London Publishing (2015)
Reviewed by Faryal Jabbar for Reader Views (1/16)
“Theodore Roberts & the Key to the Imaginary Door” by J.R. Robinson is a captivating reminder of the idea of imagination, and how we lose it as we age. When I read, “your imagination is the only thing that can save us,” I instantly think, great another cheesy fantasy book. I found however, that the story, with the expected fairies and magic, took me on the exciting and mysterious adventure with Theodore Roberts, aka, Teddy. Teddy is a 12-year-old boy who still possesses a sense of wonder and imagination the people around him seem to have forgotten. His wonder leads him to a truly foreign yet magical land, where he comes to know he is the savior, as evil has been unleashed. In his journey to save the land, he meets loyal friends and feels the struggles and happiness of love for the first time. Along the way, he uncovers the missing memories of the day evil roamed free. With many questions, Teddy must learn to believe that anything is truly possible, to prepare him for coming face to face with evil.
The author’s fingerprints are shown in the detailed depictions of the magical world and portrayal of the characters. “Her hair was an elegant white, as pure as the snow, and stretched down to the small of her back. Her skin had a pale, frosted look, which made the dominance of her crystal blue eyes stand out that much more.” The characters felt real and I could see the colors dance through my mind, yet there were times where I found myself bored and disappointed with the amount of thoughts and feelings given for some of the characters. Getting to know each character by their distinct actions would have made relating easier. The book flowed nicely and the vocabulary enhanced the story. The story was suspenseful, but the pace was slow for me, I prefer many plot twists. The story’s conclusion is slightly rough and a bit confusing, though I understand the moral. The book is neatly organized and the sketches of the landscapes and map at the back of the book are helpful.
I took away two lessons from this book – good and evil cannot survive without each other, and imagination is not childish, but the key to discovery and cures. You have to imagine all possibilities before you can create something logical.
I would recommend “Theodore Roberts & the Key to the Imaginary Door” by J.R. Robinson to people around 9-14 years of age who enjoy fantasy and adventure type books, but the book is “clean” and suitable for younger and older audiences alike.