October 27, 2019

Beyond the Black Door Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


Beyond the Black Door
Author: A.M. Strickland 
Genre: YA LGBT Fantasy
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: Imprint
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Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn't listen...

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people's souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland's imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai's own soul, but the entire kingdom...
Beyond the Black Door is a dark and twisting young adult fantasy novel that will sweep readers off their feet. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the description. It sounded awesome and I was excited to see an asexual main character in the mix. After finishing the book though, I'm not exactly sure how I feel or where I stand. I definitely think it's going to need a re-read to help me really pin down my thoughts and feelings, but I'll try to write a somewhat coherent review now.

The characters were all very interesting and rounded, especially our main character, Kamai. She was a great protagonist for the book - easy to connect with and incredibly realistic. There were obviously some aspects of her character that I couldn't personally identify with, mainly the asexual aspect, but the way that it made her feel - broken, alone, hating herself, wondering what's wrong with her - those are things that everyone has experienced in their lives. The LGBT aspect of the novel was a big part of the story - almost overdone, in my personal opinion. Don't get me wrong, I love diverse characters and I'm all about giving everyone a voice - but sometimes it felt like that's all Kamai thought about. Granted, it's a big part of yourself and when you're trying to figure out who that is, it's going to be confusing enough. The author wrote the story in the first person point of view (which is by far my favorite), so we really get to now Kamai on a deeply personal level. We're inside her mind and are privy to her innermost thoughts and feelings, her hopes and dreams, fears and nightmares, memories, and everything in between. I loved getting to know her so well. By the end of the book it felt like I had been right beside Kamai throughout the entire book experiencing everything alongside her.

The world building was amazing, but did take quite a bit of time to accomplish. The setting is interesting, but what really fascinated me was the mythology, lore, and belief systems that these people integrated into their society. And the soulwalking! That had me hooked as soon as the author mentioned it. I loved learning everything about it - how Kamai was a soulwalker like her mother and could go into other people's souls while they're sleeping. I found it fascinating that each person's soul was like a house - it could be big or small, rich or poor - it varied from person to person. I loved walking around inside these other souls and exploring alongside Kamai. Another part of Kamai's world that I loved learning about was the whole court scene with all the secrets and political intrigue. I absolutely loved learning about all of these things but it did feel like it slowed the pace down a bit, at least in the beginning. I know the author is giving us a history and background, as well as setting up Kamai's world for us, but it felt really slow and nothing happened. 

I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I can't really go into the plot much more without giving anything away. I can say that there's lots of twists and turns, mysteries to be unraveled - mainly the black door! - and things you won't see coming. I thought that all the different elements of the book added up to an original story with diverse characters and one heck of a plot. I do want to mention that the author has trigger warnings up to give readers a heads up about what they might run across in the book, so please be aware of these if you're affected by certain topics. All in all, this wasn't really anything like I thought or hoped it would be - but it was beautiful in it's own way and an unique read for the genre.
AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).  


 Win a copy of BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR by A.M. Strickland (US/CAN Only)
Starts: October 23, 2019
Ends: November 6, 2019

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