Battledoors: The Golden Slate Review
Updated: Jan 21
Life constantly seems to be wavering between really good and really bad for Owen, a lonely sixteen-year-old still reeling from the unexpected death of his mother and a fresh move to Toronto. After ducking into an old bookstore to escape high school bullies, Owen discovers that he can travel to a parallel, twisted version of the city with a magical tablet called a Battledoor, where he encounters new allies, bizarre creatures, and the ultimate antagonist who will stop at nothing to procure the magical Golden Slate for himself. Forced to work together with friends and enemies in order to return home, Owen is faced with a series of choices that will prompt him to find the courage he never knew he had, explore the possibility of romance, and try to find a way to let go of his painful past and move on. But is Owen ready to finally take control, and become the protagonist of his own story?
DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of Battledoors from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Now I'm going to tell you the Good, the Bad, and My Final Thoughts on the book.
-I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of the book. A kid stumbles into the world of fantasy and must figure a way out. It's very reminiscent of my childhood favorites. The Magic Tree House, Pagemaster, and Jumanji. Amazing potential.
-It was fast pace, I feel like I've been reading a lot of books that have drawn out conclusions, it was a nice change to have a story keep rolling with the punches.
-I could not find a single redeeming quality for any of the characters in this book. James is a sociopath, he tried to kill Owen several times in the first act and everyone just causally ignores that. Lucas is dimwitted, when he is given lines, it's four words and they're always "grunted" out, and Owen is so generic. Then there's Emily and Bea, the walking talking vaginas. They exist only to keep this story from being a boy's club. If they weren't there, the story wouldn't change. Emily is the super popular pretty girl and all the boys want her, literally, she's Owen and Lucas' dream girl and James wouldn't mind having her as a girlfriend either. Bea is the ugly fat friend, who looks like a pig, and the book will never let you forget that.
-There's a plot in there somewhere, Owen's the Protagonist, that's his actual title, so of course, there's the antagonist and he shows up once in the first act, but disappears until the last few chapters.
-The dialogue is awkward, has out of placed tags, and there's a scene with giant and he TALKS LIKE THIS.
-Far too many pop culture references. I get it, the book takes place in 2018, you don't need to beat me over the head with quips to it.
Given credit where credit's due. I'm thankful for the pacing, it was an easy read and the idea for the story is excellent, but the execution was sub-par. I couldn't empathize with any of the characters outside of Owen and even then, it was a small connection. The plot was all over the place as well as the side characters. I can see a demographic for this series, but I'm not one of them.
Rating Style: Amazing Great Good Meh Bad Horrible Garbage
Overall Rating: Bad