Author: Tim Pratt
Genre: Science Fiction
(My) rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Doors of Sleep was definitely… a book. Did I like it? Yes. Did I not like it? Also yes.
Most of the books I read are well vetted. They’re critically acclaimed, I already love other works by the author, or most commonly, my brother texts me and tells me I should read it. Not Doors of Sleep, though. I found it the old fashion way– browsing a book store and thinking ‘okay, I’ll give it a shot’ after the bright green cover caught my eye.
The concept of the book was really interesting to me. Every time the protagonist, Zax, falls asleep, he wakes up in a new world. Some of the worlds are peaceful, even welcoming at times, and some pose serious danger.
Zax doesn’t know why this all of a sudden started happening to him. In fact, there are many questions that Zax and the audience continually ponder throughout the book. Who gave Zax this ability? Are there other people with the same capabilities? Is there a way to stop it? What is the science behind it? Can Zax learn to control what world he wakes up in?
Pretty valid questions, right? My interest in figuring out the answers is what made me continue reading the book. Additionally, the plot – evil scientist who stole Zax’s blood gives himself the ability to world hop and now chases Zax to obtain more blood, creates even more questions. Why do both characters wake up in the same world, in the same order? How did the evil scientist use Zax’s blood to give himself the same ability?
Try to imagine my surprise as I was reading and realized that I had about 20 pages left – and none of these questions had been answered for the audience. I tried to wrap my head around the insane reveals that were going to have to happen in the next 20 pages in order for me to feel satisfied with the ending.
On the last couple of pages there was a huge reveal… but it just created more questions for me! Now here’s the thing. I am a firm believer that books within series should be readable on their own. I should be able to read the first book in a trilogy without having to read the second and third book to get answers to the biggest questions posed in the initial book. So that being said, Doors of Sleep DOES have a sequel. And I am sure that all my questions are answered in the said sequel. But I don’t like feeling like I’m being forced to read another book to understand what happened in the first book!
And yeah, I know that 75% of my personality is ‘I like books’ so I should just shut up and read the sequel. But ya know what? I don’t think I’m going to. Because I don’t like your attitude.
Two other things:
The pacing in this book was… unique. In my opinion, it took too long for the plot to reveal itself. It was a lot of world building in the front half of the book. I like when books have plot twists, but with Doors of Sleep, I felt like I was just waiting on the next piece of plot so I could try to decipher where the book was heading.
I hate when the non-magical protagonist has a magical sidekick that continually has new powers revealed… and then those new powers conveniently save them from whatever situation they are in.
Now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, this is what I’ll say: If I started Doors of Sleep with the plan of immediately reading the second book, I wouldn’t have nearly as many issues with the book. Overall, this was a well-written novel. I liked the characters. I liked the varying points of view. I liked the friendship and trust motif that developed throughout the story. In many ways, it was a feel-good book for me. And, I am still really intrigued with the concept of the book. I might even swallow my pride and read the sequel at some point!
If you like the world building aspect of a science fiction book, I would recommend this book. You’ll read about hundreds of the worlds that Zax travels through. My only recommendation would be to plan on reading the sequel!