Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review: Gatekeepers #5: Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz's Gatekeepers series is an excellent choice for readers who enjoy thrilling, action-packed dystopian stories with all sorts of twist and turns. The series has positive reviews overall from several credible sources and Anthony Horowitz is beloved by his fans. Oblivion is the fifth and final book in the saga.

Summary: Matt. Pedro. Scott. Jamie. Scar. Five Gatekeepers have finally found one another. And only the five of them can fight the evil force that is on the rise, threatening the destruction of the world In the penultimate volume of The Gatekeepers series, a massive storm arose that signalled the beginning of the end. Now the five Gatekeepers must battle the evil power the storm has unleashed — and strive to stop the world from ending.

The book is not short on shock-factors, gun violence, or terrible people (demonic forces or human). I get why the series is thrilling; I can see why the plot is exciting, but honestly, I was just glad when it was over. As I work in the editorial world, I get itchy when a book needs to trim down the excess thinking, complaining, fretting, and bullets whizzing (book five comes in at a whopping 580 pages--there's A LOT of this).

There are also many scenes included not only to shock the readers, but to illustrate just how much the world has gone to hell. My argument: we're five books in so we get it. These shock factors include suicide, graphic violence, gore, human trafficking, torture, murder, and cannibalism. Plus all the time the characters spend dwelling on them. The publisher deems the series is for ages 9-12, but I would push 12+ due to all the reasons listed above, plus a little objectionable language. Moreover, some of the themes and concepts will make more sense to older reasons.

If you're just getting started, I can say that the series goes out with a bang. Actually, with all the gunfire and murder occurring in book five, the end battle is a touch anti-climatic. Although we do get two main character deaths (I do love an author who is brave enough to do this in a series that's lasted this long!).

I'm not a fan of books that need so much room to pack a punch, but if you love the build-up and the action, then you'll be fine. It's worth a read if you're a die-hard dystopian fan, but pass if you love dystopian and are anxiously looking to fill the void Divergent or Hunger Games left in your soul. Horowitz is a bestselling author and deserves all the acclaim he's received, but Oblivion doesn't come close to touching the crown jewels of YA.

3 Stars 

Praise for The Gatekeepers:
"Younger teens who like an exciting adventure mixed with supernatural horror will thrill to Matt's story." —VOYA
"Horowitz truly knows his way around a plot; he keeps the tension at a nail-biting level throughout." —Kirkus
"There's no denying Horowitz's talent for creating monstrous evil and pumping up the tension with bloody details, exciting escapes, and cliff-hanging sequences." —Booklist

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