The Silver Door, by Emily Rodda

In The Golden Door (my review), Emily Rodda introduced the walled city of Weld, beset every night by horrible, man-eating skimmers who fly over the wall from the lands beyond.  Three magical doors lead out of Weld, and in the first book, a boy named Rye and his chance companion, Sonia, head out through the Golden Door in search of Rye's oldest brother.   In the sequel, The Silver Door (Scholastic, 2013), Rye and Sonia, along with the rescued older brother, Dirk, journey through the Silver Door--searching not just for Rye's other brother, but for the answers to the mystery of the skimmers.  Where do they come from, and why?

In the blasted land behind the Silver Door, Rye finds answers...and terrible dangers.   It is a darkish book, dystopian in feel, as the characters move from one awful situation to another.  And Rodda does a great job making these perils vivid; there isn't gratuitously graphic violence, exactly, but there is death, slavery, and some really scary flesh eating snails (and though bad snails might sound silly, when you are in a hideous blasted landscape about to be consumed by them, they are not nice...).   But much worse than the snails is the dark entity behind the evilness of the skimmers.

Fortunately Rye has the magic talismans he was given in book one, and fortunately he has companions who are brave and smart.   Most fortunately of all, though, he finds his missing brother in just the right place to overcome the immediate threats, and make it home....where the third door awaits.

So for those who like a darkish middle grade fantasy adventure, with some interesting magic and world-building, it's good stuff.  Rye and Sonia are characters kids can relate too.  It was a bit too dark a journey from one danger to the next for my own taste, but that being said, although I have a lamentable tendency to skim the "exciting showdown" bits in general, I was utterly sucked in by the excitement at the end of this one!

And I really enjoyed Rye's science-loving middle brother's role in it all.   Yay for characters keenly interested in science, even when in mortal peril!

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher

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