Book Reviews

Review: Gateway to Magic by Annabelle Franklin

I was kindly sent a free copy of this book by the author Annabelle Franklin.  Gateway to Magic is a middle grade fantasy novel which has such an amazing adventure feel to it, here is my review.

Steven Topcliff loves nothing more than sitting at home and playing videogames. But when his cousin Tracy visits she entices him to take a trip to the woods and when there she dares him to press a big red button. But what will happen if he presses it, and will he dare to do it?

I can’t believe how much I loved this book! ‘Gateway to Magic’ is an amazing fantasy adventure that reminds me a lot of tales like Alice in Wonderland. Steven’s cousin Tracy is an annoying girl and dares him to press a button which will take him to Fairyland. He doesn’t want to do it but he doesn’t want to appear scared either. The story is told in the third person and is so well imagined, I’m really amazed at how enjoyable this book really was.

It’s not really a spoiler to say that Steven does press the button and ends up in Fairyland. The adventure starts right away when Steven meets a strange character and there’s never a dull moment after that. The tale moves across different locations in Fairyland, the action is quick but you never get confused over where you are despite the fact that there are so many strange and unusual things about Fairyland. Along the way Steven has several adventures, all the while trying to get back home. These adventures are all so well imagined and so interesting that I couldn’t put the book down, constantly trying to see what happened next!

The characters in the story are well thought out, I particularly love Nigel and all the scenes with him. Not only are his circumstances funny but because of what he is, there are constant funny moment throughout the book. Steven’s character is an interesting one that many kids will recognise even though he’s not always that likeable. However I liked the way he developed through the story and it’s something some kids might recognise in themselves too.

I won’t go into any details about the rest of the story but it is really amazing with so much happening and a brilliantly good ending that is very satisfying. I liked the interesting twist of the question at the end. This story really has an amazing and almost ‘Alice in Wonderland’ wacky feel to it. Franklin has done an amazing job of creating a tale and fantasy world that is so, detailed, so different, and yet believable. I actually read and finished this book in one day I was that engrossed.

I’d really recommend this book to any keen readers of fantasy. Though aimed at children some adults with an imaginative mind might enjoy reading this too, I certainly did! It’s a brilliant book from start to finish and made all the more interesting by the videogame element. I can’t wait to read more of this author’s work!

Rating: 5/5

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Author’s website: https://annabellefranklinauthor.wordpress.com/

Book Description:

STEVEN IS A BOY WHO PLAYS TO WIN, BUT THIS IS NO GAME – THIS IS AN ADVENTURE HE CAN’T CONTROL! Steven Topcliff loves gaming but doesn’t believe in fairies or magic – until tricky cousin Tracy drags him away from his console and gets him to press a red button on a mysterious stone they find in the local park. The stone turns out to be a one-way gateway to Fairyland, where nature rules supreme and technology is banned by law. Lost without his video games, Steven struggles to survive in this scary new world. The inhabitants are dangerous, sometimes deadly; the Land itself is a living being that deals out instant magical punishments to lawbreakers; and the truth about Tracy is terrible indeed. Homesick and horrified, Steven is desperate to escape. Ignorant of the rules, it’s not long before he breaks them and ends up in the custody of the ruthless Fairy Queen. He learns she’s the living power behind the Land and its creatures, and she has no intention of setting him free. He also suspects she’s not telling him her true reason for keeping him prisoner. Whatever her game is, Steven isn’t about to play it her way. His only chance of escape is to magic his own gateway home, so he attempts to build up some psychic muscle. The Queen uses all her guile to distract and torment him, and he lives in dread of the gruesome snake-like monsters that live in her garden; but the biggest block to his concentration is his own lack of faith. He still doesn’t believe its possible for a human being to do magic. Can he believe in himself enough to forge the new gateway? And can he rely on the few friends he’s made to help him outwit the Queen?

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