Beyond the Black Door
Publication Date: October 29th 2019
Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …
Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.
But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.
When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.
A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …
Internaliced Acephobia, Emotionally/Manipulative Relationships, Attempted Suicide, Violence, Blood, Death, Murder, Birth Control, Misgendering
I feel like it shouldn’t be a surprise that I picked up this book… and liked it. It has my buzzwords, the tropes I like, a-spec rep. I mean… soul walkers, revenge, death, murder, villainous, seductive love interest. You’re probably wondering why the rating isn’t higher.
To be fair, the longer I sit on this, the more I like it? Let me start with this: The concept of soul walkers will always be interesting to me
the word soul does seem to be one of my buzzwords and the author panned out the world and made it easy to follow. Most times, at least for me, it takes a minute to follow the lore and world-building, but it was complex and simplified for minds like mine that can’t stay on track.
And the a-spec rep was really good, I couldn’t put off mentioning that any longer. Her thought process and internalized acephobia was something I could relate to personally and adding that perspective with not only sex work but gender identity?
Recognizing that asexuality isn’t just black and white, but a grey area? Specifically, using moon phases to describe it (which not only was quite unique, but was relevant to Kamai and her religion) was great. The author has stated she’s demi-biromantic and though I don’t identify with that particularly, I still identified with her journey nonetheless.
Despite that, Kamai as a character wasn’t someone I connected with other than that. I felt very much like a third party reading and not with her, you know? I sympathized with her, I rooted for her. She did seem to get lucky quite a lot of the time, I won’t lie, but she wasn’t unlikable.
I know from the jump she was impulsive and made a lot of mistakes… and that didn’t irritate me. Nikha and her friendship was nice, especially after everything that happened to her, the support system was a breath of fresh air.
In truth, as soon as the villainous love interest was introduced, I immediately got super interested. The romantic aspect was probably my favorite part, despite my mixed feelings on it because it’s truly the first time it DELIVERED and didn’t water down the fact that he was a bad guy? However, my spoiler-y feeling will be hidden because I don’t want to ruin anything: the I love yous started to make me kind of get off of the hype train? Because as much as I was loving their chemistry and banter and their dynamic… I didn’t feel the love. At all. But, I do appreciate the author letting everyone know that this is very much not a healthy relationship. By any chance. It’s abusive and manipulative and it’s recognized.
I personally think a sequel would be necessary, I have so many questions that weren’t answered. That and the fact that I went into this thinking that there would be one…. But I liked this. It spoke to my dark soul.
AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones.
She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/PenguinRandom House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).
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