Sunday, April 2, 2023

*Review* A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen


Genre: YA Thriller
Published: March 28, 2023
Pages: 367

One of Us is Lying meets A Deadly Education in this fantasy thriller that follows six teenage wizards as they fight to make it home alive after a malfunctioning spell leaves them stranded in the wilderness.

Ren Monroe has spent four years proving she’s one of the best wizards in her generation. But top marks at Balmerick University will mean nothing if she fails to get recruited into one of the major houses. Enter Theo Brood. If being rich were a sin, he’d already be halfway to hell. After a failed and disastrous party trick, fate has the two of them crossing paths at the public waxway portal the day before holidays—Theo’s punishment is to travel home with the scholarship kids. Which doesn’t sit well with any of them.

A fight breaks out. In the chaos, the portal spell malfunctions. All six students are snatched from the safety of the school’s campus and set down in the middle of nowhere. And one of them is dead on arrival.

If anyone can get them through the punishing wilderness with limited magical reserves it’s Ren. She’s been in survival mode her entire life. But no magic could prepare her for the tangled secrets the rest of the group is harboring, or for what’s following them through the dark woods…

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

Have you ever wanted to go back in time to not read a book as if that would prevent the events in the book from happening? As if not reading it would change the events of the story somehow? Honestly, I don't ever remember feeling that way, before this book. When I finished A Door in the Dark, I immediately wanted to go back in time and not read it, so that things could happen differently (because that's the way fiction works). And it's not that I regret reading the book, because I loved the book; I just want better for the characters. 

This was a pretty standard class warfare dystopian story. The elites have situated themselves over the peasants, quite literally with their part of the city hovering above where the peasants live. There are other facets of society where the elites have very clear advantages and protections that the peasants can't even hope to achieve for themselves. Ren is determined to better her situation though, and studies so hard (almost Hermione like) to achieve her goals. 

It was very obvious that this is the first book of a series before we even reached the end of this story. There just was way too much more that clearly needs to happen before the entire story will be finished. But even with the obvious lead in to another book, this story felt completely finished. Although it's worth noting that I don't have personal objections to cliff-hangers either. 

Overall I give A Door in the Dark 4.53 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Scott Reintgen is a former public school teacher and still spends summers teaching middle schoolers dark fiction and fantasy at Duke Young Writers’ Camp. The birth of his children has convinced him that magic is actually real. He lives in North Carolina, surviving mostly on cookie dough and the love of his wife, Katie. Scott is the author of the Nyxia Triad and Ashlords series and A Door in the Dark for young adults, as well as the Talespinners series and the Celia Cleary series for middle graders. You can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @Scott_Thought.

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