The Door That Led To Where - Sally Gardner

Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
Synopsis: AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much. Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?


Review: This is another of those books in which I found fantastic writing which was an absolute pleasure to read, but which also contained a plot and/or characters which I wasn't overly fond of. It was easy enough to read, and all of the little details were great - I quite liked AJ and I really enjoyed how his story started. However I found that once he (and later his friends) travelled through the door into 1830, the plot became a bit scatter-brained, and the settings under-developed. I never really felt like I was being taken to 1830, and it never seemed like that big a deal to go or stay there.

As for the crime, that is described in the synopsis as being the mysterious central piece of the novel, and honestly until I re-read the synopsis I didn't realise that at all. The mystery of the death felt like an off-handed side-plot thrown in on top of the real plot about finding out where the door and the key to it came from. Ultimately, I found my attention drawn in a different direction, I think, than the writer intended, and I came out of it feeling underwhelmed and dissatisfied.

There were a few things about this book that just didn't work for me, but I did love Gardner's writing and originality in coming up with the basis for the story. I would definitely be willing to read more by her, this one just might not have been for me.

Rating: 2/5

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