Title: The Shattered Gate
Author: Eric R. Swanson
Genre: Science Fiction
Four hundred years ago, 144,000 human lives were taken from earth and transported to the planet Ceran to help the continued survival of its alien inhabitants. Generations later, descendants of these kidnapped victims live on Ceran as Hybrids. They live in-between lives, playing an important role in Ceran society and yet somehow ostracized and treated as second class citizens. As tensions between native Cerans and Hybrids mount, a Hybrid mimic named Micah must decide what his true calling is and where he truly belongs, a decision which will lead to a perilous journey that changes his life and the lives of many others forever.
The Shattered Gate is largely character driven. Micah acts as a body double for none other than the King of Ceran himself. This simple yet effective premise holds the promise of a lot of potentially exciting plotlines. As a main character, Micah is likeable and sympathetic. The fact that he experiences some kind of existential crisis almost from the start of the story, and that he is, at times, indecisive and morally ambiguous, made him infinitely more interesting than if he had been portrayed as the perfect hero.
Micah is also surrounded by a strong supporting cast. These characters add nuance to the story and in the case of others, acts as a catalyst to the decision Micah ultimately makes. Notable secondary stories include that of Eamon, an old Hybrid mimic that Micah looks up to, and the hints of romance between Princess Susa and the scientist Garreus. The main villains could have been fleshed out more. Readers would sense that there’s more to them and their motives than meets the eye, but they were not given as much space to grow and breathe, understandable in a book with such a massive scope as this.
The author had to maintain a careful balancing act between moving the narrative along and giving the reader enough background information so that they can immerse themselves in the world he is building. There were some pacing drawbacks. The first half of the book felt like an elaborate set-up for the second half of the book and could have used some additional polish. However, the second half was so thrilling and action-packed, that by the time the book reaches its conclusion, readers will be chomping at the bit to read the next book just to find out what happens next.
The Shattered Gate is a quintessential science fiction novel, with all the elements one might come to expect of the genre: futuristic technology, the use of artificial intelligence, and more. However, it is science fiction with a heart and a moral compass. It is more than just a fantastical romp through outer space. At the heart of this book is the age-old question of the value of a single human life and how we quantify someone’s worth. An inspired reflection of class with an intergalactic twist, this is truly a worthwhile addition to the science fiction genre.
This Editorial Review was written by the Book Review Directory staff. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.