ARC Review: The Keeper of Portals

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Title: The Keeper of Portals

Author: V.S. Nelson

Genre & Age Group: Fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, middle grade

Goodreads Synopsis:

‘All I have to do is think, walk through a door and I come out another. There is nowhere I cannot get to, nor any lock that can deny my passage.’
The Keeper of Portals lifted a hand and stroked the ancient black wood of the door.
‘I can do all that and yet, after 400 years, I still cannot open this door.’

Everything in the universe is maintained by its own keeper, from the most insignificant insect to time itself. When 15 year-old Martin moves into a stately home that’s dangerously overhanging a cliff, he meets the Keeper of Portals and learns of the mysterious door at the end of his bedroom.

One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom is open. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house’s maid. Upon discovering two imprisoned keepers, Martin and Isabel gain the ability to control time and travel through portals.

After being attacked by hordes of brainwashed villagers, Martin and Isabel learn that the master of the house has a devious plan, one the keepers are powerless to stop. Martin and Isabel must jump between the present day and the 17th century in order to hide from the twisted master, avoiding past versions of themselves, as powerful keepers thwart them at every turn. But as items from the future begin to bleed into the past and the present day is plagued by malfunctioning portals, Martin and Isabel’s only option is to confront the master – the Keeper of Questions.

The Keeper of Portals is an adventure story that explores the supernatural and is an ideal read for 10—14 year-olds. Inspired by authors such as Philip Pullman and Neil Gaiman, this book will be enjoyed by fans of time-slip fantasies, both children and adults alike.

Source: Thanks so much to author V.S. Nelson for providing me with an e-ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Review request

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V.S. Nelson was the second author to directly request a book review from me, and I got as giddy as I did when I received my first one! In all truth, though, this book was just okay. Not my favourite, but I have for sure read worse books.

For a quick summary, The Keeper of Portals revolves around a 15-year old boy named Martin. In this dystopian world, there are keepers guarding every object. When Martin moves to a mysterious new house, he notices an unusual door in his bedroom that raises eyebrows. Once it opens, he steps into it and discovers himself transported to the 1600s. He then meets a maid named Isabel, and together, they realize that they have to quickly jump between time periods in order to stop the master of the house from following through with his evil plan that could eventually destroy them.

It was mostly the characters in this book that left me a bit unsatisfied. I definitely liked the strong and brave character that Martin was, but honestly, I couldn’t care too much for the others. Isabel was pretty bland, to say the least, and I felt that the romance between the two of them wasn’t the strongest- to the point where it seemed a tiny bit unnecessary. These days, books like this tend to include just a bit too much romance, when really, it’s not the point of the story at all.

The plot, though, was super exciting and enthralling! I am not the biggest fan of action, but I did really like the gripping premise of the story, and thought it was quite unique. I think I might’ve enjoyed it just a bit more if I were a hardcore fan of action and plot-oriented stories, but what I usually savour is a light, sweet character-oriented romance. I guess I’d get used to it if I’d read more books like this!

Overall, this book wasn’t either a hit or a miss for me, as I found myself in the very middle of the scale. But that doesn’t mean that readers who are more into action and time-travelling won’t enjoy it more! V.S. Nelson is truly a great writer, and I just know you’ll adore this book if you are more into gripping adventures. Be sure to mark your calendars for the release date of January 28th, and then rush to your local bookstore to get your hands on a copy and delve in!😉

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*I received a digital ARC of this book from author V.S. Nelson in exchange for an honest review.*

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