An Alternate Toronto

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September 6, 2018 by elnadesbookchat

Battledoors: The Golden Slate by Brian Wilkinson

Publication Date: September 18, 2018 (Canada only?)

Summary from NetGalley:

BattledoorsLife constantly seems to be wavering between really good and really bad for Owen, a lonely sixteen-year-old still reeling from the unexpected death of his mother and a fresh move to Toronto. After ducking into an old bookstore to escape high school bullies, Owen discovers that he can travel to a parallel, twisted version of the city with a magical tablet called a Battledoor, where he encounters new allies, bizarre creatures, and the ultimate antagonist who will stop at nothing to procure the magical Golden Slate for himself. 

Forced to work together with friends and enemies in order to return home, Owen is faced with a series of choices that will prompt him to find courage he never knew he had, explore the possibility of romance, and try to find a way to let go of his painful past and move on. But is Owen ready to finally take control, and become the protagonist of his own story? 

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ARC provided by Blue Moon Publishers via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

While getting ready to write this review, I discovered that Blue Moon Publishers are Canadian and it looks like that will be the only place this book will be available?  At least it didn’t come up on the US Amazon site.  So my apologies if you get excited about this book and then discover that you can’t get a copy of it.  

This was an interesting take on the ‘stepping through a door and finding yourself in a new world’ type of fantasy.  It was sort of like reading a choose your own adventure book, but you don’t get the choices the characters do.  It made for an interesting read, but I really wanted to know what would have happened if the characters had made the other choices.  

I liked Cole a lot.  He was a very sweet, yet brave and smart when he needed to be.  He mostly just didn’t want to be noticed by anyone.  He just wanted to continue to live his quiet life with his father.  He certainly was not prepared for the adventure that he ends up taking and becoming the protagonist of a story. 

Emily, is also an interesting character.  She is the pretty popular girl, but she isn’t a mean girl.  She goes out of her way to treat everyone kindly, well except for maybe James, and doesn’t care if others don’t approve of who she is friends with.  She is pretty brave and a bad-ass when she needs to be, but also knows when the best option is to run, you run.

Bea was harder to like.  She has very low self esteem, which made her bitter and kind of mean to others.  She also was always afraid that Emily wouldn’t like her anymore if she said what she thought.  She was timid and often got the group into trouble. 

James is the bully that is chasing the trio when they enter the bookstore and he follows them into the alternate Toronto.   He is hard to figure out at time,  he is definitely an angry teen who acts before he thinks.  But he also sees the need to work with the others to get themselves out of trouble.  I think he will have a bigger role in the story than he does in this book. 

Lucas was a perfect sidekick for James.  He was the strong silent type, but he was able to help keep James in check and would often warn the others when they were pushing James too much.  He was the muscle of the group, but I think there was more to him than that.  

The plot was interesting.  I liked the alternate world that was created.  It had lots of interesting creatures and characters.  There were a lot of references to books and how they are written.  It is hard to explain.  There were also characters that were parts of books.  Such as the DJ, Dust Jacket.

“Show some respect!” he said. “This is the Dust Jacket.  The beginning and the end of a good book.  He teases the story to be told, like a reporter does with a good headline.  He’s what pulls the casual readers in the outside world into the stories told between the covers.  He gives the image, the impression, the hype of it all!”

Overall this was an interesting story with some solid characters and a fascinating alternate reality.  The choose your own adventure feel of the story also adds to the adventure. 

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