Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Portal and the Panther



YA Fantasy / Science-Fiction

The only thing seventeen year-old Jon Parker wants is to escape his sleepy hometown of Mecksville, Arkansas. But everything changes when Jon stumbles into the boys’ bathroom and transforms into a black panther.

Without choice, Jon is thrust into a world where parallel universes are real, shapeshifters exist, and dangerous “intruders” can control the elements with a mere thought. Jon learns he’s inherited his shapeshifting ability from his long-dead mother, and now, like it or not, his mission is to protect our world from invaders from other worlds.

But is it a mission Jon will accept? His decision will determine the fate of the people he loves -- and our whole world.




EXCERPT:
The big one back-handed me again, harder this time.  I tasted blood and the cut on my bottom lip grew longer.

In that strange, computerized accent, he repeated, "You will tell us everything."

"I will tell you nothing," I answered again.  Admittedly, I felt more nervous than I sounded, but I kept a smirk on my swollen face anyway.  Our stubborn back-and-forth had been going on like this for at least five or six minutes now.  He'd say, "Tell us everything," I'd say "No," he'd hit me, and then we'd start again.  Hoping he wouldn't notice, I gently pulled again at the duct tape that wound around my wrists and bound my hands behind the chair.  Nope.  It definitely wasn't something I could tear free, especially not in the weakened condition I was in.

I wouldn't be able to use brawn to get out of this, I realized.  But that was ok.  I had brains, too.

The Big Guy looked over at his three companions, who were lined up along the wall underneath the mantlepiece like the obedient little soldiers they were.  It was an odd contrast to see -- the Krull family's photos and trinkets behind their heads on the white mantle, while these three monsters looked on at me and the tied-up family impassively.  I'd named the one with the red hair and brilliant green eyes, the fire-user, Red.  The other two, the air-users who looked like they had to be twins, I thought of as Blond 1 and Blond 2.  I was pleased to see that Blond 1 was still bleeding from the long gash I'd put on his arm.  Hopefully that meant he wouldn't be using that arm for the rest of the night.

When Big Guy met Red's eyes, Red nodded curtly and, stepping away from the twins, he produced a ball of blue and orange flame, dancing in the palm of his hand.  He walked across the room and stopped next to Kristin's father, Joe Krull, who was still out cold.  Mr. Krull's head lolled behind him, and his mouth hung open like a passed-out drunkard.  Then Red lightly rested the hand that wasn't holding the flame on Mr. Krull's shoulder and stared at me.

"You will tell us everything," Big Guy said again.  "Or this family dies."  

Uh-oh.  How much longer would I be able to stall them?



The prologue for the Portal and the Panther can be read here!





MY THOUGHTS:
For me this book started out on a truly high school tone and I thought that it was going to continue that way...luckily, it shifted from high school dramas into deeper topics at just the right time. Still, I felt there was something lacking in the preparations to fight intruders and the amount of time actually fending off these invaders. There were many, many cliff hangers in the relationship dynamics that the hero, Jon has...and I am hoping that I have not guessed the end of these stories...hoping there are few a stunning surprises left like there were in The Portal and the Panther. Jon was a very real character and I felt great empathy for him and even wanted to advise him at times.
There were not many pages but this turned out to be a long read packed with content. A multi-faceted plot with much suspense that easily came to mind (vs. labored efforts by the author to establish suspense). Also of interest was some deep dialogue on forgiveness.
My rating: 4.65 out of 5 stars



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AUTHOR BIO:
My first attempt at novel writing was when I was ten years old.  At the time, I was writing fan fiction, without realizing what fan fiction actually was (I don’t think the term existed yet).  I had just finished reading Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein for the second time and, for the second time, couldn’t stand that the book was ending.  I needed some sort of sequel. I think I got about 12 handwritten pages into my Tunnel in the Sky sequel before my father pointed out that I’d never be able to publish it.
I tried writing novels again some time in college, but that was the period in my life when I took myself faaaaaar too seriously. If you’re over the age of 23, you’ll know what I mean by that.  I was only interested in writing something Important, something that Mattered, and consequently wrote no more than about 10,000 words before giving up.  In my heart, I didn’t want to write Les Mis or War and Peace, but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
When Kindle came along and I stopped buying actual paper books, I realized that there was a revolution going on in the publishing world.  As I heard tales of self-published authors meeting with unprecedented success, I decided it was time to dust off my fiction writing skills and join their ranks.  I could finally just write for the hell of it and never have to worry about what a publisher would think or what anyone else would think.
I finished the first draft of The Portal and the Panther in April 2014; I plan to publish it in January 2015.  Meanwhile, I’m hard at work on the second book in the Guardians of the Portal series, The Girl Between Worlds.  I hope to also have it ready at the same time as The P and the P.


Twitter: RAMarshall78

2 comments:

RA Marshall said...

Hiya, thanks for the review! Glad you seemed to at least mostly enjoy it. :-)

Warm regards,
RA Marshall

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I did enjoy this book. I hope to read "The Girl Between Worlds."

:-)



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