I loved the dark and twisty elements but I just couldn t connect to the story or the characters It had diversity and interesting things but I just wanted something from the characters I guess But if you re looking for unique concepts then you might want to check this one out
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review Thank you Beyond the Black Door follows Kamai, a Soulwalker that can enter people s souls or Nehyn, a representation of one s soul Every time Kamai visits someone s Nehyn there s a Black Door that follows her Kamai s mother is hiding secrets and tells her never, never to open that door However, like a good old fairytale, circumstances lead the heroine to open it What s Beyond the Black Door Kamai will find out I must say I m impressed The author built an intricate world with beautiful mythology and imagery I enjoyed very much learning about the culture, rules, and classes, the worldbuilding was quite compelling.
I thought the asexual protagonist which falls into the grey area of assexuality and the LGBTI representation was well done This is perhaps the very first YA Fantasy where I feel that LGBTI rep is not underwhelming and that is instead, fair and inclusive This book was unique in everything I ve ever read Nowadays, we find a lot of hypersexualized YA, so having an ace protagonist was so refreshing There are all kinds of people in the world and all of them should have their representation in fiction as well It is important to acknowledge all sexual orientations.
I loved the way the author introduced the theme in the plot, and actually having the characters discussing it The characters, all of them I found really interesting Kamai our heroine, I could relate to her so much However, no matter how much I enjoyed Vehyn, and I very much did I must say that view spoiler his relationship with Kamai was anything but healthy Vehyn is a villain no matter what perspective we see him However, he is a fantastic character, complex, attractive and mysterious But I do not ship him with Kamai, it s a big no hide spoiler This CoverIs Everything okay this visiting other people s souls thing was at a 20 10 and apparently it s also queer and i m just god i m so blest This book was so addicting and so good There were times where I couldn t pick it up because I knew I d never put it down I stayed up way later than usual last night to finish it The world building and the mythology and so intricate and unique and well built Asexuality is beautifully explored The relationships are complex and incredible There is a trans character who realizes on page that they re trans, but still asks to be referred to by the gender and name they were assigned at birth, so some people may have issues with that, but I thought the reasoning made sense in text and the author went into detail on the decision here, if you re curious I love this book so, so much and I m so glad it exists and I m very ready to scream about it constantly.
5 3 starsI m going to be generous and round up Immediate thoughts pardon the rambles I had HIGH hopes for this one Imagine my disappointment at the 80% mark when it was still Going Nowhere Listen, this book has some really cool concepts I mean, soulwalkers and everyone s different soul houses and the creepy ass Darkness should have SHINED here Instead we listened to the MC s meandering inner monologue the whole time while Nothing Happened But fear not, it all gets wrapped up in a nice, pretty, rushed AF bow in the end Honestly, my biggest issue here was rep LGBTQ representation in this book is SO AWKWARD Our MC is asexualkinda Another character is trans And that would be awesome, if these were tied into the story Instead it s done in this way where it s mentioned, and our MC just thinks about how okay those things are Like, that s it It isn t fluid or nuanced in any way Just these blunt statements of wokeness this applies to talk of sex workers also It was so fucking uncomfortable to read Lastly, the love interest Just, no One, she s asexual so some of the scenes are extra confusing Two, you couldn t choose manipulative, controlling, creepy love interests if you tried All The No Did this book have some awesome concepts Yes Were they executed well at any point Uh, they were not.
Edit to add I wrote this at 1am, so it s worth clarifying, the variety of sexualities in this book isn t written incorrectly It s just written in a way that the author REALLY needs you to know it s supported Which is not a bad thing, necessarily It s just out of place within the story and done in such a way that it comes across as awkward AF.
This book has a fantastic cover, an intriguing premise, and queer rep Sadly, that s where the list of things I liked ends I really, really wanted to love this book It has been an anticipated read since April and here I am in August, having finished the book over a painful few days, writing this review rather reluctantly.
I read this with Tiffany and we had pretty similar thoughts on everything The characters were flat and unbelievable MC who vacillates between painfully naive and suddenly brilliant, based on what the plot needed , the love interests were disturbingly inappropriate, the story meandered with little purpose, and the queer rep was blunt and awkward I appreciated the idea behind the scene where asexuality was explained, but in practice, it was quite obviously out of place Besides that, since it s a fantasy novel, it was explained with a load of fantasy terminology that made the explanations really confusing to me.
I likely would have DNF d the book if it hadn t been an ARC I planned to review I do appreciate seeing diverse books promoted this year, especially one featuring an ace MC who isn t aro Unfortunately, this story felt like it needed a few rounds of editing.
Thank you Imprint Reads for sending me an advanced reading copy All opinions are my own.
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 SleepBut 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 ItWhen 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 DoorAM 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 Book has an own voices asexual rep Me, crying Everything I am Everything I have Just take it.