T. K. Elliott (Tiffany)'s Reviews > The Gate of Sorrows

The Gate of Sorrows by Miyuki Miyabe
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy-urban, japan, young-adult, reviewed

This is definitely Young Adult fiction - but it has a distinct lack of romance (let alone a love triangle featuring the protagonist) and a refreshingly low angst quotient. And at 600 pages or so, it's about twice as long as your typical YA novel. I found myself wondering whether this book was unusual, or whether that's just the way Japanese YA writers write. If the latter, Japanese Young Adults are very fortunate.

The Translation
I found the translation pretty good: there was only one instance in which an obviously wrong word was used (people don't 'audit' a lecture unless they're doing some kind of quality control, despite the fact that the root of 'audit' means 'to listen'). Furthermore, the translation seemed to me to have kept the 'Japaneseness' of the setting and the people.

The Characters
Once again, this story is different from the general run because our hero (Kotaro) is just an ordinary 19-year-old student who gets involved in paranormal goings on. He's not some kind of superhuman 'chosen', and he doesn't have amazing powers. Nor is he the only one who can save the world. This means that the scope of the story is somewhat smaller, but it's more realistic. Kotaro is dealing with issues that ordinary people deal with - although most people don't get the paranormal angle.

Another interesting difference between this and many other YA books is that in this one, the adults aren't all stupid and/or oblivious. People are people: they have their own concerns; they make decisions - good and bad; they live with the consequences. Kotaro is the main character, but he moves in a web of associations - friends, family, colleagues. It all felt refreshingly normal.

The Plot
There were at least two intertwining plot strands - the murders, and the school troubles of Kotaro's younger sister's friend. Both of these were very much in service to the book's overall message: the power of words and communication, for good or for evil. There were definitely times that the author seemed to be speaking directly to the reader - which is one reason this is definitely pegged as Young Adult, in addition to the age and situation of the protagonist. That said, the author did put together an interesting plot - and I found that the pace definitely picked up in the last 25% of the book, as things start to come together. This is a long, slow read - but rewarding.

The Conclusion
Definitely a Young Adult book, rather than 'adult' as it's labelled on Goodreads. However, refreshingly free from angst, and rather more thoughtful and less dramatic than most.

Am I glad I read it? Yes, definitely - although YA isn't a genre I enjoy as a rule. Would I read anything by this author again? Yes, if I can find an adult book translated into English.

Definitely several hours well-spent. :-)
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Reading Progress

December 28, 2016 – Shelved
December 28, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 3, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy-urban
January 4, 2017 – Started Reading
January 4, 2017 –
7.0% "I'm enjoying this so far: the pace is slower than I'm used to in UF. And, despite this being marketed as 'new adult', there's a refreshing lack of angst. It reminds me, somewhat, of Changeover (Margaret Mahy)."
January 6, 2017 –
17.0%
January 15, 2017 –
44.0% "Plot is happening. However, it's now starting to feel more 'young adult'."
January 30, 2017 –
54.0%
February 2, 2017 –
58.0%
February 19, 2017 –
66.0%
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: japan
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed
February 19, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia This makes me want to read it! I like japanese young adult a lot
I guess it’s labeled new adult because the protagonist is 19

Oh btw you CAN audit a lecture—it means to attend but not earn credits from it...at least where I went to school?


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) Can you? I've never encountered that either as a student or a teacher.


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