Three magic doors you here behold. Time to choose: Wood? Silver? Gold?

Publisher: Puffin Book

Author: Emily Rodda

Title: The Golden Door

Cover art: Marc McBride

Cover design: Elizabeth B. Parisi

Rye is very simple and uncomplicated. His desires are simple: he wants his family safe and whole. His brothers absolutely ruin that for him.

They–him and his two brothers and their mother–live in the walled city of Weld created by a wizard ages ago. The land wasn’t safe, and he created it to keep out the barbarians. Since his death, there is no magic in Weld, but there is no trouble. There is the Warden, and his good and many laws and order. Oh, except for the skimmers, those giant flying bats that come out at night to eat people. But otherwise, everything is great.

For whatever reason, Dirk the eldest is Peter the Magnificent, blond and golden perfection—never mind that in the book his hair is brown. Not in my head. Sholto is then Edmund, with the way he talks and all cool practicality and being described as dark. Rye is the little brother following them around, watching every step and with that worshipful admiration younger siblings have for their elders. He adores them, one more than the other, and expects that they will always be there, capable, strong, and clever.

(Dude. Same.)

Until one day, they aren’t. The skimmers have gotten worse in recent years, and the Warden of Weld has asked for volunteers to leave Weld, leave the walled city meant to protect them and destroy the source of the skimmers. After his brothers leave and never return, after disaster strikes their home, Rye volunteers. Not to find the skimmers—they are terrible creatures and someone has to stop them, but he doesn’t believe he is the one to do it. No, he is going to find Dirk who is strong enough to beat anything, and Sholto who is clever enough to find a way to do it. He doesn’t go out to be a hero. He goes to save his family. And it’s stupid enough to be very brave. I find it ironic that he doesn’t believe he can stop the skimmers but he can find his brothers.

The Golden Door is a fantasy adventure tale for children I’d say from eight years old and up. It is fairly short, and I read it in one sitting. It serves as a sort of introduction to fantasy stories and a look at a utopian society.

Rye is the youngest of his brothers, but in the first of the trilogy, he already starts to come into his own. Throughout, he feels that Dirk is the bravest and Sholto the most clever and never really considers himself to be much of anything. I can relate. As the youngest, you tend to feel like you’re second or third best, that the elder siblings are better, smarter, and stronger than you. However, I loved each and every one of the boys, especially Sholto who is the poster child for the middle child. I would like to hug him, but he’d probably just say something insulting and witty and sulk off in a corner to read. (He’s a geek. I adore him.)

It’s a of a coming-of-age tale where Rye grows up and realizes that he can be brave and clever too. And I loved that. He’s brave and adventurous, and the story has so many wonderful characters. I especially loved Hass, a very important minor character. Rodda doesn’t neglect her secondary characters.

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars definitely recommend it to younger audiences for sure.

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