Title: Down The Wormhole
Author: Ana Franco
Publication Date: 17 March 2015
Publisher: French Press Bookworks
In a city there is a tiny lane that separates two orphanages – one for boys and one for girls. Inside live two very special groups of teenagers. These teenagers carry a secret and
leave it tucked safely away in their mysterious lives.
Then one day, a girl named Kitty arrives. No last name, just Kitty.
Before Kitty has time to be astonished by the teenagers’ real identities, she is whisked into a magical realm that slowly unfolds her own. She must come to terms with her true place in the world while she can, because time is ticking and there are secrets in the wormhole.
Travel with Kitty and her new friends down the wormhole into a mysterious world of magic, mythology, and mayhem.
You can pick up Down The Wormhole and lose yourself in the twisting turns of a few orphans… who just so happen to be ancient gods and goddesses in hiding and suddenly find themselves thrown out of their comfort as they have to save the world.
I received an ARC of Down The Wormhole from the author, Ana Franco, in return for an honest review. So, a huge thanks to Ana for allowing me to read her debut novel.
Down The Wormhole is a modern fantasy story for teenagers/young adults (I would say for 16+ years given some of the content) and is a story of love, revenge, friendship and mythology.
Chapter one opens with Eris, Goddess of Chaos, entering the prison in The Land Above All Clouds in order to free an ally, Set. She encounters the legendary Norse warrior, Sif, and battle commences. This concludes when Eris and Set escape through a wormhole and travel through to another realm. This start to the book showed real promise and I started chapter two interested to read more.
In chapter two, we are transported to the modern day world where we see Kitty arriving at an orphanage, looking for a bed. From this point on, the story is set almost exclusively at two neighbouring orphanages, one for girls and one for boys. Due to unanticipated circumstances, Kitty quickly learns that her roommates are actually mythological gods in hiding from their former lives. Trouble arrives and the gods/teenagers have to work together to defeat the enemy.
I think the overall premise of the story is very imaginative and show real potential and whilst I found the overlapping mix of Celtic, Nordic and Egyptian mythology to be slightly unusual, I liked the element of mythology in the book.
The story was fast paced and the author managed to fit a lot into a short number of pages which, at times, left me feeling somewhat confused as information was thrown at me. The plot sped along at such a rate that the reader has no time to get bored with the story, however the pace and size of the book allowed little time to properly get to know the characters. As such, I found it difficult to warm to any of the characters as I really did not feel as though I knew them well-enough to care much about them.
With regards to the characters, I found Kitty, and her over-dramatised teenage strops, to be intensely irritating at times. Given the very adult nature of the relationship that develops between her and Amergin, God of Magic, I felt that this was not a good example of someone ready to take that leap into an adult relationship. I also failed to understand why the teenagers felt it reasonable to allow Anna to remain incapacitated. There seemed to be little explanation for this, other than her being a thoroughly unlikeable individual.
My main issue with the book was the lack of explanation given as to who the characters are, why they are hiding in those orphanages, how they ended up there together bearing in mind their backgrounds as gods/mythological creatures from different pantheons (sets of gods). I found the book difficult to follow in sections, partially due to this lack of information/explanation.
At certain moments in the story, I had to remind myself to suspend my disbelief and simply accept what the author was telling me, however unlikely. This is a YA fantasy book and therefore will have some elements of the impossible about it.
Overall, the story contained a promising plot and some interesting characters. The synopsis sounded great and I noted before reading that it had garnered some good reviews. As such, I was fully expecting to enjoy the book, however I found it very difficult to get involved with the story and I found it hard to relate to the characters.
I am aware that there may be a lot of people who disagree with my assessment of the book and certainly no disrespect is meant to Ms Franco, who shows promise as a YA author. Certainly she demonstrates a creative and imaginative mind and I imagine we will see more of her writing in the future.
On a side note, the copy I read contained quite a few typographical errors which I found to be quite distracting. However, I am aware that this was an ARC and I am sure that the finished version has been edited to correct those mistakes.
Rating: 3 out of 5 (I almost gave this a 2.5* rating due to the typographical errors, however I felt this to be unfair based on an ARC copy rather than the final version)
About the Author
Ana Franco was born on a small town on the interior of São Paulo, Brazil. She is known as a blogger under the name of “Ana the Bookworm” and her Young Adult novel, “Down The Wormhole”, will be coming out in 2015 through French Press Bookworks.
Ana attends to college of Literature and Teaching in her country as well as she has taken courses in areas of Children’s Literature, Literature in schools, influences of the world wars at the world’s cultures and in writing for a global market.
To her, being Latina means being proud all the time of such a variety of cultures and stories. And, of course, being “hot-blooded”.