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Series: The Reapers Trilogy (Book 2)
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Scrub Jay Journeys (December 1, 2015)
Page Count: 384 pages
I read the first book of the Reapers Trilogy a few years ago and even had some input into its creation process! Now I'm happy to be able to read the second book and see what happens to Phoenix and Shanghai.
The Plot: As the title states, this is the book that finally lets us know where the souls go after reapers like Phoenix harvest them. Much like the first it involves a lot of mystery, suspense, and conspiracies. Also the end has a ton of unexpected, but well-foreshadowed twists! And I personally liked this book's ending better than the first one.
The Characters: Phoenix grows a lot in this books as he discovers that it's one thing to have principles, but it's another thing to have something to back those principals up. Shanghai struggles with being frustrated with Phoenix, because of the restraints Phoenix puts on himself because of his principals.
Alex is as nasty and cunning as ever. We also get a lot more of the Gatekeeper, which makes for some very fun and intense scenes. There's also tons and tons of ghosts. This is a book about reapers? We see many ghosts of past dead friends from the previous book. Sadness.
The Setting: Most of Reapers took place in Chicago, but in Beyond the Gateway, we venture out from the city to radiation soaked lands and a creepy facility. I'm not saying much for spoilers, but I will say: swirly abyss, electric cats, and illuminaries.
Epic Things: Shanghai and Phoenix go into ghost mode a lot more in this book, which is when they actually temporarily enter the ghost realm and turn into ghosts. It's pretty cool!
The Theme: Phoenix's principles play a big part in this. They're very tested in book, where he struggles if his principles are truly the right thing and if they have basis.
Content Cautions: This is a book about reapers, so as you probably predicted there's a lot of death. The most gruesome is when someone's neck is broken, but other people are electrocuted to death. There's also sexual implications, but it's very light.
What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:
*SPOILER WARNING* I don't like putting spoilers in my reviews, hence the warning, but to make this point I have to mention spoilers.
1.) Tying Up Loose Ends - Obviously Mr. Davis wanted to make sure there was no possible freaking way that Singapore could ever come back to life, so he covered literally all of the bases. First she didn't want to come back, then he gave her lung cancer which meant if she came back then she'd die again.
How this can be applied to writing: When resurrection is a possibility in your storyworld it's important that when you actually want someone to stay dead that you make sure you find a way that makes it impossible to bring them back.
*END OF SPOILERS*
Conclusion: Beyond the Gateway was a great sequel! I look forward to the last book of the trilogy!
Bryan Davis is the author of the following young adult fantasy series: Dragons in our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Echoes from the Edge, and Dragons of Starlight. He also wrote I Know Why the Angels dance, a contemporary novel for adults.
After laboring as a computer geek for 20 years, Bryan followed a dream to become an author. He began by writing a story to motivate his seven children to gain some excitement about writing, and that story grew into a novel. After spending the next eight years learning the craft and enduring more than 200 rejections from publishers and agents, he broke through with his best-selling series Dragons in our Midst. He is now a full-time author and lives with his wife, Susie, and their children in western Tennessee.
You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and his website! I also have an interview with him I had on the blog! Check out my review of the first book of this series Reapers!
I've reviewed several other books by this author: