Saturday, 4 April 2015

Review: The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner

Publication Date: January 1st 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Received a copy for review

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Blurb: AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?

A fast-paced mystery novel by one of the country's finest writers, THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE will delight, surprise and mesmerise all those who read it.

A big thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for a full and honest review! 

I was very excited to read this novel based on it's exciting blurb that told of mystery, murder and time travel all in a London setting! I was also excited to read it as sally Gardner has also written one of my favourite novels Maggot Moon.  Alas, this novel was not for me and I did not enjoy it. 

The characters in this novel were not enjoyable. I didn't really find myself feeling attached to any of them or forming any connection to our protagonist AJ. AJ was a sort of bland, run of the mill character who jumped into decisions and often times I found myself wholly frustrated at the choices he was making. 

Two other characters which feature largely in the novel are AJ's best friends Slim and Leon. These characters are so bland and two dimensional that I could not tell the difference between them while reading this novel. They are so similar and I was not interested in their stories at all while reading this novel. 

The plot of this novel is sort of a blend between a time travel novel and a murder mystery. I really did not enjoy the plot as I didn't feel the time travel was explained in enough detail and the consequences were hardly a deterrent for AJ at all. I also really disliked the murder mystery side of the plot as for me there was no mystery.  This made the following investigation into who this was entirely uninteresting for me. I felt that the perpetrator was blaringly obvious from the first interaction AJ has with them in the novel. I felt AJ missed out on a lot of blaringly obvious clues in this novel. 

One of my biggest frustrations while reading this book was how AJ was able to obtain a job in a high class law firm while being only 16 years old, not knowing anything about the law world, and only having passed English ..... not that realistic is it? I also didn't really understand what it was that he did at this law firm? He didn't really seem to have a specific role. Also why did none of his co-workers notice his absence from work or even care that he was missing for days at a time when he was time travelling? 

Another frustration was the wholly unrealistic fact that AJ and his friends were able to time travel to 1800 London and suddenly be able to fluently speak ye olde English in the colloquial many unrealistic tings in this novel! 

The writing style of the novel was okay. I didn't really enjoy the dialogue in the novel as I felt the sarcasm was hard to get across to the reader. I also disliked the pacing of the novel, I found it so slow and difficult to get into at the beginning but I pushed through so I could finish this book. The only aspect of the novel I enjoyed was the gritty London setting. 

Overall this book was sadly a disappointing read for me. 

But I would urge you to read Gardners previous novel Maggot Moon as it is honestly one of my all time favourites!

Let me know if you've read this novel and what you're opinions on it are down below!

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