Shoes that will decide the fate of a kingdom at war. Friendships will be questioned; loyalities will be difficult to determine. And in the middle is Karina – a girl with no idea about the world she has landed in.
Title: Step into Magic
Series: Portals to Whyland: 1
Author: Day Leitao
ISBN: 9781775063742 Language: English
Classification: Fiction (young YA)
Themes: adventure, magic, war, relationships
What’s it about?
Karina buys a pair of shoes at a garage sale (yard sale) and soon finds there is something a bit odd about them. When a mysterious woman appears in her room one night trying to obtain the shoes followed by two young girls Karina is left wondering if she is awake. Soon though she follows the girls, Cayla and Ayanna, into Whyland – a world at war.
Various characters and personalities in the book – all of which are original. The shoes and the plot that follows are complicated enough to keep the reader interested and engaged.
A couple of spots where there seemed to be too much telling and not enough showing.
This book probably has one of the best openings I have read in a while. It instantly grabs you and brings to you to Karina – the main character – and you have to wonder about those shoes!
This book is marketed as being a YA Novel ages (12-16) – I’m going to be honest and say that it would probably appeal more to advanced readers at age 10-13 (maybe 14 at a pinch). Girls in particular like reading books with characters a bit older than themselves but admittedly I had to remind myself of the ages of these characters quite frequently. For instance, I felt that Darian lacked a lot of maturity for his age given his background and likewise for Cayla and Ayanna – to me the words they used and conversation was something that I would expect of 12-14 year olds more than 16-18 year olds. And at this point I’ll again state that conversations especially between Cayla and Darian seemed a bit too drawn out and rather childish at times – at least for my taste.
The world is definitely interesting and while there is some detail given in places I did fail to really get a sense of the world itself – much like the journey was a bit blurry for me (a map in the book would be very helpful in visualising that).
The plot line is very complicated and by the half way point I did feel like there were too many characters – of which even more seem to come into it before the end. Being that this is the first in a series that’s not necessarily a bad thing but I do wonder if a few characters at certain points were unnecessary to be there for the story. That aside the plot is interesting and it does keep you wondering about what is going on both with the journey, loyalities, lies and truths.
I have to say that when I reached the end I was intrigued enough that I would read book 2 because I am absolutely fascinated with Sian despite him not having a huge role in this book. He was a complex character and one that not too much was revealed about. I am definitely curious to see if he makes a return appearance in the next book.
Overall, I can see this book appealing to girls in particular who aren’t quite ready for a YA Novel but are moving towards wanting a bit of adventure with a dash of romance. If you’ve got a girl whose reads books such as Vivian Vande Velde’s A Well Timed Enchantment or Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted then that’s where this book suits in terms of audience. A good read for the weekend.