By: Melanie | January 17, 2015 | (46) Comments

Review: The Door that Led to Where by Sally GardnerThe Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner
Publisher: Five Mile Press Australia
Release Date: January 1st, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, YA
Pages: 288
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. 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?

A fast-paced mystery novel by one of the country's finest writers, THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE will delight, surprise and mesmerise all those who read it.

Sally Gardner’s novels have garnered (HAHA DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?! I’m funny. Deal with it people) a lot of praise and recognition over the years so it’s no surprise that I read this book with high expectations. While this book had a rocky start for me, I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable for most of the part.

AJ Flynn is your average teenager. He lives with his single mother who doesn’t want anything to do with AJ because she believes that he is a total waste of space–and that belief is further backed up when AJ fails all but one of his GCSEs at school. So arguably, AJ spends more time (and practically lives) with his friendly neighbour than at home with his mother and her drunk-ass boyfriend. I felt incredibly sorry for AJ, his life hasn’t been the easiest at all and the only thing he knows about his father is that he’s dead. Yes that’s right, AJ doesn’t even know his father’s name because his mother won’t tell him. Poor dude. Anyway, AJ manages to land a job at a law firm and while he’s tidying up some files, he comes across a key with his name and date of birth on it. Curiosity gets the better of him and AJ discovers that the key is to a door that takes him… to London 1830.

The Door that Led to WhereΒ is a perfectly balanced blend of mystery thriller, fantasy,Β historical fiction and time-travel glamoured by the authentic array of characters and brilliant plot lines that entwine with each other. In a way, I see this novel as a coming-of-age story as we are thrown into two different periods of time that actually have more in common than you’d think. It’s an adventurous novel filled excitement and incredible depth, and you soon find yourself attached to all the characters, particularly AJ.

My main and possibly only criticism was that this book was that this book was incredibly slow to begin with. It states in the blurb that this is a fast-paced novel but I honestly wasn’t feeling that at the start. However, things do pick up significantly once the epic-ness of time-travel kicks in. It’s hard to get time-travel right, and Sally GardnerΒ put in exceptional effort in here. I was bored in a few places throughout the book too, occasionally, but that wasn’t a big issue.

The Door that Led to WhereΒ is a richly-crafted tale and Sally Gardner has some seriously amazing writer skills. There’s no doubt that I’ll be reading more of her novels for the years to come.

~Thank you Five Mile Press Australia for sending me this copy!~

3.5 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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46 Responses to Review: The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner

  1. Fantasy and Historical Fiction? Wow, I’m really interested to see how that one goes! I’ll keep my eye on this one when I see it in a bookstore. I love it when a book is multi-genred. I don’t mind the slow pace as long as I get my time travel fix! πŸ˜‰
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  2. Melliane says:

    So many things in this book, it’s nice when many genre and mixed in one story. It’s the first time I hear about this one but it sounds good! I’ll keep an eye on it! thanks for the review!
    Melliane recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #126My Profile

  3. Ha. Ha. Ha. That first line is hilarious. Ha. honestly, this book sounds awesome though. A door to the 1830s? How cool is that? I def need to pick this up!
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  4. Cynthia says:

    Wow, so many genres in one book! I may want to add this to my TBR. Thanks for the heads up about the slow pacing. I will have patience to get through it. πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve got this for review as well, so now I’m looking forward to it even more after reading this Mel! It’s good to gear that even though it starts off slow, it really picks up and has a little bit of all those different genres. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚
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  6. Maddy E says:

    This sounds amazing. I love time travel. It’s all the fun of historical books, with a POV that doesn’t think with the ideals of the past. This one sounds really good. *adds yet another book to my Goodreads tbr shelf*
    Maddy E recently posted…Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellMy Profile

  7. I haven’t heard of this one. I think it sounds quite interesting though – sorry it was a bit slow in parts, but as long as the whole book isn’t, I think I could handle it.
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  8. I rarely do well with time-travel books. >_< I STILL WANT TO TRY THIS THOUGH! I like books that are a little bit different and AJ sounds like an awesome narrator (What is with his mother?!) Sad about the slow-ish beginning though.
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  9. I don’t often enjoy reading books from the POV of a male character, because I usually find it harder to connect, but I can definitely make exceptions. Historical fiction, mystery and time travel done right, all wrapped into one book? Um, yes, please.
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Draven’s Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl: A Cover RevealMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Oh yes that totally makes sense. I don’t think the gender of the MC really matters for me seeing as my top 2 fave series have male MCs and are written by males hah.

  10. Lily says:

    This one sounds completely unique. I love that it’s so different and combines a mix of genres to craft a beautiful story. I’ll be keeping my eye out for this one. Great review!
    Lily recently posted…Never Never #1: ReviewMy Profile

  11. Alreem says:

    sound like a good book but not really my type of books πŸ™‚ but i WILL ADD IT to my TBR maybe I will read it one day πŸ™‚
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  12. Kelly says:

    I love the feeling of whimsy by stepping into another time without a book turning into a time traveling sci-fi. Even being a bit slow with the world building and storyline, I love the occasional historical. Wonder if this had of been more engaging with a female protagonist though. Thanks for the wonderful review Mel, going to check it out <3
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    • Melanie says:

      Hmm, I don’t think it would have been more interesting with a female POV seeing as my top 2 favourite series have male protagonists. And thanks, Kels <33

  13. Amelia K says:

    I’ve never heard of this one before but I think I read one of her books before? I can’t really remember the title but it was like “I, ___” insert some word there. I think I’d be willing to give this a go–it’s pretty impressive that the author included so many genres in just one book.
    Brilliant review Mel!

  14. Bennari says:

    Lol Melanie πŸ˜€ AJ does seem like a very relatable character and I’d definitely feel sorry for him too. I don’t think I’ve heard of this author before but it looks like I should! Going to add this one to the TBR. Nice review πŸ™‚

  15. It’s a shame that this book had a tough start with the pacing and all but this sounds really awesome and a lot of fun! I think I’ll give this one a go. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Mel. ^.^

  16. I love time travel sooooo much, but it’s so hard to find books that do it justice. I’m glad to hear that this author put in the effort to explain her version of it. Time travel back into 1830 London would be so interesting. I’m on a historical fiction kick at the moment, so I want to grab this book and read it asap. Glad you loved it despite its slow start, Mel!
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  17. Stuti says:

    WOW. Fantastic review and I need to get this book.
    Stuti recently posted…All Fall DownMy Profile

  18. Divya says:

    I haven’t read many time travel books. None of the ones I’ve read did any justice to the genre, so I’m infinitely wary of new ones. But this book sounds great! It’s rather impressive that the author mixed so many genres, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Great review Melanie <3

  19. Well, I must admit that I am indeed intrigued. Too bad it wasn’t throughoutly enjoyable, but relatively is good enough to hold my attention. Hmmm, will definitely consider. Can’t wait to meet Aj πŸ˜€ Great review, Melanie!!
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  20. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but it sounds like it has a unique premise. lol @ your pun. That’s what I was afraid of, that it would be slow until he found the door. Maybe I’ll skim the beginning. πŸ˜‰ I love the idea of all of the mushed up genres. Nice review Mel.
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    • Melanie says:

      Heh xD Thanks, Molly! Yeah, I really liked the premise for this one, and the fact that it has so many genres AND does it properly were all total wins imo

  21. Gotta love a mysterious door. So random that it leads to 1830 London. Sounds good though.
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  22. Benish K says:

    I think I’m obsessed with your blog, which is why I’m on a old post from weeks ago haha πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed this one though<3 I always find great books to read from your blog. Thanks for sharing Mel<3
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