Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress

Today I am taking part in a blog tour, thus the middle grade post on Wednesday instead of Monday. The book I'd like to share with you is The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress.

The Story-
Sebastian is a very straight cut twelve-year-old. He does everything he's supposed to do and follows all the rules. A wrong turn one day leads him into an alley where he sees a lonely door with a sign that reads, "The Explorers Society."

Inside the building he finds a bizarre landscape of odd rooms and a giant tree that grows straight up the middle of the building with a tree house at the top. He is caught immediately and as punishment for being where he is not supposed to be, is asked to spend his free-time as an errand boy for the society.

Evie is a twelve-year-old orphan who wishes for family. Once a month she has dinner with a kind old couple, the Anderson's. During dinner they are attacked and only Evie escapes. She flees with the last word's of Mrs. Anderson ringing in her mind, find the Explorers Society. When she finds it and asks for help, she is kicked out.

Sebastian finds Evie and she explains her troubles. The Anderson's had a letter from her grandfather, whom she never knew about, and he is in trouble. The letter asks for the Anderson's to guard the key and then send help for him. Evie's grandfather was once a member of the Society and went on incredible adventures with a group of colleagues, but that all ended twenty years ago, and now every member of the group has disappeared. It is up to Sebastian and Evie to find the missing members so they can learn about the key, protect it, and then rescue her grandfather.

My Thoughts-
I have mixed thoughts on this one. First off, the premise is great and I knew I wanted to read the book just based on the description. A secret society of explorers whose most famous members have gone missing are a great hook and throw mystery right into the mix. Sebastian and Evie having to uncover clues and find people, while being chased by bad guys, is exciting. The weird rooms and odd behaviors of the society members are just funny. Overall, great ideas and plot.

The unrolling of these ideas however, are rough. The author uses very long and wordy paragraphs full of details and very few dialogue breaks to ease things up. The story takes a long time to get into, and we don't even get to the main plot until about a quarter of the way in. There is a lot of telling, not showing. Perhaps this is because the author uses a narrator to interject comments and elaborate descriptions? The comments are often funny, and the use of foot notes are cool, but the clunky paragraphs were a pill.

Now, the main character is Sebastian, and even though he is a character that definitely changes over the story, he is still a bit boring. I really loved Evie. She comes in about a quarter of the way through and is full of excitement, courage and wit. The whole reason the plot happens is because of her connection to her grand father and the explorer group he belonged to. Sebastian seems to just be along for the ride. I personally would have flipped flopped the main character and supporting character.

The end of the story leaves us with the promise of a sequel and more fun explorer related stuff to delve into. There are continual hints throughout the story of somewhat magical occurrences and I hope the next book brings these more into the main story. So, I'm giving this one 3 stars! It is definitely worth looking at just for the fun premise and quirky characters.


  1. Thanks for the heads up. I'll pass on this one. But the cover is awesome.

  2. yes, I put the cover up as one of my cover love subjects.

  3. If I were buying a book on cover alone, this is one I would buy. No doubt. I don't know if I will get to this one or not. It's getting mixed reviews. Thanks for your thoughts.