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Through the Door by Jodi McIsaac

Through the Door (edition 2012)

by Jodi McIsaac

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11210107,804 (3.36)2
Title:Through the Door
Authors:Jodi McIsaac
Info:Inkwood Publishing (2012), Paperback, 306 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Tags:LTMG, Kindle, fantasy, fae

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Through the Door (The Thin Veil) by Jodi McIsaac




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Though the Door mixes urban fantasy with Celtic mythology and creates, well, a nice story. Cedar's daughter, Eden can open doors to different places eg Egypt. Although Finn, Eden's father,left before she was born, Cedar seeks out his family hoping for an explanation for Eden's ability. Then Eden disappears and Cedar must work with Finn's family to get her back. Turns out they are fey and Eden's rare talent makes her a target for the evil king of Tar na n'Og, the fairy kingdom. And if Eden isn't found quickly, he will kill her to take her talent.

As I said, this was a nice story. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing which seems to serve no purpose but to add length to the book. However, the characters are fairly well defined and the premise is interesting.

Take away all he unnecessary travel and the rather tepid romance and this story has potential. This is the first in a series. Hopefully, as the story unwinds further, it will become a much more nuanced and magical tale. ( )
  lostinalibrary | Jul 30, 2013 |
I was so disappointed with this book. Tales about the faery folk are one of my favourite genres, especially urban fantasy as this one attempts to be, but unfortunately it was lacking that magical spark. The author had done her homework on the myths and legends but the plot waffled on far too much for my liking. Secret after secret after secret made it become a nonsensical farce in my eyes. The writing style seemed quite juvenile to me and in need of polishing up. I so wanted to enjoy this tale but it wasn't as magical as I'd hoped. ( )
  kehs | Jul 23, 2013 |
[I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (i.e., free) from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review on both Goodreads and LibraryThing.]


This is a nice fantasy story, but really, just nice. Nice and very simple. The plot is a very basic, single-layered good versus evil-—in this case, young girl heir-to-throne versus evil king. Author Jodi McIsaac seemed to be striving for something unique, cool, and deep by weaving Celtic lore into her story, but the lore is not sophisticated enough to add needed depth and layers. Just because you call your Fairyland “Tir na nOg” and give your characters complicated Celtic names such as “Fionnghuala” doesn’t automatically make your fantasy story complex.

Furthermore, her villain, unfortunately, is a cliche. Tir na nOg’s evil king speaks in this overly formal “villain-speak”: “Well, well,” Lorcan said, inclining his head at Cedar. “I do believe this is a first”; “He sneered at her. ‘I am known for many things. Mercy is not one of them. However, you have done well, very well, to bring the child to me. For that, I shall spare your life, provided you agree to use your considerable talents in my service, of course,’” and behaves in a clichéd way: “Lorcan tossed back his golden head and laughed, rubbing his hands together”; “‘Come!’ Lorcan commanded with a sweeping turn. ‘This is a momentous occasion, and there is still much to be discussed.’”

Despite her misstep in portraying the villain king, though, McIsaac did do a good job with the other characters, most notably in distinguishing each just through their manner of speaking; I could tell Brighid is regal, that Deardra the Merrow is sinister, that Brogan is aloof and refined (just to provide a few examples), by their speech alone. No description of anything else about them was necessary. Writing such distinctive dialogue is no easy feat.

McIsaac created a handful of distinct characters that behave and speak realistically, but I did take issue with the way Cedar and Finn, the two main characters, behave at certain points. Their only daughter has been kidnapped by an incredibly dangerous nemesis, yet they waste time during a search arguing about the state of their romantic relationship. It doesn’t ring true-to-life, no matter the mysterious circumstances surrounding Finn’s sudden disappearance seven years earlier. These two also somehow find the time to lounge in bed and share pillow talk while their daughter still is missing. At these points, I thought the story hit a low, devolving into a soap opera.

Speaking of searching for Eden, that’s almost what this entire story is all about. Through the Door could be renamed Eden’s Search Team. There is lots and lots and lots of traveling here and there and there and here searching, searching, searching, and this person talking to that person and that person wondering why this person is acting all mysterious and not telling that person something and on and on and on. This made for tedious reading at times. It’s like reading about an endless wild goose chase. No one ever stays anywhere for long, and it’s rather weird. I’ve truly never read a book with so much running around.

The story does have a few creative elements that stand out, such as “thousand-league boots,” which allow the wearer to travel one-thousand leagues in a single step, mystical stones called “starstones,” and doors that open from Earth into magical Tir na nOg. McIsaac also created mermaids that can adapt themselves to walk on land at will, an interesting take on mermaids, I thought. Nevertheless, the story really should have more creative elements, given that this is a fantasy. It is quite bare-bones. I suppose McIsaac is waiting to reveal more about Tir na nOg in books two and three in this series, but still, her Tir na nOg world-building here is tissue-paper thin (I got the barest of descriptions), and it really didn’t have to be; some decent world-building in this, book one, at least would have provided some dimension to this one-dimensional, clichéd story.

The back story concerning Maeve and Tir na nOg High King Brogan does provide some desperately needed depth and made me feel sympathetic toward Maeve; prior to this back story, I felt indifferent toward her but also didn’t feel I knew her well. Unfortunately, this depth begins and ends with the Maeve back story. More back stories such as this would have helped elevate the sophistication of Through the Door.

This is one of the most simplistically written adult books I’ve ever read. There is nothing beautiful or poetic about McIsaac’s writing, nothing at all that makes her story and her writing stand out from that of the myriad other fantasy writers of today. She resorts to clichés many times (“...stretched the ocean as far as the eye could see”; “She ran and ran until she thought her heart would explode.”), which I found very surprising. Perhaps that could be forgiven if the story itself were so strong, so spellbinding that it transports you, but this book doesn’t have even that. McIsaac has some interesting story ideas/concepts, and she writes good, distinctive dialogue, but those are tiny things that can’t save a story that has greater flaws. Through the Door seems like an amateur endeavor, a story that’s not even close to fully realized, possibly on every single front.

Final verdict: Skip it. There are far better fantasy stories out there. ( )
  Caroline77 | Jun 7, 2013 |
This book is great, don't be put off by the cover/title! Full review to come :) ( )
  anyaejo | May 30, 2013 |
Well this is really interesting point of view for me as a fan of the Celtic mythology. Surely the author gave the Thuatha De Dannan more then their share of human weakness and dumbness.
Also the fact that the story start with the all the issues that a single mother face just give it more points. It was hard for me to see the treatment that Cedar got from all the other characters, like she was kind of weak minded or something. But the twist at the end was a sweet revange from her side, and it fit a great mythic story. ( and it wasn't the only interesting idea, there are more that have a potential to developed nicely)
But in spite all this it kept me captivated, till the end of it. ( )
  yahalomi65 | Apr 16, 2013 |
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Book description
It’s been seven years since the love of Cedar McLeod’s life left with no forwarding address. All she has left of him are heart-wrenching memories of happier times and a beautiful six-year-old daughter, Eden. Then, one day, Eden opens her bedroom door and unwittingly creates a portal that leads to anywhere she imagines.

But they’re not the only ones who know of Eden’s gift, and soon the child mysteriously vanishes.

Desperate for answers, Cedar digs into the past and finds herself thrust into a magical world of Celtic myths, fantastical creatures, and bloody rivalries. Teaming up with the unlikeliest of allies, Cedar must bridge the gap between two worlds and hold tight to the love in her heart…or lose everything to an ancient evil.

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