Friday, June 10, 2011

The Door to Canellin by E.H. Jones

Title: The Door to Canellin
Author: E.H. Jones
Series: Gatehouse #1
Published: April 29, 2011
Publisher: OnMyOwn Publishing
Pages: 300 (paperback)
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wes is a teenager, with teenage troubles, who feels as if his world is crashing down around him. But when he discovers the house in the woods that wasn't there before, he finds himself thrust into Canellin, a world of dragons, monsters, magic, and mayhem. What's more, he discovers that his own unique talents may be the key to Canellin's salvation, and his own. Unfortunately, his only way home is halfway around the known world, in the lands controlled by an evil dragon bent on the eradication of all human life! Wes' father, however, has his own plan: find his wayward son, and bring him home safely no matter the cost! --Goodreads


As a reviewer of indie books, I come across a lot of…well, let’s just call it not-so-stellar fiction. However, on occasion I’m lucky enough to be introduced to a book that makes me stop and say, “I could totally see this in Borders. Wait a sec...why ISN’T this in Borders?!” The Door to Canellin is one of these books. Well written and fast-paced, Jones has expertly crafted a world of magic, monsters, and modern heroes that even those who are not a fan of the fantasy genre will be able to appreciate and enjoy.

At face value, The Door to Canellin’s plot isn’t anything brand-spankin’ new—a boy and his father enter through a magical Gatehouse and are transported into a medieval-like fantasy world in order to save it—but everything about this novel is so well done that it stands out among the books that I’ve read. In spirit, the concept sort of reminded me of a combination of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit. But instead of a wardrobe and a ring you get a lovable thief, double crossing dragon warriors, and a father-son relationship that’s worthy of a Disney channel movie (I say that as a compliment, mind you).

Learning about the characters was probably my favorite part of the book. The cast is large, but Jones handled all of them with love and I finished the book without feeling like anyone got left behind. Split into two parties, the different perspectives give the reader the chance to get to know everyone and relate to each individual’s life story, especially Wes and his father, Ryan. Right from the beginning, the reader can see that Ryan loves his son despite his flaws, and is willing to chase after Wes in order to make sure he's safe. Wes, in turn, learns that his father will love him no matter what, and realizes that he should work harder to reach his full potential. For a “problem child,” Wes wasn’t that annoying—a little self important and lazy, sure, but find me a teenager that isn’t before standing up to a dragon. Really though, his heart was always in the right place, and more often than not Wes was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wes and Ryan walk away with new found love and respect, which will obviously go a long way in the sequel.

The Door to Canellin is one of those books that I could totally see sitting on the shelf next to Percy Jackson and the Olympians or the Fablehaven series. Seriously. It’s a fast read, it’s a fun read, it was well written, and it was the perfect way to kick off a fantasy series. Though the ending provides the reader with a solid conclusion (no cliffhanger, YAY!), there lingers a promise for future excitement. I honestly can’t wait to see where the Gatehouse takes Wes and Ryan next!