Sharon Shinn is the author of one of my favorite series of books, Samaria, and she has also been coming out with more YA-oriented novels. Gateway is her most recent one, and is a little different from any of her other books.
Daiyu was adopted from China when she was a baby, and currently resides in the American city of St. Louis, Missouri. She lives a good life with her parents, who like to renovate fixer-uppers. At a fair in the city one day, Daiyu meets a strange old woman who gives her a necklace. As soon as Daiyu passes under the famous arch, she is transported to a different world.
Disoriented and convinced she is only dreaming, Daiyu finds out that she has been transported to Shenglang, this alternate universe, for a special mission. She is to learn the etiquette and niceties of this world in order to be a spy and save the people of Shenglang from a powerful man with an evil agenda.
Gateway has all the elements of a YA fantasy; female heroine, journey to a new world, secret missions, danger and adventure, and a little bit of fluffy romance thrown in on the side. I’m a big fan of Sharon Shinn but I wasn’t wow-ed by this one. It fell a little flat for me; I was very interested in the plot, but none of the characters were real, they all seemed a little like cardboard cut outs.