Author: Jaqueline Dooley
Length: 213 Pages
Publication: April 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Eleven year old Grace has been diagnosed with liver cancer. While in the hospital undergoing treatments and tests, Grace meets Sorel. Sorel is from a magical world known as Arkomo and a magic tie between Sorel and Grace has allowed her to open doorways between Arkomo and modern New York.
The two girls become fast friends, but nothing comes easily and they must work to remain close. The Departure, an ancient ceremony in Arkomo, is drawing closer and Sorel fears that it is much darker ceremony than she's been taught to believe.
This novel is very engaging from the beginning. I found myself drawn right into the world and the characters. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, with Grace and Sorel being the most dominant. We also get to see some scenes from Grace's parents and the Kings of Arkomo.
This is a fantasy novel, but not high fantasy. I'm sure there is a specific fantasy classification, but I am unsure of what that is. Here we have a completely fantasy based world-Arkomo- and New York. Arkomo is full of magic while New York is modern and lacking in magic. The crossing between these two worlds and the explanations about the doorways that allow such crossing is all very interesting and well explained.
Sorel is a princess-the only one-and must stay hidden among her brothers and the other princes. Of the princes, only her twin brother Sabian knows about her. It is this seclusion that prompts Sorel to share her loneliness with the Oak tree outside of her tower. The Oak then opens a doorway that allows Sorel to visit a strange place she calls Hospital-a hospital in New York-where she meets Grace.
One of the best things about this novel is the prophecy that tells of the Departure. The entire novel is very well written, but this prophecy is beautiful. Prophecies are such an essential part to so many fantasy stories that having a well written, intriguing prophecy is very important. It was also nice that this one is not all revealed in the beginning, but rather comes forth once the reader has gotten involved in the world and knows the characters.
I found the magic, while not overly huge in the story, to be very well written and utilized. Obviously the most magical thing is the crossing between worlds, but there are many smaller elements that make things interesting along the way.
Dooley was able to write the reactions of the characters as they crossed into different worlds and encountered new people very well.
The two main settings are Arkomo and Hospital. There are some discussions of medical topics as Grace undergoes treatment for her tumor. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys light fantasy reads. Be aware in advance, however, that much of the events take place in a hospital and surround a child with cancer.
This was a great story and I am looking forward to reading the sequel Doorways Home.
Enjoy the reading, friends!