Gateway by Sharon Shinn

GatewayReview by: Laurie Doan

When Daiyu leaves behind the city of St. Louis she finds herself in another version of the Gateway to the West. In this version, almost everyone is Chinese like herself. She has been recruited to help stop a dangerous politician who threatens the very fabric of Shenglang. Daiyu must first get close to Chenglei which means she must attend the annual Presentation Ball. Thrown into a crash course of manners and dress and formal dances, Daiyu also finds herself in a crash course of love. As she partners with Kalen to learn the patterns of the traditional tiaowu dance she finds herself in a dizzying spin of emotions. When they are separated so that she can go to live with the woman convinced to take her in as her “niece“, Daiyu finds ways to go behind Xiang’s back and meet Kalen at the aviary where he works. As she draws close to Kalenshe finds her old life may be slipping away. In a playful moment, Kalen laughed as he asked her to stay in Shenglang with him.

“‘There’s a thought! You could stay in Shenglang. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about me being lonely after all.’

Daiyu laughed. ‘I like the idea of staying in Shenglang with you, but I don’t think I could stand to keep living with Xiang,’ she said. Belatedly she added, ‘Besides I couldn’t leave my parents like that! They’d be so worried about me and I’d miss them too much.’

As she said the words, it occurred to her with a sort of buried horror that she hadn’t missed her parents at all in the last couple of days…She had been warned that her mind would not be able to retain memories of Shenglang once she returned to her own time and place. Maybe she could not retain memories of St. Louis if she was in Shenglang too long. The thought was terrifying.”

In Diayu’s story we learn learn about trust and power and the price a young girl must pay when she steps through a Gateway Arch into a world of intrigue and intense romance.

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About the reviewer: Laurie Doan is the young adult librarian at Tredyffrin Public Library.  She and the teens of Teen Advisory Board plan activities for our almost adult patrons.