The Book of Doors – Gareth Brown

The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown
Published by Orbit on February 13, 2024
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
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A debut novel full of magic, adventure, and romance, The Book of Doors opens up a thrilling world of contemporary fantasy for readers of The Midnight Library, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, The Night Circus, and any modern story that mixes the wonder of the unknown with just a tinge of darkness.
Cassie Andrews works in a New York City bookshop, shelving books, making coffee for customers, and living an unassuming, ordinary life. Until the day one of her favorite customers—a lonely yet charming old man—dies right in front of her. Cassie is devastated. She always loved his stories, and now she has nothing to remember him by. Nothing but the last book he was reading.
But this is no ordinary book…
It is the Book of Doors.
Inscribed with enigmatic words and mysterious drawings, it promises Cassie that any door is every door. You just need to know how to open them.
Then she’s approached by a gaunt stranger in a rumpled black suit with a Scottish brogue who calls himself Drummond Fox. He’s a librarian who keeps watch over a unique set of rare volumes. The tome now in Cassie’s possession is not the only book with great power, but it is the one most coveted by those who collect them.
Now Cassie is being hunted by those few who know of the Special Books. With only her roommate Izzy to confide in, she has to decide if she will help the mysterious and haunted Drummond protect the Book of Doors—and the other books in his secret library’s care—from those who will do evil. Because only Drummond knows where the unique library is and only Cassie’s book can get them there.
But there are those willing to kill to obtain those secrets. And a dark force—in the form of a shadowy, sadistic woman—is at the very top of that list.

Based off The Book of Doors, Gareth Brown will be a writer to watch. The novel opens up readers to a world of Gareth’s imagination, one page at a time. When a customer passes away at Cassie’s bookshop, he leaves behind two books for her: The Count of Monte Cristo and a leather-bound work, filled with sketches and scribbles. This is Cassie’s introduction to The Book of Doors. Its inscription reads, “This is the Book of Doors. Hold it in your hand, and any door is every door.” This message changes Cassie’s life and leads her on a great adventure unlike any she could have dreamed. The Book of Doors takes the top spot thus far for my favorite book of 2024.

George R.R. Martin once wrote, “‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.  The man who never reads lives only one.’” Books are magical things. They can transport readers to new places, new (or old!) times, or even new worlds. Brown’s The Book of Doors just takes everything one step further. A book’s abilities are no longer figurative but literal, and The Book of Doors is not the only one that holds power. Books of Matter, Light, Despair, Joy, Luck, Shadows. The Special Books have actual power. Power to give and power to take. Even books in real life can pull a reaction from readers. Sadness, anger, relief, happiness. Books have made me feel it all, and yes, I’ve even wanted to throw some across the room. I am not ashamed to admit that I have.

If I had to describe The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown in one word it would be “brilliant.” I cannot believe this is a debut novel. The novel covers a lengthy amount of time, yet nothing feels constrained. It’s filled with natural transitions that just make sense. Which, with a novel like this, should be considered quite the feat. The Book of Doors is full of questions and their answers. “How did this happen?” Well, wait another 50 pages, and you’ll find out. Brown’s novel demonstrates how everything is connected. How patience can pay off. And how you must embrace the moment and let nothing pass you by.

Seriously, The Book of Doors is marvelous. Brown is a wonderful storyteller who provides a good balance between worldbuilding, character development, mystery, and suspense. I wish I could experience this book again for the first time, and I can’t wait to return to its pages. It’s the kind of novel you could read fifty times and each time, discover something new. Bravo, Gareth Brown. I cannot wait to see what you write next.