Sunday, December 4, 2011

The golden door by Emily Rodda

Rye lives in the walled city of Weld with his mother and two older brothers, living in a city that is both protected and imprisoned by the mighty wall that completely surrounds the city.  Once a year the dreaded skimmers plague the city, attacking anyone in the open at night, and they have even begun to attack buildings to reach the people inside.  It is a world of terror and fear, where the smallest sound at night can attract the skimmers to your door, and it seems as though more and more families are falling victim to the vicious creatures.  Rye and his family have been lucky so far, they all have a role to play in their town and their garden allows them to make enough money to live comfortably. 

But then comes the big announcement, anyone over the age of 18 may undertake a quest, to leave the city of Weld by a secret way and find the source of the skimmers.  Stopping the skimmers should save the city, meaning they no longer have to live in fear of the skimmers or the barbarians that send them.  Rye's older brothers leave one after the other to undertake this quest, but neither of them returns.  When Rye and his mother are driven from their home, Rye decides to undertake the dangerous quest himself - even though he is not of legal age.  The quest will not be easy, there are strange creatures beyond the walls of Weld, and their is evil beyond anything Rye can imagine.

This is the first book in a brand new trilogy by Emma Rodda, and Australian author who has carved out a unique niche for herself in the fantasy genre for children.  Her books are rich in detail and have story arcs that drag the reader in and keep them absorbed from the start of the series to the end - but at the same time she writes in a style that engages children who are struggling to read, taking away the stress of reading without dumbing down the writing or making the story too bland.  Her stories blend together strong mythologies, true friends, adventure, and heroes who are very "human" and have a destiny that they know nothing about. 

Like her other books, The golden door is very easy to read and keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next, with a fast paced story that you can sort of figure out, but also has a few mysteries and heart stopping moments to keep you wondering what will happen next.  A truly enjoyable read that will appeal to a wide range of ages and tastes.  For years I have encouraged children to read Emily Rodda (although at times she is so popular that you can't recommend them because they are just not there for people the borrow) because she is such an amazing author, but also because her series have some amazing art work courtesy of artist Marc  McBride.  I look forward to reading book two, The silver door, and will continue recommending this fantastic author to children (and adults) of all ages.

If you like this book then try:
  • Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
  • The forests of silence by Emily Rodda
  • Northwood by Brian Falkner
  • The silver crown by Robert C. O'Brien
  • Silence and stone by Kathleen Duey
  • Prisoner of Quentaris by Anna Ciddor
  • Princess of shadows by Paul Collins

Reviewed by Brilla

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