The premise to The Guardian of Threshold had a lot of promise. A boy named Mark has discovered a way to potentially see his dead mother again in what is called the Astral Realm, basically the world or dimension of the dead and those who can travel there in their sleep. Like I said, the concept is quite intriguing.
In then end, the book was an utter disappointment. The majority of the book I spent completely annoyed, perhaps even angry, with Volts writing style. The first person style combined with what I assume was an attempt to relate to a YA audience entirely annoyed me. Parts of the dialog were so pointless that I literally had to keep from throwing the book across the room in disgust. Take a look at the example below.
“Huh? Oh… thanks,” said Jonas, making a funny face by twitching his nose.
“Can I use the restroom?” asked Carla.
“Sure,” I replied.
“You guys are already going to bed?” asked Jonas in disbelief.
“Ah, yes, it’s almost 11:30p.m.,” replied Carla, looking at her watch.
“So? Tomorrow is Sunday. We can sleep in late,” replied Jonas.
Details such as Carla asking to go to the restroom are parts of Volts story that simply make the story long and boring. Nobody cares that she needs to use the restroom unless something of importance is going to happen.
Normally I’m pretty forgiving of grammatical errors and even sentences or paragraphs that are a little uncomfortable, but this book was riddled with ridiculous dialog as the quote below showcases.
“Look! Is that Senator Kennedy?” said Jonas, pointing toward a signed photo of Kennedy on the wall just as the waitress showed up to take our orders and drop off a basket of breadsticks.
“These are really good,” said Jonas, eating one.
“There’s nothing better tahn warm bread on a cold day like today,” I said, looking out the window…
Shortly therafter Jonas’ character repeats almost the same line about his food being good.
Margaret came by and dropped off our meals.
“This is really good,” Jonas said, taking a bite of his sub. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”
That played zero part in the plot; it played zero part in any entertainment value of the story. It felt as though someone had told A.A. Volts that in order to be a good writer, you need to include as many details as possible and he took it as simply recording every thought a person might have in real life. Descriptions of things that are entirely obvious were either demeaning or simply a waste of time that I wasn’t sure I would make it through the book. Descriptions of mountains as being huge, as if we didn’t know mountains were huge. How about describing the mountains in a way I can picture said mountains in my head by explaining if they are snow capped and covered in a blanket of centuries old pine trees. Not just, they are huge. Really?
Few, nay, no book has ever made me so upset while reading it as this book has. I even held off posting this review for a couple months just to be sure I’ve let it sink in so as to try to be objective and I have returned now to write this final paragraph and my disdain for the writing style has not waned. Alas, I still had to give the book 2 stars instead of just one because I loved the concept of the story. The plot was good, it just wasn’t well executed. I won this book on a First Reads, Goodreads.com giveaway and was very excited to read this. I’m just glad I didn’t spend money on the book. It was still worth reading but only because it was free.