***Note: I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.***Doris and the Ankh by Brian Holtz, B.K. Brain
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
For Doris, a swimmy in the head thirteen-year-old, it seems life can get no worse. She’s tragically unpopular at school and failing American History. She’s grounded and will not be attending the spring dance. And now a creepy bug-eyed man is going to grant her a wish, whether she likes it or not.
Get lost with Doris in a world where flowers sneeze, fairies can't be trusted, and a creature that isn't quite a wolf means to kill her.
Sometimes a big imagination is all you need.
That, and a dead mouse.
Doris and the Ankh had a Wizard of Oz vibe running through it. You have a little girl spun off into an odd, magical world and is joined by 3 companions to help her along the way. They are definitely not your usual companions; one was a once-dead mouse.
While the story itself is interesting, it was held back by a single thing. Until now, I had no clue how important the “show, don’t tell” mantra writers always hear is. This book was balanced on the edge of being okay and amazing by that one problem. There was way too much telling. In places where showing became more prevalent, or the telling was appropriate, the story took off and was quite enjoyable.
I personally found Doris to be a little difficult to understand. I’ll admit I liked her a lot better at the end of the book than I did at the beginning. She definitely grew and changed during her time in the strange land, so that’s good. I found a few of her companions much more agreeable, though there was this one… However, he was set up to be that way, so it worked perfectly.
This book is currently recommended for 5th to 9th grade. I will admit it gets a little dark at times and sometimes a little evil. So I will leave it up to parents how they feel about their younger children reading that. I’d compare it easily to the 5th and 6th books of Harry Potter in the level of darkness.
All in all, there were very few errors in the book, and I can see the right middle-schooler quite enjoying it.