The Door to Inferna

Three Rooms Pr. Oct. 2020. 236p. pap. $15. ISBN 9781941110966.
Gr 6-8–Fourteen-year-old Khaioneus Nevula is starting to question his sanity. He frequently experiences prophetic dreams featuring a girl with a long blue braid. Then he observes a fanged face in the moon, encounters a fairy, and sees a face in his bathtub. Finally, following voices that impel him to make his way into the nearby woods, Khai, who has vampire-pale skin and purple eyes, activates a portal and finds himself on Pyrhithya, a planet in another universe. Here he learns Pyrhithya is his home planet, and he had been placed on Earth with adoptive parents for his safety. He is reunited with his birth family, including twin sister Nessa, and given remedial schooling in wizardry. As the plot progresses, Khai uncovers who he is and the role he plays in the coming showdown between good and evil. While the young author shows promise, this ambitious fantasy, written when he was 13, reveals a lack of sophistication in language, plotting, and pacing. The author is much more comfortable telling the story than showing, and the characters, while interesting (Khai’s sister, Nessa, is a delightfully snarky girl who frequently channels Hermoine Granger), need fuller development and more complex emotions. One major character comes out as gay, a storyline that deserves more substance as well. World-building is where Borah shines, imagining an elaborate universe filled with a variety of creatures, and creating an associated vocabulary.
VERDICT While this author bears watching, there are better fantasy purchases for a library’s budget.

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