The giveaway is closed. The two winners of the signed, print copy of Gateways are Melanie and Anonymous (rkmarsh).
Enjoy the review!
Enjoy the review!
When Victoria paints landscapes, she becomes fully immersed in her artwork. She can feel the wind coursing through her hair, smell the various scents of nature. Her immersion goes deeper than her love for art or her need to escape the stresses that come along with having an anxious mother and an absentee father.
You see, Victoria is a Painter with a Capital 'P'. Her landscapes feel so very real because they are real, in a sense. They're gateways. While her paintings aren't passageways to real places, they are windows leading to landscapes stuck in a perpetual loop.
The signs that she is very different can't be ignored: Her right eye changed from brown to hazel; nature, namely a tree and the fountain in front of her school, reacts to her presence; a man wearing odd clothing silently watched Victoria and her friends on their way to school.
However, it's not until she falls into one of her own paintings and struggles to get out that the reality of being a Painter hits her. Without the help of Miss Witherspoon, another Painter, there's no telling how long she would have been trapped in the painting. Her mom's reaction to all the oddities? It's time to pack up and leave as quickly as possible.
Not only are there other Painters, but there are also people worth escaping from.
Unfortunately, the escape doesn't happen smoothly. Victoria goes next door just to say a quick goodbye to her best friends, Bobby and Tucker, but instead the three of them end up frantically running without Victoria's mother and the twins' dad. They only have one goal - hide and stay alive.
They go to the school, seeking Miss Witherspoon's help since she can hide them in a painting. Instead they get attacked and Tucker gets kidnapped by Lucian - a mage imprisoned in a painting for attacking a council member and killing three other mages.
So begins Victoria's adventure. Just when she thought the idea of a Painter was crazy, she learns that element manipulation isn't impossible and mythical creatures, such as sphinx and dragons, aren't so mythical after all. Eventually, they find Tucker, but finding Tucker certainly isn't the end. Victoria and the twins become more and more powerful, and there are many secrets to uncover - secrets about Lucian, their parents, the Council, their power, and The Grandfather's Weapon.
First off, let me start off by saying that I loved this book. I read and review a new book every week. There are some I like and there are some I really like, but there are only a select few I love enough to give five stars and a Reader's Den Choice Award to. Gateways is one of those select few. At first, I wasn't so certain how I felt about this book. The events that happened in the first fifteen pages seemed to happen really fast for me, and I at first couldn't connect with Victoria on an emotional level. However, the story started to pick up for me the moment Tucker traveled into a painting with Victoria and made me smile when he said, “We are in a painting! That’s what wrong!” A couple of pages later, I forgot all about my initial doubts.
Schaub's attention to detail was beautiful and well done. Though I wondered why Anna Witherspoon wasn't more thorough about hiding the painting Lucian was stuck in, most of the plot points in the story were handled very well. Basically, Schaub made sure to cover the bases, which made me really happy since nothing takes me out of a story quicker than thinking, "Um, wait, why didn't the characters just do this or this or that?"
The concepts and the way Schaub handled emotions really sold me. I'm not gonna lie; if a crapload of awesome fantasy concepts are properly integrated in a story, I get weak in the knees. The world becomes real to me. I want to know more.
Vital emotions and reactions that aren't rushed make me weak in the knees too. Hell, I'm grumpy when it comes to most romances in fiction, yet I'm actually excited to learn about how the romance plays out.
There are only two things I find worth pointing out - there are typos here and there, but they are so far and few between that they don't really matter; there are at least one or two relatively small parts where a character's belief in God is the focus of their thoughts or a conversation. The mentions of God aren't pushy, and I have nothing whatsoever against religion, but I'm putting it out there that Victoria is definitely a believer for those of you who may not like that.
Thank goodness there will be a book two (and three)! The ending answered a couple of questions, but it also left quite a lot unanswered as well.
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