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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown

Brown's debut fantasy novel offers a swirl of magical books, a makeshift team of world-savers, plenty of danger, various villains, and repeated time travel.

In Gareth Brown's debut fantasy novel The Book of Doors, main protagonist Cassie Andrews works in a New York City bookshop and lives a quiet life, content with her lively best-friend roommate Izzy and the book-loving characters she meets at work.

One of these customers is a kind older man she's become dear friends with. When he dies suddenly in the shop, Cassie is bereft. But along with his copy of The Count of Monte Cristo is a smaller, unusual book. Inside, incredibly, is an inscription...made out to her. And inside the enigmatic pages are the words Any door is every door.

Strange things begin happening to Cassie and Izzy when Cassie takes possession of the book, and soon a rumpled Scottish man, Drummond Fox, appears, with knowledge of The Book of Doors and other Special Books. But Fox isn't the only one who's set out to find Cassie and her book. He just may be the only one seemingly without nefarious intentions.

I was captivated by Brown's world of magic, alternate realities, the various books' powers, and by the characters intersecting with each other through different places and times.

Authors of time-travel books must decide whether characters may change past events or simply witness what will come to pass, and in Brown's case, he chooses the latter. Yet I was intrigued by the ways in which events unfold, and by the unexpected insertion of characters at points in the story in order for it to occur the way it does.

Cassie's years-long hiatus sloooooowed the pace of the book too much for my taste. I was surprised that she wasn't seeming to make more practical or interesting use of that time--if only to keep me engaged as a reader. During that time she did set into motion an important yet brief plan for the future, and she and her companion spend those years bonding in a sweet way, but I felt like those were years that could have been filled with Cassie's gaining more valuable knowledge.

One villain seems to be dispensed with during the course of the story and a more dastardly one emerges and prolongs the conflict with Cassie and the good guys. I liked this ramping-up of the evil side of things and how it made Cassie's quest even more essential.

The end portions were really interesting and offered some poignancy as well as some origin-story satisfaction, but I found myself wanting to know more about Cassie's pivotal role as related to the Special Books.

I listened to The Book of Doors as an audiobook.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

If you like the sound of this book, you may want to check out other Bossy reviews of time-travel books or fantasy books.


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