Book Review: The Golden Door by Emily Rodda

The Golden Door is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series by Emily Rodda. Rye is the youngest of three brothers living in the walled city of Weld. Their city has been under attack by creatures they have called Skimmer, that swoop in during the night and kill and destroy. The Warden of Weld calls for young men to leave the city through a hidden exit and discover the secret of who is creating and sending the Skimmers, but none that are sent return. Rye's bothers each take their turn, and Rye  follows their lead after disaster strikes.  The world outside of Weld, and the girl that accompanies Rye, are much more than he could ever have imagined as an amazing adventure begins.

The Golden Door introduces readers to a new world, one that is as well built and developed as the characters that inhabit it. The city of Weld, and the communities and individuals that Rye discovers outside Weld's walls, are fully formed and the people seem to come alive. The struggles of those facing oppression, fear, or pain is something universal. Rye's character grows, and his understanding of himself, those he meets, and the larger world takes the reader to new understanding as well. Rye's understanding of his brothers and mother, even when not in their presence is very well done, and perfectly paced. My only distraction through the story lies only in my reading history, rather than any fault in the story or author, because a very different character in a very different genre of book shares the name of Rye's brother Sholto.

I highly recommend The Golden Door to readers around eight years of age through high school age, as well as adults. Readers that have enjoyed Rodda's Deltora Quest and Rowan of Rin series, or simply like well done fantasy that includes quests, monsters, and fully developed characters, will particularly enjoy it. I am looking forward to following Rye and Sonia through The Silver Door and The Wooden Door to see where this journey takes them.
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