeper. Megalos needs a favor as he is all worked up by a situation that requires intervention for a boy named Matthew. Pipiera accepts the task to help Matthew get his life back on track. Interventions are not her thing, and Matthew will not realize what is happening at the beginning. Things will not turn out the way Pipiera intended them to be. Matthew's life will seem to go from bad to worse. Will Pipiera still go the extra lengths to save a fledgling earth-dwelling boy, and will he ever get any assistance from Megalos?

The Gatekeeper’s Descendants will take you to the emotional brink, and it is moving enough to push you over. It ends on a convincing and happy note, but not in a formulaic resolution. Johanna Frank decodes an enticing allegory about the human soul and how good and evil battle to have custody. What happens to Pipiera and Matthew in the story is like nothing you have ever read before. It provides a reflective moment on the mysteries of death and how we fit into the grand scheme of things. I finished reading sensing something that I cannot explain, but I appreciate it. I recommend you to read it because this is a story that has something to impart to even the most cynical among us.

Samantha Gregory

The Gatekeeper's Descendants by Johanna Frank tells the story of Pipiera, a guardian angel of sorts who is offered the chance to help a young boy called Matthew and prevent him from ruining his future. She is not the only 'otherworldly' being there; a being known as a rebel interferes in her quest, and Pipiera does not know what to do. Matthew is having a hard time himself. He feels out of place, and he lost his father a few years previously. His mother is worried about him and wants to help him, but she isn't sure how. Pipiera and Matthew find that they need each other.

Johanna Frank has written an entertaining and thoughtful story with The Gatekeeper's Descendants. While there are a lot of religious aspects to the story, I believe it can be enjoyed by everyone, even if they are not particularly religious themselves. I liked the writing style. The author creates a vivid picture of the world without overdoing it. The dialogue is a product of the time, but it flows well. The characters are well developed, and the idea feels fresh and not a rehash of other books. Pipiera is an interesting character who faces many challenges in her quest, but she doesn't give up easily. Matthew is a typical kid with his own issues. The story moves at a decent pace, and I kept reading to see what happened next. I would recommend it to fantasy and young adult readers as I think they would enjoy it.

Delene Vrey

Pip arrived at the gates a while ago but she didn't feel that she was ready to enter the city of the king, so she spent her time with Megalos, the Gatekeeper. He has taken her in as family and cares for her. Her perfectly round white stone is in her pocket to hand in when she enters the city gates. Matthew Mackenzie is a very unhappy thirteen-year-old. His father, who was an astronomer, had died some years back, and his mom remarried. She is now divorced and what makes it worse for Matthew is that he has a baby sister of four, and to top it all, his 'stepdad' is his Vice-Principal. Every day he is mocked by the school bully. Aching to belong, he starts telling lies and boasting about his skill at the long jump. As a track meet ends in disaster for him, he has to stay alive and navigate the ball of chaos that his life has become, which draws the attention of a supernatural being who wants to be Matt's friend. Matt has to face where he belongs, to whom he listens, and whom he trusts. But what do these three people have in common with a curse a boy uttered before his death?

In The Gatekeeper's Descendants, Johanna Frank writes a fantastical tale of a boy who has a purpose to fulfill in the kingdom, but he must first do a tour of human life on earth. An intervention is planned and executed as the boy goes off track. However, it does not exactly go smoothly. Matt spends quite a lot of time unconscious and tripping around the universe. This is a fantastical story that is uplifting. The immersive imagery of living stones and the great foul-smelling dragon bring a touch of fantasy to a serious topic. The Gatekeeper's Descendants is an excellent book for disgruntled teens to read who are not into the more traditional fantasy novels. The author treated the topic of faith in a fantasy novel with good taste.

Rabia Tanveer

The Gatekeeper’s Descendants by Johanna Frank is a mysterious work of Christian science fiction. Pipiera is not ready for the task she is about to be handed, but she frankly has no other choice. She takes on the responsibility grudgingly, but that does not mean she will not do her best. Her job is simple; save an earth-dwelling human named Matthew from destroying his life. Matthew is hellbent on destroying his future, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone who could save him apart from Pipiera. But being on earth is hard for Pipiera. Her past has a strong hold on her, but that is not the only thing causing a hindrance. A strange and dangerous unearthly soul seems to have taken a liking to both Matthew and Pipiera and constantly tries to get their attention. Pipiera needs to protect Matthew, protect herself, and make sure to get the job done. The task might be close to impossible but Pipiera has faith she can do it.

The amalgamation of different genres shouldn’t work together, but somehow, author Johanna Frank makes it work. The story is intense, and the author sets the tone right from the beginning. The preface is a great introduction to Pipiera. It gives a very intimate look at our protagonist and allows readers to understand her mind. She is almost obsessed with Megs and how much she looks up to him. The story is incredibly rich and dynamic. The twists and turns are believable, the plot is very interesting, and the character development is fantastic. Matthew’s growth is incredible, and Pipiera’s efforts to protect Matthew are good as well. The Gatekeeper’s Descendants is a remarkable story that I would highly recommend.

Jennifer Ibiam

Megalos died at his father’s hands and found himself a gatekeeper of the Kingdom. Dead with no offspring, the King assigned him some adopted descendants. Matthew Mackenzie was one of his adopted kin, groomed in advance as the gatekeeper to succeed Megalos. Unfortunately, Matthew, still on his humankind journey at Havensight, kept missing his way and getting it wrong. After losing a bet with Emerson, he got the beating of his life, which kicked off his encounters with the supernatural. A great battle loomed between the Kingdom citizens and the rebels, with Matthew caught in between. With the attacks on his life and family, will Matthew find his way? Or does he prefer the wide and easy road? Find out in The Gatekeeper’s Descendants by Johanna Frank.

The Gatekeeper’s Descendants by Johanna Frank is a sobering book that will appeal to the reflective mind. It is also appropriate for people of faith, especially those who believe in the afterlife. Living beings have a purpose, and the supernatural controls the physical. Every person deposited in our lives is there for a reason and season, and our deeds are like building tunnels toward the afterlife. Johanna told an enthralling story that showed the mind as a constant battlefield of our daily choices. The plot was brilliant with a unique storyline. I cried when baby Greta showed up and got angry about Pipiera’s impatience. Kasartha was a character that I loved to hate, and I didn’t know what to do with Matthew. There’s so much to say about this beautiful book. I want more, Johanna.