Door to Altharia
If you enjoy fantasy, world-building, and magic, then this book is certainly for you. Door to Altharia is a classic fantasy adventure featuring a teen who wants to get out of his home and away from his family. At the age of fourteen, we can all relate to young Alec’s desire for something fresh and new, but I don’t think readers or Alec expected to be taken to a completely new world.
Parts of this book are reminiscent of the wonders we know so well from the minds of Tolkien and Lewis in their famous adventures in Narnia and Lord of the Rings—that’s not a complaint at all, with young heroes, magic, and being taken to a new world, you can’t help but compare. That being said, Altharia is as much an original story of its own as any other new fantasy series.
Alec is young and adventurous and has a heartfelt affection for his sister. I admired his resolve and found him to be a very likeable protagonist. The writing itself was very good. I enjoyed every page I read and had no problem imagining the wonders of Altharia. The world sounds so pretty! Just as pretty as the name of the series. Part of me wanted to be right beside Alec while another felt perfectly content stuck in the pages of this sweet story.
I appreciated the cleanliness of the writing; there was no foul language and despite the fighting and bits of violence, the story is fit for all ages. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of books about younger heroes. In my mid-twenties, I think I’ve had enough of protagonists below age 18—BUT—I cannot deny the enjoyment I felt while reading this book and I have no doubts any other reader with an interest in fantasy will feel the same way. But I do hope time passes between novels, so we can see and experience Alec’s growth, both physically and emotionally.
If I had to give a complaint, I’d say I wish there was a romance. I am a sucker for a good love story, especially one that’s woven into an action-packed magical adventure. Considering Alec’s age, I don’t expect much romance any time soon, but I am deeply interested in what McGrath comes up with in that regard. Fingers crossed for a biracial romance, featuring a spunky, outspoken girl??
I may be asking for too much, but the series has just begun and I’m sure I’ll enjoy whatever comes next. I recommend this book to any fan of fantasy and middle-grade fiction. Younger readers and old fans of CS Lewis will want to grab a copy today.