Publisher's Note:  

This chilling NYT bestseller from Anthony Horowitz, "a master of edge-of-your-seat writing" (Booklist, starred) is "an exhilarating read" (Kirkus) that "should attract a strong following" (PW)

As punishment for a crime he didn't really commit, Matt was given a choice: go to jail or go live with an old woman named Mrs. Deverill in a remote town called Lesser Malling.

He should have chosen jail.

A strange and sinister plan is coming together made in Lesser Malling, with Matt at the center of it all. People who try to help him disappear . . . or die. It all ties to an evil place named Raven's Gate - a place whose destiny is horrifyingly intertwined with Matt's own.

Raven's Gate (Book One of the Gatekeepers)

by Anthony Horowitz

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Overall Review:  

Matthew Freeman is a 14-year-old boy convicted of a crime he didn't actually commit. Given a choice between prison and serving his sentence via a government program known as the LEAF Project (Liberty and Education through Fostering), Matt chooses LEAF.

This turns out to be a truly colossal mistake. Matt is fostered by Mrs. Deverill, an older woman who lives on a farm called Hive Hall in the village of Lesser Malling, along with a creepy farmhand named Noah. Matt soon discovers not only is there something wrong with Mrs. Deverill, but there is something seriously wrong with the entire village. Everyone, even the children, act like they are all in on some great big secret, and Matt is at the center of it. When he tries to escape Hive Hall, the roads magically lead him right back where he started. When he tries to get help from outsiders, people either end up missing, or dead.

Somehow, it is all connected to an event that occurred six years ago; in that moment, his destiny was recognized by a certain few, and they are determined he will not live to fulfil it. Matt needs to escape Lesser Malling, and fast, before he is used as a tool to release an ancient evil which has been locked out of the world for centuries.

Raven's Gate is the first of five books in Anthony Horowitz's darkly creepy series, The Gatekeepers. A compelling mix of fantasy, mystery, and horror, Matt is an enigmatic main character, quietly unassuming and unexpectedly brave, making him a sympathetic hero and one to root for.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity. 

Violence/Gore A character's past criminal behavior is often spoken of and/or thought about; two teenagers break into a warehouse; a character stabs someone; two characters fight and punch; characters are arrested; a character is described as being in critical condition; a character attempts to mug someone; a character is found knifed to death in an alley; a character relates an ancestor being likely burned to death; a character falls ill; a character is scratched by a cat; a character has violent hallucinations while sick; a character is sometimes disturbed by bad dreams; someone's impending death is spoken of a few times; a character is creeped out by villagers; a character shoots a cat with a shotgun; a teenager finds someone dead in a ransacked house (not overly graphic); a character relates hitting someone with his car; adults threaten a teenager a few times; a character is killed in a motorway accident; a character observes an eerie nighttime ceremony; a character is chased by skeletal dogs; a character blames himself for his parents' deaths; a character suspects a teenager is meant to be a sacrifice; a character is violently killed by magic, with some description of injury (not overly graphic); characters are attacked by prehistoric bones, with some minor injuries; a character is kidnapped; a character licks a sickle; a character falls and impales himself on a sharp implement; an adult strikes a teenager; characters prepare to celebrate a Black Mass; a teenager is tied to a sacrificial slab; characters perform black magic to open a mystical gate and release a great evil; a character is almost killed with a knife; a character's hands are burned; many characters are caught in a nuclear meltdown, with some description of death and violence (not overly graphic); a character falls into a pool of acid, with some disturbing imagery (not overly graphic); there is a nuclear explosion, which almost instantly implodes into the newly opened gate.

Sex/Nudity:  A character is forced to shower under supervision (not sexual); a character is said to have a boyfriend; a character is described as wearing only his underpants (not sexual); a character briefly mentions a past girlfriend.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Theft/Burglary, occultism, human sacrifice, witchcraft, murder, death, juvenile delinquency, child abuse, kidnapping, captivity.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A character is given a tranquilizer; a character is given drugged tea; a character is chloroformed; a character thinks he was given ritualistic snake blood while he was delirious with fever.

Reviewed By Katrina
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