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Max and the Gatekeeper Paperback – September 4, 2007

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Max and the Gatekeeper + The Hourglass of Souls (Max and the Gatekeeper Book II) + The Descendant and the Demon's Fork (Max and the Gatekeeper Book III)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Moon Publishing Inc. (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979720214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979720215
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,485,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Todd Cochrane was born in Fremont, California. He received his BA from Utah State University, where he majored in Business Information Systems with a minor in German.

A writer since elementary school, he published his first novel, Max and the Gatekeeper, in 2007. The sequels, The Hourglass of Souls and The Descendant and the Demon's Fork, followed

He now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he writes part-time while working as a computer programmer.

His first novel, Max and the Gatekeeper, is on the Accelerated Readers List and was a 2010-2011 Alaska Battle Book.

If you would like to receive notifications about upcoming releases from James Todd Cochrane please sign up for his mailing list.
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Justin G. TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Max and the Gatekeeper is the debut novel from James Todd Cochrane. The first in a planned series for young readers, Max and the Gatekeeper follows the adventures of 12-year old Max Rigdon, who is less than thrilled to be sent to his Grandpa's house for the summer. Immediately upon arrival, weird things start happening, and Max suspects his Grandpa has a secret. Along with his new friend Cindy, Max encounters adventures - and danger - beyond his wildest dreams, and far beyond the world he knows.

The Good: Max and the Gatekeeper is a fast-paced tale with plenty of action and a potent mix of magic, technology, creatures and characters, and just the right amount of violence. The premise Cochrane builds here could lead to numerous storylines in the future, so you definitely get a sense that there are more stories ahead. The spells and gadgets should appeal to young readers, especially those looking for a new adventure now that the Harry Potter series has come to an end.

The Bad: Despite Max and the Gatekeeper's potential appeal to young readers, it's not the kind of novel that adults will enjoy like they would a Harry Potter or His Dark Materials book. There's not much in the way of character development, and the pace of the story, while ideal for kids, makes the story feel rushed and not fully developed. I also had a problem with what seemed like an arbitrary division of characters into either "good" or "evil" categories. Exactly what made certain characters "evil" was never adequately explained.

The Verdict: While not without its flaws, Max and the Gatekeeper is still an entertaining debut novel from a promising writer. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to young readers, but parents and adult fans of this kind of fiction probably won't get as much out of it.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the author for review.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kevis Hendrickson on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
For centuries, Great Britain has been spitting out a parade of popular children's fantasy books as if they were going out of fashion: Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Prydain, His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Derkholm series, Artemis Fowl, the list goes on and on. This is to say nothing of the many British folktales and legends that gave birth to the fantasy genre. Unfortunately, even with gems like The Wizard of Oz or newer creations such as Fablehaven or The Spyderwick Chronicles under our belt, Americans have yet to challenge the Brits for sheer creativity or longevity in children's literature. This is very surprising considering the vast wealth of talented American writers who have made their mark in other genres of fiction. Perhaps, now, that we have entered a new millennium, the pendulum is beginning to swing.

Enter James Todd Cochrane's Max and the Gatekeeper, an unheralded new star among children's fantasy literature that is sure to draw its fair share of readers. Max and the Gatekeeper is the latest among a slew of children's fantasy books featuring a boy-wizard theme. But unlike its predecessor Harry Potter, Max and the Gatekeeper takes us on a thrill ride that explores technological, as well as mystical concepts. It is as much a literary successor to Star Wars as Harry Potter.

12 year old Max Rigdon is sent away by his mother to spend the summer with his grandfather. But no sooner than he arrives, he discovers there is a plot to kill him and his grandfather by a mysterious order of malevolent wizards and a vast assortment of other nefarious foes who are bent on controlling the universe.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Poor Max

Like many male progeny [weird word I don't use often], he's been looking forward to spending the summer playing baseball. Potentially a Little League starting pitcher, his plans are thwarted [note use of cool word] when he is packed on a bus and sent off to his grandfather's house.

Before long, he realizes that there's something about Grandpa, what with a foul specter-like creature accosting him on the bus and all - and then there's the weird black-cloaked unwelcoming committee that hang around the perimeter of the house making eerie noises. Grandpa seems not to notice that something is untoward [CW = cool word from here on in], but when a waking nightmare on his very first night brings an embedded symbol on his hand, Max realizes that his summer is either going to be very interesting, or totally messed up.

Unbeknownst [CW] at first to Max, his Grandpa has a secret he's been hiding, and we soon learn that he controls a machine that can allow travel between parallel universes, strange worlds, and all that stuff. Not only that, but there's magic involved too, and soon Max morphs into a multi-worldly Harry Potter, struggling with his spell-casting while saving the world from the dark side.

With his friend Cindy (or was that Hermione?) and a small support group, Max fights the good fight, knowing that the enemy is never far behind.

Not exactly deep or philosophical, the story contains all the ingredients for a fast, exciting read, and doesn't bother too much about the wheres and wherefores. It would do very well as a graphic novel or movie, or any other acceptable format for short attention spans who run screaming from long descriptive passages.

A good start to a possible series, this book is recommended for young readers from about the age of nine.

Amanda Richards, November 8, 2008
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