The Seven Portals series by Andre Jones

Suzie Eisfelder

This series of three books proves why it’s good to attend things your friends are doing. My friend, Pete, mentioned on Facebook how he was going to be attending the latest ComixPo. I saw that and feeling it’d be a good time to catch up with him and some other friends, off I toddled…well, drove, but that’s less poetic. A good time was had. I caught up with Pete and bought some of his books, was introduced to Jones and his books and generally enjoyed myself. It was good timeout for me.

I plan writing about all three books in the one article as I’m finding it really hard to separate the books, reading them one after another probably didn’t help, but I really had no choice.

The three books in order are:

  • City of Bridges
  • Shadow of the Tower
  • Ripples in Time

This series includes many typical fantasy elements. Some of them are calling for me to find out more about them. The main character, for instance. Leonie is a cross between feline, human and then there are spoilers so I can’t say more. She’s pretty awesome and kick ass, I’d like more details about her genesis and about where she went after the end of Ripples in Time. It’s entirely possible I was so totally engaged in the books that I missed the bits I was wanting to read. I made a few notes in City of Bridges and also in Shadow of the Tower, but nothing about Ripples in Time.

One of my notes for City of Bridges is about page 155. Leonie drops to four paws in order to move faster. This came at a good time for me. I’d been wondering for a number of pages whether she travelled upright or on four paws. This little phrase gave me the information I craved at almost the right time. Maybe it was exactly the right time and I was just ahead of where a reader should have been, I’m not sure.

And there’s another little bit of useful information on page 113 of Shadow of the Tower. I hadn’t been thinking about it but it’s this little snippet of normalcy that can make a book that much more relatable. Leonie and Sussah had been eating apples, Leonie used her claw to remove a piece of apple from between her teeth. Normalcy, she’s just like you or me. I really liked that.

I’m not sure if it’s me, but the first book seemed to have a lot of world-building in it. I understand it needed a certain amount of world-building and it’s hard to judge the right amount, but it seemed like a lot to me. The problem with writing a book set on a world different to ours is that you have to tell people what they’re seeing and doing that can take a certain number of words. Not everyone has the skills of Ursula le Guin, her book Left Hand of Darkness is legendary in its world-building.

And if there was any world-building in the third book it was too late. Not in the sense that it really wasn’t needed, more in the sense that I was so totally engaged I found it hard to focus on the externals of the writing and was there just for the story.

Jones came to writing from role playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons. He wanted to design his own role playing game, but then he joined and Navy and it was while he was on the water he found new ambitions to become an author. This shows in the world-building and in the details. I’ve watched role playing games and those details can make people interact more and then bring them back for more.

One thing I really appreciated were the End Notes. These consist of a listing of characters and what they were, a listing of the races and their characteristics, and also a list of the religions. I keep thinking ‘if I’d known about these End Notes while I was reading the book I’d have consulted them’. Then I laugh at myself, I know I wouldn’t have done this more than a couple of times before getting caught up in the reading.

I’d like to say kudos to the cover designer. There were times when I’d close the book and just spend a few moments looking at the artwork.

If you’d like to buy the first book it’s available on Booktopia, or find them all on Jones’ website.

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