Oh man the cover for this one blows my mind, and I’m so glad I get to be in this blog tour! Thank you again so much to Fantastic Flying Book Club, A.M. Strickland, and Imprint for this amazing opportunity. Click on the banner to see the rest of the stops on this tour. Today is the last day, and if you haven’t seen the rest of the previous days, you’re definitely missing out!
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 …
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/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, Imprint and Fantastic Flying Book Club for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
This one a difficult one to read, especially in the beginning. I won’t spoil much about it, but there were some aspects about the family dynamic of Kamai and her “step brother” that were really skivvy to me, and even to her Kamai and her mother. Basically, it’s the idea that a man believes that he can have any woman he wants, whether or not she even wants him as well. I don’t like that power dynamic, especially because Razim (Kamai’s “step brother”) pretty much pushes his sexual advances on her from a semi young age, to the point that Kamai’s mom is even like “stay away from him.” I don’t know if the Razim’s father ever noticed, but I’m glad that Kamai’s mother did, and tried her best to keep her daughter away from him because he gave me some sexual predator vibes and that was just not okay with me.
I really liked the concept of the plot, with Kamai and her mother (I want to say her name is Nuala, but correct me here if I’m wrong. I don’t have the book in front of me) being able to travel through other people’s souls. They basically get to see what’s inside a person’s soul, and that soul somehow creates a house with different hallways and all that. It’s super interesting, and apparently being able to do this was outlawed back in the day because people would take advantage of that kind of power and actually end up making permanent and damaging changes to a person’s soul. So Kamai and Nuala had to keep this a secret from everyone, even their family. Also, something very early on that was mentioned was that Kamai doesn’t seem to have a soul, and if she does, it’s so hidden that even she can’t seem to see it. Nobody can visit her Nehym (soul house) because it’s like she doesn’t have one, and that seems to make Kamai feel like something is wrong with her.
The journey that Kamai has to go through in this book – not only physically but psychologically and internally – was really great to see. I love that Kamai was asexual, and the author made it very obvious that she was like this, without there being anything wrong with how she feels. Kamai may have felt like something was wrong with her because unlike her brother, she just didn’t seem to have any sexual feelings for anyone in the beginning – male or female – and going through her thought process with this was insightful to see.
I definitely recommend this book, not only for the ace and POC coded rep, but also for Kamai herself. I really liked her as a main character, and I feel like she’s a pretty three dimensional character that went through great character growth, and was someone that I wanted to support and cheer on through this book. I’m kind of bummed that it’s a standalone, but who knows? Maybe there may be more mini adventures of Kamai, like when she was younger and would explore different Nehym with Nuala.
Yay for some of my favorite quotes. Some of them aren’t necessarily “favorites” in the sense that they were good things, but I felt like they were quotes that I kept looking back to when I was reading this novel, and clearly they stuck with me throughout this experience. So let’s see what I come up with, shall we?
I wonder if I have a nehym. I feel like my soul is pretty deeply asleep. Although I don’t see a black door in my dreams… or do I?
Oh man this part hit me so hard! People like to blame the creator of the instrument used for destruction, even though it’s up to the person that actually uses it. Same thing with a pencil or a pen. Someone can use it to create, or destroy. But the person who created the pencil isn’t at fault for what someone else does with it.
Okay I totally was not expecting to feel those kinds of feelings when I read the synopsis of this book, but wow. This goes to show that you can’t take everything that you read in a synopsis at face value, and that even if a synopsis doesn’t sound complete or totally interesting to you – I was already intrigued by the synopsis so that doesn’t apply to me – that doesn’t mean you should totally write it off as something you won’t like. Give as many books a chance as you can. You may be surprised by what you let in.