Book Reviews: The Third Door by Emily Rodda and Damocles by S.G. Redling

The Third DoorThe Third Door
The Three Doors Trilogy #3
Emily Rodda
Scholastic Press, September 2013
ISBN 978-0-545-42994-8

I sometimes question my reasoning and decision-making skills when I dive into a trilogy. Particularly concerning are the times that I make this huge Leap-of-Faith commitment with the release of Book 1. Knowing myself well enough to accept the facts that I am not patient and I detest waiting; good sense would have me holding out until all three books are released, and I can purchase them simultaneously to even read them one after the other, in a row…if I so choose.

My restlessness aside, there is one more very valid reason to pause. The third book is so very risky. It has the power to make or break the whole trilogy, and it can happen at any point within the final book. So much hinges on this one book. I’ve clearly enjoyed the story, thus far. I’ve been with it since the beginning, and I’m here for the end. This means, of course, that I’ve chosen these books over hundreds of titles calling to me from my To-Read List. The third book cannot let the reader down.

In this case, the third book met and exceeded my expectations.

The Third Door is so much more than a fabulously written conclusion to an engrossing and intriguing trilogy. Mysteries that had been slowly, tantalizingly, revealed previously may now be solved; however, new questions abound. Shocking revelations peppered this final adventure and surprises were plentiful without becoming gratuitous.

Having quickly been captivated by Rye in the The Golden Door, I was not surprised to become completely enamored in the last and most consuming journey. This trilogy began with Rye listening in as his two older brothers discussed the attacks plaguing their walled city. The occupants would not survive the barrage of winged, blood-thirsty creatures much longer. Brave boys would need to leave the only place they’d ever known in a potentially useless and quite possibly suicidal mission to find the dwellings of these beasts and destroy it. Rye knew that he was the one that could accomplish this goal.

Ms. Rodda’s writing is compelling. Her words are so alluring that, at times, paragraphs are almost lyrical. These characters are rich and interesting with honest relationship portrayals. The adventure is exciting, the mystery intriguing and the individuals learn, grow and mature along the way.

This trilogy is marketed to our 8 -12 year old readers; and while I agree that it is a spectacular children’s trilogy, it is certainly too good to be limited to a genre. Ms. Rodda has written an amazing story and readers of all ages are sure to enjoy Rye’s incredible journey.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2014.


S.G. Redling
47 North, May 2013
ISBN 9781611099652
Trade Paperback

Brilliantly refreshing!

Some days, I need to be reminded that, more often than not, people are filled with wonder and curiosity. We possess the desire to learn, so that we may better ourselves, individually and as a community.

Damocles is such a reminder. This book rocks my socks.

Imagine going to a place where no one speaks your language. Take it a step further. There are no translation books, programs or apps. No documentation of social graces, gestures, or potential hierarchy exists. Add to that. You’ve appeared unexpectedly, as an unknown entity. There are only four companions with you; you are surrounded and exponentially outnumbered. Although you’ve come in peace, with only a desire for edification, there is no way that the odd-looking humans warily regarding you can know that.

This is how Meg meets Loul. As the human-relations-language expert among astronauts, Meg is more than instrumental when she and four members of her crew are forced to abandon their damaged vessel and lone captain. While the sole crew member remains in orbit, vainly attempting to repair Damocles for the group’s return to Earth; Meg and crew must work quickly to establish rapport with the humans on Didet.

WAIT! Please, don’t dismiss this as a “Sci-Fi” thing. It is so very much more than that. Ms. Redling’s extraordinary talent creates a cast of characters that are simply delightful. The conversations among the crew members are sharp, witty and often hilarious. The arguments and bouts of irrational and misplaced anger add a realistic touch.

I am amused and charmed to have found the most genuine, honest and real emotions captured within the works of fiction. While the story is not true, the hopes, dreams, trust and desire for advancement are very, very real. We only need to look, to see the Megs and Louls among us. Thank you, Ms. Redling, for this reminder.

I never expected to say this, but; with the right person (hint, hint Oh, Danny Boyd) this would be a remarkable film. Generally, when I love a book this much, the thought of it becoming a movie saddens me. I fear that the story may be cheapened. I worry that much will be lost in the translation. I am often convinced that actors will not be capable of capturing the person I envisioned and related to when I read the book.

I feel differently about Damocles for one reason only. I like the story so much, that I genuinely want it to reach as many people as possible. This story deserves to be told. I want to hear Ms. Redling discussing it with Terri Gross on Fresh Air and watch it climb best-seller lists.

p.s. The cover is bad-ass.

Reviewed by jv poore, October 2013.