Last Gate of The Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

Last Gate of The Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

There’s nothing like reading a book filled with action and adventure intertwined with a rich and alluring culture making Last Gate of the Emperor a heroic sci-fi story.

Cecelia Beckman Sheaf & Ink

The Story

Synopsis of Last Gate of the Emperor by the Publisher:

Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime — a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do. His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family… and his only friends.

Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and wisecracking sense of humor, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears.

Suddenly, all the stories Yared’s uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the center of them.

Together with Besa and the Ibis — a game rival turned reluctant ally — Yared must search for his uncle… and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.

My Review: Last Gate of the Emperor

Last Gate of The Emperor is a story that will have young readers thoroughly entertained and enthralled. Characters who leap off the page as charming, snarky, and sharp witted. Our MC Yared Heywat, the Ibis (who should have her own stand alone book), and Yared’s bionic lioness Besa are what makes this story indelible. They work together every step of the way, having a few natural hiccups along the way. Linking them all together, a found family, when Yared felt like he had none.

Further, the descriptions flooded the senses. Readers will experience all the sensation of the sights and scents the moment Yared steps outside of his school walls. The scrumptious foods and the vibrant colors of a vividly imagined world, while keeping pace in trying to stay alive as monsters from myth try to take over Yared’s home.

With only a few minor pacing setbacks, Last Gate to the Emperor is a page turner. There were a couple of chapters that had drawn out exposition, explaining back story to the point it felt a bit stagnant. Though, I loved how the authors took a stab at using an interrogation format to introduce the story and lead to the present moment nearing the end. It gave Yared’s character even more appeal in his back-and-forth dialogue with the interrogator.

Last Thoughts

I wondered though if the authors used multiple formats within the text besides the interrogation dialogue. Think Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae Files. Not the entire novel, but included a bit more, where they could have expanded on some of the lengthier backstory. Perhaps using different formats such as a journal entry with drawings, an unread letter, or hacked documents, or chat logs etc. to add to the suspense and overarching story of Yared’s past.

Older elementary and middle grade readers will be excited by this action packed story. With an ending for a potential sequel, young readers will definitely be excited for more.

Happy Reading ̴ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blot – Satisfyingly Inked


Author: Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: May, 2021

Pages: 304

ISBN-10: 1338665855

ISBN-13: 978-1338665857

Audience: 8-12 (Middle Grade)

Jacket Design: Elizabeth B. Parisi

Jacket Illustration: Setor Fiadzigbey

You can find Last Gate of The Emperor at Scholastic Press


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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, Kwame Mbalia

Dragon Pearl
Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Fabulous post. Great literature. Keep it up!!

    1. Cece Beckman

      Thank you so much!

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