Book Cover
Title Doorways to Arkomo
Author Jacqueline Dooley
Illustrations Judy Krongard
Publisher 2014
First Printing 2014
Book Cover
Title Doorways Home
Author Jacqueline Dooley
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Category Young Adult
Warnings None
Main Characters Grace, Sorel, Sabian
Main Elements Wizards

Click to read the summaryDoorways to Arkomo

This wasn't a book for me. I tend to avoid those books because it can be quite depressing reading about someone suffering from cancer, regardless their age. And then to read about all the horrible procedures they put you through to try to cure you *shudders*. However, if you know a child in such a situation, this might be a book for them.

It really highlights Grace's hatred and frustration of her condition, but also the strength she has to keep fighting. And the ability to find something to fight for, in this case a girl name Sorel who comes from a magical land. Unlike other similar books, Sorel is arguably the main character, which means this is a fantasy book, where Sorel can open doorways into our world, one being in Grace's hospital room, and not book about a sick girl inventing a fantasy land. I thought that was interesting and kept me reading.

There are a lot of positives about this book. It is well written and interesting. I also grew attached to the main characters of Grace, Sorel and Sabian (which made the sicknesses all the harder for me to bear), especially the relationship between Sorel and fact with all her brothers.

Another big positive was the world building. Arkomo is unique, with a complex magical and political system. The one fault I found in it was the prophecy which speaks of the two Daughters that must save Arkomo...but I never got the sense that Arkomo was suffering under the four Kings, because we never see anything outside the Prince's Keep. Perhaps they were good kings to their people, however terrrible they were to their own sons. We don't know.

Other than the medical aspect (which of course is core to the story and cannot be changed) was that there was too much head hopping, meaning too many points of view. Now George R.R. Martin can do this in his Song of Ice and Fire series, each chapter from the POV of a different character. But his books are 1000+ pages long, giving the reader time to adjust to each switch. This book is only 200 pages long, and the reader was looking through the eyes of about 10 characters. This meant the reader switched every few pages, sometimes making it hard to remember whose head you were in (I confused Grace and Sorel, especially when they were together and couldn't use the location to keep them apart)

Finally, as it is relatively short and limited in scope (nothing wrong with that, I loved Earthsea where some of the novels had only one character focused on one single goal) but because this is a series, the book feels unfinished. It couldn't really wrap anything up because there was only one thread to wrap. So while not a cliffhanger, you are left going "Gah! What will happen to Grace??" But I guess on the other hand that's a sign of a positive, the reader cares enough to want to know what happens next so badly they get frustrated when they don't find out!

So there will be a lot of people that will very much enjoy this book, perhaps even find some hope if they are in a similar situation to Grace.

Posted: June 2014


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