The Gatekeeper's Forbidden Secret

Young Adult - Adventure
236 Pages
Reviewed on 04/17/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

It all began with what sounded like the ramblings of an inventive, 10-year-old girl. Colin knew his little sister always came up with the most weird stories, but even for her this was a little too creative. While the two were admiring the clouds, Addy commented, “That one is the hummingbird that dropped the coin.” Of course, Colin brushed it off as just another of her super imaginative moments. Little did he know that Addy's statement about the hummingbird and their missing family dog would be the beginning of a journey that would shake the very core of life as he knew it. Soon the two siblings find themselves at the center of a mystery involving legends, magic, a witch, a lonesome man in a castle, a fairy, an alternative world, and deep and powerful secrets. So how much trouble can two curious kids stuck in the middle of it all get into? You have no idea!

Every now and then you are fortunate enough to come across a story that speaks to you from the first page and you know right away that you are going to have an exciting ride all the way to the final page. The Gatekeeper's Forbidden Secret by Penelope A. Brown is one of those stories. Brilliant writing, memorable characters in every form and age, an enchanting setting, and just the right mix of magic and sci-fi - the perfect making of an adventure of a lifetime. The Gatekeeper's Forbidden Secret is a thrilling story that will give its readers, both young and old, an amazing and memorable ride across realms. Fans of fiction fantasy with a touch of science fiction are definitely going to love this one.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret by Penelope A. Brown is an exciting fantasy novel about a boy named Colin whose dog, Buddy, goes missing. The last sighting of Buddy was when Colin’s sister, Addy, saw him go through a portal. The only clue as to how to get Buddy back was a gold coin dropped by a hummingbird that Buddy was chasing. But then their dad gave the coin away to Alan Westing, a friend of his. Colin and Addy then begin gardening at Alan’s house, where they meet Peter. Colin and Peter became friends instantly. Colin also became friends with a hummingbird named Roger, the one that Buddy was chasing, and a fairy named Eris. Roger and Eris want to get back to Ib, the land where Buddy traveled. Together, the four friends befriend a trog — half dog, half troll — and now the five friends travel to Ib. But, the journey has only just begun.

The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret by Penelope A. Brown is amazing. The book was well written and descriptive. The first page hooked me and I couldn’t put the book down. I think that the author spent a lot of time developing Ib. The characters were well developed and likable. The story is also very relatable because many people who have lost their pets can relate to how Colin felt. This book is a page-turner and really suspenseful. The occasional pictures were well drawn and helped me to envision the characters. I would definitely recommend The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret to all readers.

Carla Trueheart

The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret begins when Colin and his sister, Addy, attempt to find their lost dog, Buddy. In the process adventure ensues, and the siblings not only find themselves in some trouble with their parents, they also meet some interesting characters — a witch, a fairy, a troll-dog, and even some goblins. All of this leads to the discovery of a different universe and a quest for Colin and his helpers. Author Penelope A. Brown has an unbelievable imagination, presents a beautiful book cover, and offers a unique concept. It was wonderful to read about the castle, Colin, Addy, their friend Peter, and their adventures with the many fantasy characters. There are some twists and turns along the way as well, ending with a tale that is action-packed and well-paced.

The plot in The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret and the overall concept were very strong. I enjoyed the writer’s imagination in reference to the plot, although I did feel the writing fell just a bit short in some areas. I would have loved a touch stronger connection to Colin and Addy, a bit less of the chapters highlighting the adult character Alan, and more imaginative prose in some areas. However, I believe the book will appeal to the intended audience and should please readers of this genre. In addition, I enjoyed the sketched pictures here and there and felt that added a little something extra to the book and the overall visualization of the fantasy characters. Overall, I liked the book and had fun with the characters and the different universe presented. I recommend the book to a younger audience and to those who enjoy fantasy reads.

Kathryn Bennett

The Gatekeeper's Forbidden Secret by Penelope A. Brown introduces you to Colin and his sister, Addy, who find a doorway and enter into a magical world with their friends. A land that is full of things like magic, a demon, and, of course, in a magical paradise you never know what might be around the next corner. Colin, Addy, and their friends must preserve their father's business interests and awaken the Gatekeeper of the castle. They then befriend the nephew of the Gatekeeper and trust him with a fantastic story, which sets all of them out on an adventure. This adventure will cause all of them to question reality, their strengths, and their weaknesses.

This book is like the Chronicles of Narnia only on a different level and that much better. From the very first words, I was entertained and involved in this world. Addy is a fantastic character and a wonderful girl with spunk and a fantastic imagination! I connected with all of the characters as they are very well fleshed out and played, but Addy was my favorite. Her imagination reminded me of my own when I was that age. The world that has been created within the pages of this book is fantastic and so well written that it feels like you can climb into the book and join the adventure right along with them. Books like this are why I still love reading so much. If you want to be entertained and fully enjoy the experience, this is a great book.

Hilary Hawkes

In The Gatekeeper's Forbidden Secret by Penelope A. Brown, Colin and his sister Addy are pulled into an exciting Narnia style adventure when their beloved dog, Buddy, disappears. In their search for him, they discover a secret parallel world and time travel, a neighbor with witchy powers and evil intent, dragons, and new friends who come from a world where animals talk and fairies, goblins and Minotaurs exist. An imbalance between the two worlds has reached a dangerous level and now the Devil King wants to take possession of the special coin/key found by Addy. The children and their new friends must enter this dangerous world, not just to rescue Buddy, but to help defeat evil. But will physicists at CERN uncover this other secret realm, who can they really trust, and will they survive and make it back to their own world?

Penelope A. Brown writes an enjoyable and entertaining adventure story. The plots unfolds at a good pace and with the most excitement and tension in the second half of the book. The story moves back and forth from what is happening with the children in England to some bizarre happenings with characters at CERN in Switzerland. There are a variety of characters and personalities – from the brave children to a talking hummingbird, a fairy, and two others who turn out to be half human and half creature. I was reminded of the characters from the Narnia adventures as The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret has the same humanizing of animals that really makes for a magical and imaginative fantasy tale.

I loved the messages and themes in the book, which include courage and bravery, the defeat of evil, loyalty and friendship. The clever connecting of scientific discovery by physicists working on the Hadron Collider and the portals and time travel of the story’s parallel world is original, and added an exciting mix of reality with fiction. Complete with dangers, twists, surprises and turns in the intricate plot, this is an immensely imaginative adventure that young fans of fantasy will enjoy.