The Keeper of Portals by V.S. Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Release date: January 28th 2017
I got this as an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing I want to say, and the one comment I couldn’t get out of my head, is that this is put as YA, but it reads like a Middle Grade. From the first page it felt like this, and I even questioned the choice to put it as a YA. However, after finishing it I can see why, there are some things that might not suit a Middle Grade novel.
The story follows Martin, a normal 15 year old, who just have been forced to move with his mum to a an old family house. There he meets a creature – The Keeper of Portals – and finds a door that hasn’t been opened in 400 years. But one night he wakes up to find the door ajar. And from there the story starts…
“he hadn’t managed to come up with a method that didn’t also include a certain amount of dying on his part”
The story changed a lot and I was never sure in which direction it was going. It felt like it got close to the ending so many times, and then something changed and the story continued. I am not sure what I think of this style, it felt a bit confusing, but at the same time it is wonderful, you have no idea where you’re about to go.
I really like the concept of Keepers, but it got a bit confusing and it felt like the author hadn’t it all figured out himself. I would have liked to get a bigger understanding about the keepers and especially how the Keeper of Portal’s power worked. Talking about Portal’s powers, during action scenes it could be difficult to follow or the portal jumping.
Loved time travel. Time travel might be dangerous to write about, but Nelson really got it to work. And the way he solved the problem time travel poses – e.g. paradoxes (example: What if I kill my father?) – was perfect.
I liked this book, but I’d have liked to get more information about the Keepers. The ending however, it was so beautiful. So if you want a quick time travel read with some fantasy this is perfect for you.
After the death of his dad, Martin and his mum move into an enormous stately home where they encounter a mysterious being called the Keeper of Portals, who claims to control every portal on the planet, except for the door at the end of Martin’s bedroom, which has been sealed for 400 years.
One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom has been opened. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house’s maid. Martin and Isabel quickly learn that everything on earth, from time and causality, to pleasantries and buttons, is controlled by its own keeper. After discovering two imprisoned keepers, Martin and Isabel receive the ability to jump between doorways and change their time, but they soon become entangled in a battle against the master of the house, the Keeper of Questions.
The Keeper of Portals follows Martin and Isabel as they alternate between the present day and the 17th century, often returning to a time they have already been to and nearly running into past versions of themselves. They fight hordes of murderous villagers, escape from the Keeper of Questions by hiding in a sea cave for 400 years and confront the powerful Keeper of Causality. But there is something wrong with time itself as items from the present day begin to bleed into Isabel’s time. After driving an off-road 4×4 through the peaceful countryside of the 17th century, Martin and Isabel confront the Keeper of Questions in the city of London. But when they arrive they find it deserted – the Keeper of Questions has control of everyone in London and it won’t be long until Martin and Isabel are next.
The Keeper of Portals is a adventure story that explores the supernatural and is an ideal read for young adults. Inspired by authors such as Philip Pullman and Neil Gaiman, this book will be enjoyed by fans of time-slip fantasies, both children and adults alike.