Alison Levy's Gatekeeper was published by SparkPress in October 2020.
About Alison Levy:
Alison Levy lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects. She lives in Greensboro, NC.
Rachel Wilde comes from a dimension that exists adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil). Now Rachel has been given two unusual assignments: 1) find a person who has been trying to break down dimensional barriers, and 2) track down a missing line of gatekeepers, human placeholders for a daemon that was too badly damaged to repair. Authorities of Rachel’s world believe the missing gatekeepers are descended from a girl who went missing from West Africa hundreds of years ago, likely sold into slavery. With no leads to go on, Rachel seeks help from Bach, a raving homeless man who happens to be an oracle. Bach does put her in the path of both of her targets - but he also lands her in a life-threatening situation. Somehow, Rachel has to stop the criminal, reunite a gatekeeper with her stolen past, and, above all, survive.
REVIEW: GATEKEEPER BY ALISON LEVY
Alison Levy's Gatekeeper is the first novel in the Daemon Collecting Series. It's also the author's debut novel.
Gatekeeper was a pleasant surprise for me, because it's well written and fast-paced urban fantasy fiction with a good and gripping story. This novel instantly pulled me in, because the author has come up with an intriguing plot that kept me fascinated all the way from the very first page to the final page.
This novel tells of Rachel Wilde who comes from another dimension, the Arcana, that is adjacent to ours. In her world, the society is structured around daemon collecting, which means that people locate, catch and repair malfunctioning daemons (Rachel works for the Central Office of Daemonic Monitoring). Rachel's job is to find a person responsible for trying to break down the dimensional barriers and track down a missing line of gatekeepers, which are human placeholders for a daemon that is too badly damaged to repair.
The story begins with Rachel waking up late and being late for her assignment. When she arrives at the office, she gets the jobs that nobody else accepted. Her first two jobs are pretty easy, but the next ones are a bit more complex. When Rachel begins to look for the person who has tried to open interdimensional gateways and tries to track down the gatekeeper, she finds out that the tasks are more difficult than she thought...
There's much to like in this novel, because the author has created a compelling story and writes fluently about the happenings. I was impressed by how effortlessly the author keeps the story going forward at a steady pace. I was also taken by the humorous elements in the story, because they worked well.
Rachel is a fascinating protagonist. She's a sharp and sassy yet charismatic and easily likeable character who clearly has a good heart. Bach, the oracle, is also an interesting character, because he's had a rough life. His gift has complicated his life and has caused him suffering. I enjoyed reading about both of these characters.
I like the author's way of writing about how it feels to cross the boundary to another dimension. Her depictions of crossing into another dimension are surprisingly vivid. I also enjoyed reading about Rachel's work, because catching daemons is not as easy as one might think, because some of them don't want to be caught and repaired.
The daemons serve a purpose in this novel. They keep a natural balance between good and and bad, because some of them tempt people do good things while others cause people to do bad things. I won't reveal any details about the daemons, but I can mention that it was very entertaining to read about the riot daemon and its connection to Rachel.
Because Gatekeeper is the author's debut novel, it has a few tiny flaws (the story would've benefited from a slightly deeper characterisation and worldbuilding). These flaws didn't bother me much, because I greatly enjoyed what I read and liked the main character. I look forward to reading the next novel, because this was a good start to the series and I really want to find out what happens next.
If you love fast-paced urban fantasy, Alison Levy's Gatekeeper should be on your reading list, because it's a well written novel that leaves you wanting more. Reading this novel offers you a relaxing break from reality, because it's pure escapism from start to finish.