The Gatewatch by Joshua Gillingham

I received an audio copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review. The Gatewatch I can only describe as the modern day version of The Hobbit containing many of the aspects which make that classic novel withstand the test of time. The story contains adventure, laughs, danger, magical items, and a whole sea of trolls to ratchet up the intensity. If you are in the mood for a throw back classical fantasy novel then look no further.

The story follows the journey of Torin Ten-Trees and his two companions Brys and Grimsa as they are making their way up the mountain to join The Gatewatch. The Gatewatch are warriors from across the land dedicated to defending the mountain pass from invaders. Along the way they run into three dwarfs who bestow upon our characters three magical items for helping the dwarfs on their travels. These weapons will come into play later in the story so keep an eye out for them. Eventually Torin, Brys, and Grimsa are captured by trolls and learn that an ancient giant has declared himself King of the trolls. An invasion will be taken place and our three main POV’s will have to escape imprisonment and form a resistance.

I realize this is a brief summary of the events but the detail and plot elements are so interwoven into the story that I would be doing a disservice to the reader’s enjoyment. Much in the same vain as J.R.R. Tolkien, The Gatewatch also contain numerous songs as well as riddles throughout the novel. Each one is beautifully written and well thought out in its delivery. If you are listening to the audio version of this book, the narrator nails the performance like a world class opera singer (minus the high pitch). The riddles were a lot of fun as well and brought me right back to the interactions between Bilbo and Gollum.

There are sections that readers will say this is almost an exact copy of The Hobbit and you are not wrong in thinking that. However, if this is what it takes to get more stories written in the classical tone and structure back in the main stream market, then so be it. Especially with this being the first book in the series and now the author can take the story in multiple different directions.

I had nothing but positive vibes and a huge smile on my face upon completion of The Gatewatch and very much looking forward for what is to come. With the second volume The Everspring released earlier this month, this shaping up to be a classical series I will reach back for time and time again!



  1. I too love the Hobbit, so I’d be afraid that the nearness of this would spoil it. It obviously didn’t for you but is there anything that I could do ahead of time to not be all cranky about “and he copied THAT from the Hobbit”?
    I have found that expectations play a huge role in how much one enjoys a book.


    1. Ok, similarities towards the Hobbit are thus: Dwarfs, Trolls, magical weapons, a battle of riddles. Also, he way the story flowed I found similar to the Hobbit. I didn’t bother me at all and I enjoyed the feeling of “I remember this same feeling while I read the Hobbit”. Different story but similar themes

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok, that’s good to know. I was worried it was the “same story” but skinned over. From what you comment it sounds more like it has thematic similarities than copycat stuff. That makes me feel a lot better about trying it some day 🙂


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