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Gate to Htrae
"hard science-fiction appeal"

Gough’s entertaining debut middle-grade fantasy pits light versus dark where teens must battle to save Earth and its mirror world, Htrae. Fifteen-year-old Alex and his younger brother, Drew, are drawn to open a locked old gate up the hill from their home—one that’s useless, with no walls. When they find the trick and a magic key appears to them, they find it’s an entrance to Htrae that Alex was destined to find in order to begin the journey he was chosen for to save both worlds from Natas (known as Satan on Earth). Led by the Gatekeeper, Zar and company—Alex, Drew, their parents, and their family’s mirror-world twins, along with two other teens—must learn to use the tools they’ll need for their first mission before the main battle: the rescue of an ally in Natas’s


As the teen heroes learn to use advanced scientific weapons, journey through wormholes, and deal with dark matter, Gough gives readers a

story with a science lesson. However, for middle-grade reader—even some adult readers—the descriptions of how all of these things can be

technical and complicated, slowing the story down. Still, the way the weapons are used, the traveling through wormholes and to different

dimensions, and the idea of a mirror-world to Earth is exciting and will draw in young readers, and the science-minded will find the nuts and bolts of it all fascinating, if they can keep up. Young characters with big responsibilities on their shoulders are well portrayed, continuing to have child-like and funny antics that occasionally

get them into trouble, but also keep them grounded and empowered when it’s time to get serious. This even includes a fun advanced droid that one of the boys creates in his likeness, but definitely has a mind of his own. The concerns from the adults who care for them are also relatable, battling with wanting to protect them and understanding that they’re the only ones—per their deity—who can save both worlds. Although the journey can get heady, the ideas behind the plot and the fun characters give this story hard science-fiction appeal.

Takeaway: Teens and their droid pal must stop mirror-world darkness in

this science-minded adventure.

Great for fans of: Joshua S. Levy’s Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy,

Jennifer L. Holm’s The Lion of Mars.

- Booklife Reviews
"Can't miss hit that you wont be able to put down!"

"The Gate to Htrae" is an enthralling young adult novel that transports readers to a mirror-image world in the far reaches of the universe. Get ready to embark on a fantastical adventure with a young protagonist as he sets off on the journey of a lifetime. Introducing readers to demonic warriors, fallen angels, and more fantastical elements, this is a can't-miss hit that you won't be able to put down."


A mysterious, ancient gate stands tall above Alex's home. It seems to open nowhere and Alex is driven by an irresistible sense of curiosity to open the gate. His junior brother, Drew, would rather be home than waste time around an old, useless gate. When he recites a riddle, something magical happens as music fills the air and a magical key appears. Alex is terrified at what the golden key that floats into his hand does to his body. In spite of his brother's taunts, he braves himself up and opens the gate with the key.  And it opens to the magical world of Htrae, a world torn by war. Natas and his demons are at war with Htrae and Htrae is weakened. Alex might be the key to defeating the enemies, entrusted with a perilous mission. Can he save one of Htrae's finest warriors and help save their world?

"Suspenseful, spell binding narrative"

Fans of YA Fantasy will enjoy Gate to Htrae by Kerry Gough. The fifteen-year-old Alex is a protagonist who instantly catches the attention of readers — relentlessly curious and courageous. Readers will notice how startled he is from the moment he meets the gatekeeper Zar and learns that Ma-I, the supreme deity has chosen him for a difficult mission. The world-building is fascinating and from the start, readers are drawn to the world of children, and the opening scenes with interactions between Alex and Drew are masterfully written. The magical world of Htrae is written with detail and what threatens it shines through the story. There is action and adventure and readers will root for Alex as he pursues his mission in this suspenseful, spellbinding narrative. Gate to Htrae is full of intrigue, mesmerizingly layered characters, and a clever plot that reserves a lot of satisfying moments for readers.

- Cristina Prescott

"Fascinating adventure for fans of epic fantasy"

It starts with a gate — a mysterious gate that leads nowhere. The well-wrought gate to Raz’s house, a gate built many years ago and one that has always attracted the curiosity of everyone — including young Alex. In vain, children have tried to open the gate and even the line from an old song won't do the trick. Ignoring his  brother's repeated ask to go home, Alex refuses to leave without having the gate opened. But a riddle gets into his head and as he recites it, a wonderful symphony fills the air, and a golden key floats through the air and lands on his lap. Terrified but determined Alex opens the gate to be greeted by the gatekeeper, Zar, who informs
him that he is chosen by Ma-I, the supreme deity of Htrae, a world like ours in another dimension. Soon, Alex is on a mission to rescue Divad, a warrior imprisoned by Htrae's infamous enemy, Natas, king of Sedah. Can Alex succeed in
this mission and help Htrae to win the war against Natas and Slegna Nellaf?

The Gate to Htrae by Kerry Gough is a fascinating adventure for fans of epic fantasy and Gough has created characters that are not only complex but utterly enjoyable. The relationship between Alex and his brother, Drew, is wonderfully crafted and from the first page, readers will enjoy the banter and how the two
brothers tease each other. Old Raz is an enigmatic character who offers Alex a unique gift; he seems to be the link between Earth and Htrae. This novel is crafted in gorgeous prose and peppered with sparkling, oftentimes snappy dialogues. While
there are suspenseful moments and twists in plot development, the strength of this fantasy is in the exquisite world-building and the author’s exceptional handling of conflict. Gough balances the emotionally resonant with mystery to pack an outsize punch for readers. This delightful tale features intriguing characters, prose that has a spell of its own, and a world that is abso

- Romuald Dzemo


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