Book One in the Three Doors Trilogy by Emily Rodda, The Golden Door, tells the story of three brothers: Dirk, Sholto, and Rye who are residents of Southwall, a community in the city of Weld governed and over-regulated by a suspicious Warden. Eighteen-year-old Dirk is brave and determined if not a bit of a conspiracy theorist who thinks the Warden is up to no good. Sholto is equally determined but dark and cynical, although the thirst for knowledge glows in him. As an apprentice Healer, he tends to seek out peace. Rye, the youngest, is cautious, perceptive, and pragmatic.
Their home, previously a place of peace and safety and magic, has become a place of death, destruction, and danger—a “giant feeding bowl in which tender prey are conveniently trapped” (8). The great Wall built to protect its inhabitants has been breeched by winged monsters called skimmers, and the magic of Weld–apparently dead– provides no protection. Sholto believes not in magic but in the power of quick wit, good sense, and ingenious inventions. When the Warden asks all males 18 years and over “willing to leave Weld on a perilous quest to find and destroy the enemy responsible for the skimmer invasion” (16), Dirk volunteers.
When Dirk doesn’t return after a year, Sholto departs. After another year’s absence with no news of his second brother, Rye decides life is pointless without the ones he loves. Following a particularly brutal skimmer attack that leaves him and his mother penniless, Rye is numbed by trials and tiredness. With his anger roused to the point that it burns his finer feelings, Rye—barely sixteen—leaves his mother and the only home he has known. His only weapon a bell tree stick, Rye lies to the Warden about his age and volunteers for the quest.
To leave the protection of Weld requires that he choose his fate behind one of three doors: Gold, Silver, or Wood. The golden Door is fit for kings and heroes; the silver Door promises knowledge, puzzles, and secrets. Although Rye’s inner voice tells him to choose the wooden Door—plain and without ornament yet beautiful and well-crafted—he is not here to choose for himself; he wants to find his brothers. Just when he is about to choose, he is confronted by an orphan of the Keep, Sonia, who threatens to blackmail him if he doesn’t take her on his quest. Three Doors, two lost brothers, but only one choice lies before Rye.
Once beyond the Wall, Sonia and Rye find a different world with all variety of beasts and tyrants and monstrous practices like the Gifting—an observance of the tyrant Olt “who would sacrifice anyone and anything to clutch at a little more life, a little more power” (174). On their journey, the duo encounter terror, pain, and death at every turn, with their only protection, Rye’s little brown bag with nine magical treasures bestowed upon him by the Fellan, Edelle. Because life and a country’s safety hang in the balance, Rye has to fight to think before he acts, not allowing the danger and fear to consume him.
This book is a treat for fantasy lovers and bound to be a hit as well with those who love a good adventure story. Check out the book trailer for an enticing peak at Rodda’s thrilling novel!
- Posted by Donna