The Gatekeeper (Nuraliah Norasid)

This is a locally written book. I was fascinated by the cover. And when I read the synopsis, it sounded really cool. So exciting.

Synopsis: Young medusa Ria turns an entire village of innocents to stone with her gaze. She flees with her older sister for the underground city of Nelroote, where Manticura’s quasi-fantastical sapient races—Scereans, Tuyuns, Feleenese, Cayanese—live on the margins. There she takes up her role as gatekeeper, protecting the city from threats, Human or otherwise.

Decades later, Manticura is now a modern urban city-state, and Eedric Shuen is bored with his privileged life. He stumbles upon the entrance to Nelroote and encounters Ria, who has spent nearly half a century in solitude. As their friendship blossoms, external whispers of the medusa sisters threaten to spark a chain of events that will throw Nelroote and its inhabitants into imminent danger.


Personal pet peeve: I dislike Singlish in a novel. And in every dialogue Singlish was forced into it. It was quite uncomfortable.

I found it hard to read. Paragraphs and paragraphs of description (I’m not one for it). And apparently, this book takes place in the future, but the settings felt very past like. The concept of a village in the future… with no technological advancements, no scientific inventions… hm…

I DNF-ed it at page 46 :/ right after Ria turned the whole village to stone. I can’t feel for the characters. They don’t feel anything about themselves, so I don’t feel anything about them.

It’s a winner of the 2016 Epigram books fiction prize. So I might give it a full read another day. But that day is not today.

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