- File Size: 819 KB
- Print Length: 253 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: August 26, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005JEENAU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1,218,791 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #4664 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Fantasy & Magic > Sword & Sorcery
- #8518 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
- #12043 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
|Print List Price:||$9.99|
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Through the Portal Kindle Edition
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|Length: 253 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 10 - 18|
|Grade Level: 7 - 12|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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I only spent 99 cents for this ebook and I still feel cheated. He stole my time and didn't even entertain me. I won't buy the rest of series.
This was a difficult book for me to get through. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a wonderful and great story. This book was a very stick-it-to-the-man, defy-the-system type, which little ol’ scrappy me likes, but it was just too slow at the beginning, and about mid-way through it started slacking off again, and then again toward the end. I would fall asleep many nights with my Kindle in my hands, trying to get through a few more pages. The chapters were extraordinarily long for a piece of fiction. Perhaps that contributed to this feeling of “I’m never going to finish this book!”
Now, with that said: this is a book that could be made into the next big blockbuster. I would actually look forward to seeing this story play out on the big screen.
Oliver is a youth from a world of privilege. His parents have money enough, he has a younger sibling that adores him. His family has got it going on. Oliver is strong-willed and outspoken. Bold.
Jem is a troubled boy from the other side of the tracks. His parents died in a skydiving incident when he was a babe, and he has been raised by his ailing and blind grandmother ever since. He is very poor and knows that it wouldn’t matter if he disappeared: his grandmother wouldn’t even notice. :( Jem is that cowering kid in the corner, the exact opposite of Oliver.
Growing up, kids weeded out and picked on Jem because of his background. Oliver stood up for him, and they became fast friends. Oliver’s family would take Jem with them on trips, and he became an extension of their family.
This fact, the two main characters being foils of one another, immediately made me imagine all kinds of conflict to play out in this book. Fortunately, nothing compared with what I imagined, and their friendship remained intact.
I don’t know what type of time frame this book covers – it’s not very specific – and that’s something I was interested to know. Oliver and Jem fall through a portal at the bottom of Lake Sammamich (near Seattle) and wash ashore in a new world: Callisto. They are found by Atychis, a former Elder of the Argo region. Atychis is certifiable, and readers truly find out just how much so at the end of the book. They also have a run-in with the Red Dragon.
Jem and Oliver also meet Sierra and her older sister Rimaya, who’s dad is a stringent Regime follower. The Regime, under the power of Veroci, has little by little taken over almost all of Callisto and outlawed magic. And that’s where Jem, Oliver, Sierra, and Rimaya get into trouble.
The Terello family has graciously offered their home to Jem and Oliver, who help out on the farm. The boys are trying to come to grips with this new world, and what exactly is going on. They go to the local cafe to have some fizzies, and BAM! They are on “trial” for a major crime they didn’t commit. They see just how far the Regime will go to maintain control, and they flee.
Growing up in Argo, Sierra has been told all her life of legends: the legend of the Red Dragon, the Phoenix, the world of Kelados, the legend of 1000 Curses. The Regime has structured the world so that citizens remain in the region they were born into. There is no crossing the borders, for they have magnificently implemented the Legend of 1000 Curses: you cross the regional border into another region, you are cursed with 1000 curses, one of which is to grow a third leg. Obviously, Oliver and Jem see right through this ploy.
The three continue on throughout the world of Callisto, which is divided into six regions, pursued by Regime guards, all while trying to develop their magical skills. They come upon a scene that is very familiar to Oliver and Jem: a kid, Farouche, getting picked on by a gang of kids. Farouche turns out to be quiet a little inventor, and follows them in secret. The entire journey, people are constantly making unremarkable comments about Jem’s eyes being blue. It was starting to drive me crazy, because readers don’t find out why until the last quarter of the book.
Along the way, they have to make some serious choices about where they belong. They come face-to-face with Veroci himself after being betrayed by a second Elder, and end up in a land uninhabited by Regime outposts. They come to live a comfortable and safe life in the region of Luria, with an Elder who is honest, and hell-bent on defeating the Regime, but secretive. But the Red Dragon also lurks in the skies of Luria.
Jem and Sierra are a unique pair; she will stick by his side no matter what, even through her fears. Through an unfortunate set of events, Jem becomes convinced that Veroci is hoarding an army of Regime guards in the North Island, a place that is almost inhospitable, even though everyone else remains unconvinced.
The two also learn of a portal that goes to Kelados, and of course go looking for it, and are attacked by the Red Dragon…but Jem notices that the dragon has a rider. They are rescued and nursed back to health, but discover that Jem has a very unique quality about him. Scientists and doctors try again and again unsuccessfully to get him to exhibit the talents of his new quality. The determine he cannot bring these talents to fruitation, but Sierra knows they will. She jumps off the roof to test her theory, which proves correct. After this discovery, they set off for North Island…and encounter the Red Dragon and its rider.
I wish I could talk about the ending, but I can’t. My blabbermouth would give it away, but I will say that it is a fantastic ending! I will say this: Jem shares with Sierra that his parents’ bodies were never found, and I have a feeling they will show up in one of the sequential books.
I was impressed with the transformation of Jem, in particular, in this book. He starts off as only what I can imagine as the Coward of the County, and grows and develops beyond his previous limits. He sheds this outer skin, because before it seemed as if he was riding on Oliver’s coat tails. It would have been an interesting story if Oliver had stayed in Callisto, to see how things would have turned out.
When we first meet Jem, he's a quiet, smart, put-upon young fellow who is living his life in the shadow of his wealthy, gregarious, impulsive best friend Oliver. And it's Oliver's hijinks that get them both accidentally sucked through a portal into a parallel world to Earth called Callisto. Once there, the boys quickly learn that Callisto has been slowly falling under the rule of the Veroci Regime and that isn't a good thing.
All people in Callisto are able to use magic (but only if a magic source is available to them-which is part of Veroci's evil plot to control Callisto.) As Jem and Oliver become more at home in Callisto, they decide that they want to join the rumored rebellion and fight against the Veroci Regime.
Jem is joined by a young farm girl, Sierra, who has her own reasons for wanting to get away from where she has grown up. After an unfortunate incident forces their hand, Jem, Oliver, and Sierra set off to find the rebels. This adventure takes them through many of the regions of Callisto, where they learn more about this strange world they've fallen into, and Jem becomes more and more wedded to his new life.
Through the Portal is the first book in a planned trilogy by the author, and introduces us to the main characters who will likely be integral parts of the future books while laying the groundwork for what looks to be an epic battle between the Callisto rebels and the Veroci Regime.
I know from my own writing that telling a story here on Earth can be difficult enough- creating a whole new world with its topography, inhabitants, native creatures, etc. can be mind-boggling. I felt like the author handled this well and did a nice job of giving us the important details without going overboard.
The action throughout the story is well-paced. Jem visits almost every region in Callisto, and each one has its own unique culture. He and his friends have to do some fast thinking to avoid getting caught by the Regime, but at the same time they are just kids trying to figure out their next move. So they need help along the way, and sometimes their forward progress required some time standing still to learn some valuable lessons.
We also have a fledging romantic subplot brewing between Jem and Sierra. It's evident throughout the book that they are drawn to each other, but they have to deal with their own individual growing pains. The author handles this delicately and really offers up the promise of more to come without being overt about it.
My main critique of the story is that the plot wasn't what I expected it to be. From the description, you might hazard a guess that this was a going to be a "coming-of-age, best friends" kind of story where we see the growth of not only Jem and Oliver individually, but of the bond of their friendship. That wasn't the case at all. Oliver is relegated fairly early on to a supporting character, and Jem takes the forefront for the remainder of the book. That doesn't deter from this book having a solid plot, but it did distract me for a period of time.
The second thing that threw me off a bit was that although I think the author intended in some places for us to see Jem as becoming more assertive in his thoughts/actions, he came across instead as immature and whiny. (Of course, he is a teenager so that lends credibility to the character.)
There are some minor spelling/grammatical issues throughout but nothing that detracts from the storyline.
The book ends on a high note. Jem and Sierra have just fought a major battle and won, and finally found their way to the Callisto rebels. But it's clear that this is just the beginning and the author has a lot more in store for us, so I will read the next installment.
Reviewer note: I was provided a complimentary copy of this ebook for review.
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