When I see a book with dragons that look, to me like Chinese dragons, on the cover I automatically feel compelled to read it. I can’t just walk by and NOT obtain the book. Friends, the dragons on the cover of The Golden Door by Emily Rodda are not Chinese dragons, but sea serpents. I know, total creature recognition fail. However, I thought I would warn you now so that you do not go into this book with any kind of false impressions like I did. While The Golden Door is a quick read, it is not a particularly memorable one as it has been only three days since I finished the book but I barely remember what happened.
There is a walled city known as the Weld. The Weld is attacked by these evil creatures called skimmers, sent by a magical enemy. Y’all, the skimmers basically fly in at night and eat people. The warden of the Weld offers up a prize to any young man who volunteers to leave the Weld and find out who the enemy sending the skimmers in. So far, none of the volunteers have returned, including Rye’s brothers Dirk and Sholto. Rye decides that he must try his luck and find his brothers by leaving the Weld and volunteering for the quest. So, in order to leave the Weld, he has to pick one of three doors – there is a gold door, a silver door, and a wooden door. Rye decides to go through the golden door, as you can guess by the title. Rye is accompanied by a young girl named Sonia, who forces him into taking her. Along the way, the two encounter various characters and adventure, leading up to a bit of a show down.
Frankly, Rye doesn’t really have the sort of chutzpah personality that I like in the protagonists that I read. Granted, he is very courageous and brave as he goes off into the unknown and danger in search of his brothers. It’s also great that he does not lose his faith that his brothers are alive. Beyond that, I guess I couldn’t be bothered to really identify with or care about Rye. However, this is because I am an old and I think that if I were younger and in the actual age group that The Golden Door is directed at, I would have loved it. The reason I found Rye to be mediocre is because I never felt that he did any sort of grand gesture or anything to set himself apart, instead he’s more of a quiet play it by ear sort and that’s fine, but his companion Sonia was much more interesting.
The idea of different realms that you get to by going through magical doors is kind of creative I think. Now, this book isn’t Narnia or anything, but it is imaginative and adventurous. I found The Golden Door by Emily Rodda to be a fast paced read that seems like it would be perfectly fine for the younger set, but if you are an adult your results may vary and that is totally fine. This book is unapologetically middle grade and I would not have it any other way.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher
Other reviews of The Golden Door by Emily Rodda:
Scott Reads It – “nothing original”
Tracy’s Nook – “This book did not disappoint me”
Charlotte’s Library – “a pretty much note-perfect fantasy adventure for the eight or nine year old”