From the summary, this book sounded like something I’d like. Dystopian science fiction which, I’ll admit, I can be rather picky about but do enjoy. I based my decision this time just on the description, and I’ve got a mild case of regrets. The storytelling itself is rather simplistic, and the narration killed off whatever hope I had left.
The idea behind the story itself is intriguing, heck that’s why I picked it up. Mysterious doorframes start popping up around the world, which work as portals to any other doorframe in the world. Anywhere in the world you want to go is just a portal away.
There are some interesting thoughts on how humanity would adapt, and all that was generally believable. People stop driving cars since there’s a doorway on every block. Moving out of the cities because it doesn’t matter how far from work you are. People drop by in the evenings from anywhere in the world into bars and restaurants to keep the party going.
The story follows Doran Scott, who, for some mysterious reason, cannot use the doorframes. The one time he tried, he landed in something akin to Hell. He works as a bike courier making deliveries in his local area. There are plenty of religious nutbags who think the doors are the devil’s work or something so refuse to use them.
He finds that he’s in possession of a magic bracelet, and suddenly the world is open to him. He doesn’t need the doorways to portal across the world. He has the solution on his wrist. Doran catches the attention of a criminal mastermind who wants the bracelet for himself and will stop at nothing to get it.
So overall, the plot sounds like it should be enjoyable, but I found myself struggling through the whole thing. As mentioned, the storytelling felt like it was really simplistic, lacking any nuance or depth, and mainly felt like it was all surface-level thoughts and conversations.
Some of the characters seem too dense to be realistic, like how are these people still breathing when the concept should elude them? Also, there were some weird characterisation choices. Doran, for example, frequently exclaims “eggs!” all the time as if that’s a thing. I get that you may not want a character to shout “fuck!” all the time, but “eggs”… really?
Other choices made him sound like he was four years old (he just turned twenty-one in the story) like he refers to going to see the Businessman working in a business place. Other side characters like Hitter, Talker, and Thief are more examples… like generic placeholders rather than names.
The narration didn’t work for me at all, either. Hard to put my finger on, but just a weird cadence, almost like trying too hard to be dramatic. I wasn’t much of a fan of many of the various character voices either. Nothing really worked for me beyond maybe the main character Doran.
Nothing wrong that I noticed with the production. A couple of minor notes where a retake didn’t quite match the rest of the audio but other than that, no background noises or other errors I noticed.
I bought this without first listening to the sample, so part of this is on me. I like to think I’ll give anyone a go, which is why I often don’t listen to samples before I buy, but this really bit me on the backside.
It’s the first (and at the time of writing) the only book in the series. There are still heaps of questions left open at the end, presumably to be answered in the next book but as for me and this series, this is my stop.