The Portal's Choice (The Gatekeepers of Em'pyrean, Book #1)
by K.D. Pryor
Release Date: May 5th, 2013
2013 Medaket Lane Publishers
Ebook Edition; 496 Pages
Genre: Fiction / YA / Supernatural
Source: Review copy from Bewitching Book Tours
4 / 5 Stars
Tallis Challinor is
faced with a problem that goes way beyond anything she’s ever
encountered. And that’s saying something when you’re a teenage girl in a
new town. Coping with the death of her parents was hard. Surviving life
with her crabby uncle Craig was horrendous. But dealing with pissed-off
spirits who appear in her basement determined to make her life
miserable, well that’s way beyond creepy. It’s even deadly.
Porteur, the head gatekeeper for the spirit world, tells Tallis that she
has been chosen to round up the spirits who escaped through the portal
and send them back through the gate, she is shocked, frightened, and
ultimately determined to see the task through. But chasing down angry
spirits isn’t a task to be taken lightly, and Tallis knows that if she
fails, the consequences to the living beings she loves will be dire.
The Portal's Choice is the first novel in The Gatekeepers of Em'pyrean Series and overall, it was a very interesting read. Being a contemporary ghost story, something that always draws me in as I tend to be a sap for such things, I enjoyed the overall story although the main character, Tallis, did drive me crazy at times. I did waver between a 3.5 and 4 star rating for this one, but the stronger plot line made me lean more towards the 4 star rating.
Tallis is a fifteen-year-old girl who has faced quite a lot in her young life having lost her parents tragically a few years ago, and then losing her aunt to cancer. Faced with another upheaval in her life, she is sent to live with her Aunt Gabbie and Uncle Noreis, and that's where her life takes a turn for the interesting, as she learns her Uncle Noreis comes from a long line of hereditary gatekeepers whose job is to keep the portals closed between realms so the ghosts don't have any reason to cross into our world. Naturally, evens in past caused great upheaval at one of the gates, and Tallis is left to clean up the mess as the involved gate happens to be sitting in her basement.
I thought the plot was quite interesting, and I had no trouble following along, although it did tend to get quite convoluted towards the end. I liked how a lot of it was about Tallis' life, and not just about the portal and the ghosts, and although it did slow down the pace somewhat, I enjoyed this aspect tremendously. Why? Those are the parts where I actually liked Tallis the best as she seemed more normal while she tended to be more obnoxious and spoiled when dealing with the ghosts and those around her who wouldn't believe her stories about the ghosts. There were times when I wished her Aunt Gabbie would send her to her room for being obnoxious and rude. Of course people are going to doubt what she's seen and heard, they are ghosts!!!
The other characters are quite interesting too, and I was rather drawn to Constance for some reason. She just seems like such a nice lady, but she's also someone I wouldn't want to have me see stealing a cookie from the cookie jar either. I just liked how she saw through people, and didn't beat around the bush. It was rather refreshing. And without being overt, she also managed to tone down Tallis, which made me quite happy. I also took rather a shine to Bailey as well, and hope she continues to play a role in future novels. I just liked her spunk and her perceptiveness with regards to other people; she was a lot of fun and I enjoyed her character and the interactions she had with others, including her mom. She kind of reminded me of my daughter.
The Portal's Choice was an entertaining first novel in a new series about ghosts and portals. Even though it started rather slowly, I don't feel like it hampered the reading experience at all as I tend to dislike books that are only about the ghosts and forget that people actually lead lives in between their ghostly encounters. The plot had some nice twists in it, one I was definitely not expecting, and the characters developed rather nicely. Hopefully Tallis will outgrow some of her angst as she grows older as some of her reactions did get on my nerves, but nobody is perfect. I am looking forward to reading The Inn of the Kindred Spirits, the second book in this series, which was released on November 18th, as I am curious as to what will happen to Tallis as she journeys to France to visit her grandparents.