Rating: 3.75 stars
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When his father and brother are arrested for withholding taxes from the crown, Jonas Hall’s mother sends him to the palace to find work to help pay his family’s debts. Forced to hide his true identity, that he is born of noble blood, for fear of imprisonment or worse because of his father’s scheming, Jonas inadvertently finds work at the palace as a whore.
When he catches the crown prince’s eye, Jonas finds himself in the middle of a political game – unsure how to play his part, unsure of what his part even is, and unsure who to trust. Now more than ever, Jonas must find a way to keep his nobility a secret while dealing with the scheming and jealousies of the prince’s friends and foes.
Through the Door is the first book in Ana Reese’s Serving Royalty series. I liked most of this book – the world, the characters, the mystery/scheming. The basis of this novella is really good. A young man loses everything and is basically forced into indentured servitude/prostitution to save his family. But there are intriguing twists and turns. It’s a very interesting story, but I wish it would have extended past the cliffhanger at the end.
My problem with it is that there are so many unanswered questions and yet not one resolution by the end of this story. I think some sort of resolution, be it even a tiny one, would have had readers begging for more at the end. Also, the writing is a little…I don’t want to say amateur, because that’s not it. The writing is just not as clean as it could be, not as cohesive, but it holds promise. It is noticeable, but it doesn’t detract from the story too much.
I like this fantasy world. It’s not one of magic and dragons and sorcery. It’s a world of royalty and nobility where homosexuality seems to be the norm. The inner workings of the royal court and the political games are only beginning in this installment of the series, so I can’t wait to see what happens next. The behind the scenes work is highlighted in this story, as that is Jonas’ place so far. I’m hoping that the world building will continue to progress as the series moves on.
This story is character driven and that being said, I really liked the characters. Jonas is honorable. The disappointment of his family because of his size and sickliness as a child, Jonas has never been taken seriously. Being forced from his home by his mother to support his family is hard but he faces it head on. Again, becoming a palace whore is hard on him, but he faces it for what it is – a job that will help his family. He’s a strong, wonderful character. He’s protective and nurturing, and he speaks his mind. He’s nobody’s doormat, not even the prince’s, and I think I like that most of all. I look forward to seeing him grow as his story unfolds.
The secondary characters are all very captivating as well. I’m not sure that I like Jonas’ mother so much. She had to know what she was sending him to do, what kind of work he would get. After all, she was part of the royal court at one time. I just don’t understand how or why a mother would do that. Tollious, the court minstrel and friend to the prince, is an interesting character. In the beginning, he seems helpful and charming, but under his façade is a conniving, sneaky man out for only one thing. His role in this series should prove to be a large and vital antagonistic one. Grant, Jonas’ roommate and maybe friend, is helpful and looks out for Jonas as best he can. I wasn’t sure what to think about him in the beginning, but he proved to be a good friend and protector to Jonas. And finally Prince Noel. He plays the shallow, self-serving, whorish aristocratic prince. But, in all reality, he is charming and thoughtful and personable. In this novella, he is only briefly seen. I look forward to Noel taking on a larger role as the series continues.
In the end, Through the Door is a good book with an intriguing and mysterious plot so far. The characters are wonderful, the plot is entertaining, and the world is a shaping up to be a good one. I look forward to seeing how Jonas’ story plays out.