Published by Austin Macauley
Published on the 28th February 2019
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Austin Macauley, and the author via Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 3.5
Dorothy has lost it all. Her mother perished in a house fire caused by her drunken father and now she has no one to turn to. When Dorothy and her father end up at her Uncle Al’s place in Florida, she begins to hash out a new life for herself. She comes across a glass key that has the ability to send her to worlds in between, fantasy worlds that are hard to believe exist at all. But everything is not as it seems…
Fast forward thirty four years to the present day and Ellen Steward has a vegetative Dorothy’s case file come across her desk, she is being asked to take special consideration into Dorothy to help find out what caused the state she is currently in. Ellen will learn about the key, the worlds and the darkness that resides there, it is up to Ellen to do what she can to save Dorothy, the question is, does she believe the story?
When I read the synopsis for this one, I was super excited. It sounded absolutely amazing! In my head I sort of combined the Wizard of Oz with Alice in Wonderland, it’s just what the title brought to mind. I want to open this review by saying, this story does not mirror either of these classic stories at all, and to be honest, I’m really glad that it doesn’t.
The story opens on Ellen Steward – an administrator at a rehab facility. It’s a normal Monday morning for her, and she’s surprised when her receptionist calls her for a meeting, as meetings do not happen on Mondays. It’s at this point she meets Dorothy. The story then jumps between Dorothy at fourteen years old in 1986 and the present day as the story is being told to Ellen by a Mr. Dutta. The narration isn’t confusing at all as it’s very clear at the beginning of each chapter which time period we are in.
The story is well written and flows nicely, it keeps the reader engaged and wanting to know more about the mysterious glass keys, the key worlds and what happened to Dorothy. I did find that at times the pacing slowed right down and made it feel like the story was dragging a little, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it was because of my anticipation of knowing what happened to Dorothy that caused this hahaha.
The characters and their relationships were so well written. I really felt Dorothy’s pain and anger for losing her mother because of her father’s drunken behaviour. I could also feel the remorse that Peter – Dorothy’s father – was feeling at his mistake. The way the turbulent relationship between these two characters was written was beautiful. As said above, you could feel what they were feeling, and even though I was also angry at Peter, I really wanted their relationship to mend, as they both desperately needed each other. The growth and development of these characters and their relationship was great. I also enjoyed the other characters we were introduced to. I particularly like Isaiah, he was a great one and possibly my favourite hahaha. The relationship between the children I felt really captured the pain and the need for companionship that these children were feeling.
The worlds were well written and described with just enough depth that I had a clear picture of where we were, but not overly so that I became bored. The descriptions were definitely at a happy medium here and made the story enjoyable to read. I find myself wondering if circumstances were different, how many other worlds would the children have found and what would have been waiting there for them.
Many questions were raised in this story, and I had worked out one aspect of the ‘reveal’ to do with the key, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story because, while my assumption was correct, it was a lot deeper and more involved than I had anticipated. So this was absolutely brilliant. I did feel that the story took a sudden turn for the different as we approached the ending, but this isn’t a bad thing as it allowed some of my questions to be answered. Though once I read the last page, I must admit, I’m still left with many questions, so I’m actually wondering if there will be a second book. There was a lot that wasn’t wrapped up and I feel like I really need to know what happened!
I’m not sure what you would class this book as, parts of it are young adult but the present day is being narrated by an adult. So it makes it difficult to classify it in that regard. I would put this as a fantasy story that touches on dark elements with a twist of science fiction thrown in towards the end.
If you want a story that is unique in it’s idea and is left open ended whether for the reader to interpret or the possibility of a second instalment, then give this one a go. It’s incredibly unique and written well.