Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: Nightright - Anthony Horowitz

Nightrise by Anthony Horowitz
Series: The Gatekeepers #3
Genre: Middle Grade, horror, thriller
Published on May 1, 2007
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 368
Read From: 5.4.13 - 5.8.13

Scott and Jamie have always been different. Not only are they twins - they can read each other's minds. Their whole lives, people have taken advantage of this. Now it's going to get much, much worse. 
An evil group called Nightrise has taken an interest in Scott and Jamie. . . .and want to imprison them and neutralize their abilities. When Nightrise attacks, one of the twins is taken and the other breaks free. The stakes are even higher than Scott or Jamie could imagine. . . .because both of them are Gatekeepers, and the fate of the world hinges on their survival.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? No; there's a very distinct character impersonator who won't stop staring, and the rest of the cover just doesn't do anything for me at all.

Characters: Scott wasn't in the story enough for me to really form much of an opinion of him either way. And I didn't care about Jamie enough to sympathize with his feelings over losing his twin brother. I didn't dislike Jamie, but I definitely didn't like him as much as Matt. Jamie was too dependent on other people making the decisions, and while he eventually learned how to do some decision-making himself, I just never really connected to him. He seems brave enough and he isn't willing to leave Scott to his fate, not even when all seems lost, but I didn't care for him as much. I liked Alicia - Jamie's "helpful adult." She took real initiative and helped Jamie when she didn't have to. I hope that by some miracle she makes an appearance in a later book. For once, this installment didn't have a "main" villain, but several, and it was a nice change. No grotesquely altered baddies that threaten to do horrible things, but never actually get around to it.

The Romance: There isn't any!

Plot: Several days before the events of Evil Star, in Reno, Nevada, an evil group called Nightrise is hunting down twin brothers Scott and Jamie Tyler. Scott and Jamie don't know it, but they are two of the five Gatekeepers who are destined to keep the Old Ones locked safely away behind the Gates. As far as the boys are concerned, their life consists of traveling with a rundown sideshow, performing telepathy tricks for the amusement of audiences, and receiving beatings from their boss and guardian when the performances go poorly. But Scott and Jamie's telepathic link isn't a trick; they can really read people's minds - and each other's - and they can even force people to do something against their will. After one such performance, Nightrise shows up and tries to kidnap Jamie and Scott. But Jamie gets away just in time, while Scott isn't so lucky. Now it's up to Jamie to rescue his brother - the brother who has always made the decisions and protected him - before Nightrise destroys him. With the help of Alicia, whose eleven-year-old son was also taken by Nightrise, Jamie just might succeed. Nightrise initially felt more like an Alex Rider story than part of The Gatekeepers series, but that quickly disappeared as more and more bizarre things started happening. Nightrise isn't just an evil group trying to bring back the Old Ones and destroy the Five; they're a powerful corporation with their fingers in a lot of pies, and whose influence reaches to practically every country. This, of course, opens the door for the Author to disparage corporations in general, and paint them into something that they're not, which drove me up a wall. Can we please have a story without the agenda? Setting this aside, it was rather interesting to read about Jamie infiltrating the Silent Creek juvenile detention center, and then his bizarre trip back in time 10,000 years ago, when the Old Ones first came into existence. This portion was at first very confusing. Is it in the future? Is it in the past? Where is it? What's happening? How is this relevant? Why did it happen at all? It took patience, waiting for these questions to be answered - and they are, I promise. But first we have to wade through still more weirdness, an epic battle, and only then do we get explanations. It's still weird, and it felt like I had just jumped into a totally different story, but it makes about as much sense as something like that can. Despite all of this, I somehow just didn't find this particular plot as interesting as the ones in previous books. Maybe because it took place in America (which led to a totally ridiculous speech about how "the white man" was responsible for the Indians turning to alcohol, and how the only employment American Indians can get is in casinos and prisons. And who owns the casinos, I might ask? And really - every civilization on this planet has invented booze of some sort; "the white man" did not introduce this strange substance). Maybe because there were new protagonists. But it just wasn't as intriguing.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: The Author has a very movie-ish style, and it does nothing for me. But it suits the story itself, so it works well enough. I could have done without the interjection of personal opinions, though. Between the demonetization of corporations and the insidious anti-gun messages, I felt like I was being hit over the head with the same old agenda that a lot of Authors seem to throw into their stories nowadays just to make a point.

Content: 1 g--damn. The demonic imagery is even less in Nightrise than the other two books, but there is still some.

Conclusion: I'll be honest - I was actually happy that there was no one-on-one showdown between protagonist and antagonist. There was a moment of real peril, as I wasn't certain of the Author really would do away with such an important character(s), and the whole situation made for a different ending to Raven's Gate and Evil Star. The next two books ought to be really exciting, as the Old Ones are now rampant and Jamie didn't exactly win against Nightrise; not entirely. As a whole, Nightrise wasn't my favorite out of the series; I didn't attach to Jamie as much as I did Matt, the plot wasn't as interesting for me personally, and I had a difficult time ignoring the rather frequent personal opinion interjections. But Nightrise had some interesting moments and will work well as a bridge between Book Two and Book Four.

Recommended Audience: Guy-read, fourteen-and-up, fans of Anthony Horowitz and thriller/horror stories.

Others in The Gatekeepers Series:
1)Raven's Gate
2)Evil Star

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