Title: The 13th Doorway
Author: D.J. Shaw
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I’ve recently, as those who follow me closely know, started paying much attention to Twitter. I never realized just how resourceful the site was at first. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, I’ve come to realize its full potential. I’ve gotten to know many great up-and-coming authors and to value the Twitter community I’ve thrown myself into.
In my discovery of various new authors I came across D.J. Shaw. I took that chance at reading his book when I saw a tweet from him. He was reaching out to anyone was willing to give his book an honest read and to then review it.
1) Who am I to turn down a chance to read a book for free (though it is fairly priced anyway, which is great)
2) What type of reader would I be if I turned down a chance to find another great book to read.
With Shaw’s first novel The 13th Doorway, that chance I took was a good one.
To put everything out on the table, as stated by Shaw himself, this book was written with 10-16 year olds in mind. Because of that I knew that I could end up being disappointed with the book because I am an adult and possibly have grown out of that stage in my reading life. I was wrong, as I have gladly admitted with other similarly aimed books. When an author can get a 23 year old college graduate to enjoy a book written for kids ten years his junior to like the book, it’s done is job.
The 13th Doorway tells the story of three boarding school students from theGlasgowRoyalAcademy inScotland. Before I forget to mention, the author is fromScotland (there Twitter goes linking the world together again.) Because of this I set myself up for a possible stumbling over dialectic differences between United States English and that of English fromScotland. To my surprise, there were fewer dialectic bridges to gap that I expected. I guess I’ve read enough novels from otherUK writers to help me out a little.
The three students (Mark, Megan, and Andrew) witness something unbelievable in Mr. Scott’s class one day. During a lesson, his hand goes through his interactive board. Yes, right through it. Aside from the teacher, they are the only ones to notice this occurrence and talk with Mr. Scott after class about it. Soon the group discovers that the interactive board is a doorway between their world and another, though they don’t know exactly where it is that they are lead to. All that they do know at this point is that Andrew gets sucked into the board. When they pull him back out he’s soaked and gasping for air. It opens up into an ocean.
I don’t want to tell too much of what happens after this discovery though; I’d rather leave the reader to find this out on their own. I will tell you this much, it’s exciting. The students have the adventure of a lifetime all while solving mathematical puzzles, fighting their worst fears and learning to work as a team.
The world in which Shaw throws Mark, Megan, and Andrew is unique and leaves the reader trying to guess exactly what it is for most of the book. There are speculations about it and the reader ultimately does find out its history and purpose near the end. This only leads to more intriguing questions and a wanting for more books. Don’t Panic: Shaw is writing the sequel as I type this….ok maybe he’s heading to bed soon it is later in the night on the other side of theAtlantic.
What I enjoyed most was the setting of the other world. But I can’t get into that too much. I want anyone reading the book to have the as much ignorance as possible going into this story. It’s the type of book where new things are revealed almost with the turn of each page. What I will talk about is what I liked about the characters. My favorite might have to be Andrew. He’s not very popular with his peers and is the quiet type. It made me happy to see Mark and Megan take a liking to him and brighten his outlook on life. Mark is the polar opposite of Andrew in the he is one of the most popular boys in their year; he’s not shy at all. Along with Mark, Megan is also popular with her friends. Taking a liking to Andrew is unexpected of them, but even with being popular they both have good hearts and the three grow on each other.
Through the adventure, as I’ve said, math problems are introduced. I always enjoy reading a book for this age range that is education, but also entertaining. It’s not the easiest thing to do because catching a child’s attention to read in a world with video games and television is near impossible. The educational elements of the book will help a child learn to love reading and learn various lessons at the same time, even without realizing it. There is also a bit of science to be found in the book. Also from what I’ve heard from the author through talking with him recently, there will be more mathematics in the next book. I can’t wait to attempt to solve the puzzles before the characters do. It brought me as a reader into the story instead of being only an observer looking from the outside.
With all the positives a book can show there is, no matter what, something negative to say. Well, I don’t think I have anything straight out negative to say this time. But I’m not one to find too much wrong with that many books. I’m either extremely unpicky or don’t know the difference between a good book and a bad one (I’m confident that’s not the case.) I did question something about the book though, so that could be somewhat negative, but in a good way. I questioned the language used in the dialogue for the students. If I’m correct they were all around the age of 14. There were a few instances where a character said words like “hell” and “damn.” I only question their use because this book is aimed at a younger audience (10-16 yrs.) As a kid I don’t remember running into these words unless it was a novel for older readers, but times may have changed and also because this is coming from a different culture, values may be different regarding “foul” language usage. I am in no way putting down the book because of this. I only aim to bring this to reader’s attention. On the plus side, I do feel that this might make a younger reader enjoy the book even more. It could turn into a slight guilty pleasure reading “forbidden” words. And the frequency is very minimal, so parents: I don’t think you have anything to worry about if your child reads this book.
To close this out, I hope I have addressed enough of this book to give you a feel for what it’s about. I tried my hardest to tell as much as I was comfortable saying without giving away too much of what fascinated me to read about.
One last note, I do think I will recommend this book to my younger cousin. He is 10 years old and very picky with books, but I think he would love to read a story like this one. If he does, I might ask him to write a guest review for me, haha. That would be fun.
As far as I can tell, to find out more about this book and its author there is a Facebook Page set up which can be found here.
The book can also be found on amazon for Kindle and paperback.