Review: The Gatekeeper’s Bride

By Eva Pohler

Available on: Amazon.

Read as part of the Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge.

Overview:

Blurb: This is the story of how Hades and Persephone met, became lovers, and bore godlings into being. An odd little romp through Greek mythos.

Trigger Warnings:

Bastardization of Culture, Bastardization of Mythology, Blood, Bullying, Death, Food, Gore, Murder, Non-Consensual Sex, Off Screen Infidelity, Off Screen Sex, Plot Holes the Size of a Canadian Province, Sexual Assault, Toxic Masculinity, Violence, Violent Imagery, War

Body Count: Oodles, he’s the God of Death

The Specs:

  • Series 
    • Series Name: Gatekeeper Saga
    • Book Number: 0
  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Teen and Young Adult Greek and Roman Myths and Legends, Teen and Young Adult Coming of Age Fantasy
    • Theo Genre: Mythology Rewrite, Greek and Roman Mythology, YA Fantasy
  • Page count: 289 pages/2036 KB
  • POV: Limited 1st
  • Publication information:
    • Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
    • Language:  English
    • ASIN: B01AFT7MF6

Other Fun Stuff:

To Read or Not To Read (Again):

Furniture Support

Rating out of five: 1.0 out of 5

Representation, Morality, and Sexism Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test
    • Purpose: to establish actual female characters that act independently of male characters in a story.
      • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • DuVernay Test:
    • Purpose: to establish characters of color in a story.
      • Are there fully actualized characters of color? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Ellen Willis Test:
    • Purpose: to show balance in characters regardless of gender.
      • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Hays Code Test:
    • Purpose: to ignore outdated and queer-degrading/punishing standards that once were the standard for produced mass media.
    • Part One: outdated moral guidelines
      • Are there any outdated “moral content” rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story?
      • Are there people of color allowed a happy ending?
      • Is there an interracial couple?
      • Is there profanity used at all?
      • Is there one or more homicidal acts and/or murder?
    • Part Two: queer representation
      • Are there queer characters that get a happy ending?
      • Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise?
      • Do the queer characters die tragically, violently, or at all?
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Mako Mori Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that in the story there is at least one female character independent of a male character’s story.
      • Is there a female character? Yes
      • Does she get her own arc? No
      • Does it do anything other than serve to support a man’s story? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Sexy Lamp Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that a female character in the story serves as an active protagonist, not just a device to be used by the male main character.
      • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp? Maybe?
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance? No
    • Pass or Fail: Half-Pass
  • Tauriel Test:
    • Purpose: to help support the existence of competent, independent female characters regardless of a romantic sub-plot.
      • Is there at least one woman in the story?
      • Is this woman competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character?
      • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest? 
    • Pass or Fail: Fail
  • Vito Russo Test:
    • Purpose: to establish more characters that are on the SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance), QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) or LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic, and others not listed here) spectrum.
      • Is there a character on the queer spectrum?
      • Are they a character beyond their orientation?
      • Do they actually affect the plot?
      • Is the character something beyond a punchline?
    • Pass or Fail: Fail

Overall review:

Thoughts: Tepid retelling of the classic myth. Literally so strangely written I squinted at least four times in confusion. There are formatting errors in the book itself, font issues and the like, which make it hard to read.

I would not read this again, though I would give the author another chance.

Was it engaging?

At times

Favorite Character:

Hermes

Review format updated 4 June 2019

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