The Gateway is a novella by Glenn G. Thater, and is the first part of a longer series called Harbinger of Doom. It’s a Norse mythology-like fantasy story that sets up the rest of the series.
As a novella, it’s rather short. It’s easy to read in a short amount of time. The story starts out with some background about the lands that these people live in, then the story actually begins. Basically, the lord of Eotrus has gone missing, and his son Claradon, as well as the mighty Gabriel Garn must find out what happened. Enter Lord Angle Theta, a warrior from a far off land who is a mysterious figure that Gabriel knows. Add in some other characters, like the wizard Par Tanch, the gnome Ob, and Theta’s companion Dolan, and we have a group that sounds like standard fantasy fare. They go off to find out what happened, discover the truth, and have a big battle. And that’s about it. It’s short, so I wouldn’t expect much else.
The characters are a mixed bag. Theta is a mysterious person to everyone, and seems indestructible. He wasn’t bad. Claradon seemed to be inexperienced, unsure of himself, and rather human. Gabriel had a kind of indestructible aura around him, but he wasn’t. He was a good warrior. Ob was irritating, seeming to contradict a lot of what was said. Dolan wasn’t very memorable. But then there was Par Tanch. Cowardly and lazy Par Tanch who constantly complained. I couldn’t take him seriously. Extremely whiny. The dialogue between the characters was very mixed. In the beginning, it was too modern. I didn’t feel they should be talking that way. It improved later on, but Par Tanch and Ob spoke very differently than the others. I can understand Ob being different, as he’s a gnome, but Par Tanch just irritated me.
The story takes place in Midgard, which is probably the same Midgard as in Norse and Germanic mythology. It just means the world, and is likely meant to be from a very ancient period in our world’s own history. It felt dark to me, like it was always nighttime while the story was going on, and it was nighttime most of the time. Very little of the world is revealed, so I didn’t get a good feel for it, but it’s an introductory novella, so I shouldn’t expect much. It was okay, and it did create a good atmosphere.
Throughout the story, I felt like it was more of a retelling of an ancient myth. I understand that this is a novella length version of Gateway to Nifleheim. Maybe that is better than this novella. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. Just okay. Overall, I’d give it 2 out of 5 stars.