Rating: High Five!
Who I'd Recommend to: Fans of The Blackthorn Key, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and Peter and the Starcatchers.
Synopsis (partly from Amazon):
After the death of his dad, Martin and his mum move into an enormous stately home where they encounter a mysterious being called the Keeper of Portals, who claims to control every portal on the planet, except for the door at the end of Martin's bedroom, which has been sealed for 400 years. One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom has been opened. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house's maid. Martin and Isabel quickly learn that everything on earth, from time and causality, to pleasantries and buttons, is controlled by its own keeper, but they soon become entangled in a battle against the Keeper of Questions. Their adventures takes them on a journey through time, ending up in London. But when they arrive there they find the town deserted - the Keeper of Questions has control of everyone in London and it won't be long until Martin and Isabel are next.
Martin, the main character, felt in the vein of Percy Jackson or Harry Potter. Brave, kind, likable, easy to relate with. In my opinion, though, Martin wasn't what made this book amazing - Isabel, the supporting-ish character, was. She was completely atypical of how most 17th century girls are written in novels, which was why I was so excited when she entered the book. Isabel is a strong, stubborn, clever maid who readers will instantly like. She adds a lot of character to the story while still not detracting too much from the main action - which was also fantastic. Nelson is a very skilled writer - the action scenes felt as if I were right there, watching it happen before my eyes. There was also quite a bit of suspense in THE KEEPER OF PORTALS - the entire time, I was on the edge of my seat. I actually attempted to forgo a night of Chanukah in order to finish reading this book.
There was also a lot of creativity in this book. Readers looking for a fresh, but still familiar, story will be extremely pleased with THE KEEPER OF PORTALS. And although there is a little bit of romance between Isabel and Martin, nothing is taken too far, which makes it a wonderful read for kids 8 and on all the way into adults. The writing was sophisticated, but nothing younger kids would struggle with - in fact, I hardly thought about the writing at all since the story flowed so nicely. There were no flaws that I noticed, but then again, even if there were I don't think I would care, since the story pulled me in right from the start and never let go.
Overall, a fantastic read for kids and adults alike!
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchanged for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are my own.