Posted in Reviews

Review: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Recommended: sure
For a first step into an interesting world, for an unlikable main character but an intriguing story, for a trying-to-survive-against-all-odds journey, for a dark tale that pulls no punches


Look how gorgeous this cover is!!!

Ren Monroe has spent four years proving she’s one of the best wizards in her generation. But top marks at Balmerick University will mean nothing if she fails to get recruited into one of the major houses. Enter Theo Brood. If being rich were a sin, he’d already be halfway to hell. After a failed and disastrous party trick, fate has the two of them crossing paths at the public waxway portal the day before holidays—Theo’s punishment is to travel home with the scholarship kids. Which doesn’t sit well with any of them.

A fight breaks out. In the chaos, the portal spell malfunctions. All six students are snatched from the safety of the school’s campus and set down in the middle of nowhere. And one of them is dead on arrival.

If anyone can get them through the punishing wilderness with limited magical reserves it’s Ren. She’s been in survival mode her entire life. But no magic could prepare her for the tangled secrets the rest of the group is harboring, or for what’s following them through the dark woods…


I’m most excited about this book as a gateway to the books that will follow. I didn’t realize it was a series started going into it so I was a bit surprised how much seemed open as I neared the end, but I think I’ll enjoy the next piece of the book even more. It seems like it will follow a similar arc to the Red Rising series, where the first book is actiony and life-or-death in the wilderness and the second book is the threat humans pose, scheming and machinations, and so on. While that actually didn’t work for me with Red Rising, I think it will here.

I didn’t like Ren for most of the book, which made it kind of a tough start for me. Around halfway through though, I decided that it was okay not to like her and in fact made it that much darker and more compelling. I felt like I was getting a narration from a villain, which was a really interesting approach to the story (even if it wasn’t intended?). So many things she thinks and does are vile and horrible to me — plus she totally is and insufferable know it all who doesn’t even know it all. So while I disliked her, that made it MORE interesting in the end once I got to that point.

As for predictability, I’d say I got the broad stroke points of the novel correct with some unexpected details tossed in to keep it interesting. Nothing especially surprised me, but it was an enjoyable progression with enough twists to keep me moving with it.

Unfortunately, with some predictability there was also some repetition that annoyed the heck out of me. We got the same origin story of their world at least four times with slightly different minor details included. It didn’t seem to actually matter in the direct way of the story and was more for world-building. Usually that would be fine, but I had to hear the same story FOUR TIMES!!! I also had to hear Ren’s worst memory probably 8-10 times, to the point that I just started skimming each occurrence and wishing she’d shut up already — not exactly a way to inspire empathy for the main character.

So what ultimately made me enjoy this and want to pursue it is the novelty of narration from someone who in my eyes is a hate-able villain. I hope I either see her downfall, or watch her redemption arc — but either way I’ll enjoy it! There’s some promising magic and world lore in here too that I’m curious about enough to read the rest of the series as it comes.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

5 thoughts on “Review: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

  1. I’m curious about this one, but it looks very YA and YA isn’t the kind of book I’ve been enjoying lately. I think I’ll keep this on my radar, but wait for when I have a better chance of enjoying it. Plus… that repetition sounds really annoying. I’ll try to keep that in mind, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very YA, though it is also darker than a lot of YA I’ve read. Like truly bad shit happens and there’s no sudden thing that saves them from every bad choice. It felt like it had real consequences. But definitely keep it in mind for when you’re up for that! I think the ongoing series is promising even though this book was a slower start (for me).


      1. Oh, interesting! It’s been a while since I’ve seen actual dark YA. Lately it’s usually been “dark” because of a death threat or because the MC was a necromancer. But like… that didn’t make it dark. The tone was still YA angst more than dark.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, as much as I think necromancy is cool in a book, I have noticed a lot of things lean on that. They tend to be more gothic than actually dark if that distinction is clear


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