The Portable Door
- Tom Holt -
I've never read a Tom Holt before, but, I after reading this one I would try another.
This one had an interesting mix of office humour, fantasy, light hearted romance...a mixed bag you might say? The highlights include a door, a stapler, piles of spreadsheets, and sexually aggressive goblins.
I have a feeling I've lost a few of you already.
The overall story is vast. Very vast. It starts out with Paul attempting to get a job as a clerk at some 'business' called Wells & Co. He doesn't really want the job, but, applies anyway. The opening scene of the waiting room and the job interview were hilarious. Being in a corporate job environment myself I could relate easily to the whole process and all of the small office jokes. Against all odds, Paul gets the job. The office jokes continue, but, with decreasing flare. A strong story cocktail of romance and mystery soon take over the book. It is still light and at some points very humorous, but, I found the atmosphere got a bit more serious. Which was fine because the story was interesting. The mystery was trying to figure out what exactly this company does. The romantic plot involved Paul and another new trainee who is hired at the same time. It's ok, and doesn't take over the book, which suits me fine. The two story lines play off one another great, allowing the reading to get deeper into the mystery of this company.
Then all of the sudden the story turns wacky. It goes from 'normal' office life to a fantasy realm full of magic and goblins in a matter of a few pages. The story continues building in the fantasy theme, which explains much of the previous mystery surrounding the business, and gets even deeper. The next few hundred pages open up a fantastic new story with the portable door (as per the novel's title), the sexually aggresive goblin (as I mentioned earlier), and the stapler.
The dramatic change in story, setting, and plot were done without a hitch. I have to say Holt appears to be a wizard at merging reality with fantasy. I've read a few other books that have attempted to do this - take a 'real life' setting and input fantasy, but, try to keep it grounded in reality. It rarely works well. In The Portable Door I did find the characters to be kind of, um, unbelievable in their ignorance. There was clue after clue pointing towards the fantasy side of the story, but, the characters were just not putting it together! They kept ignoring the obvious...past a point where it seemed believable. At least to me. However, overall it was well done.
*For all those Trekkies, there are Star Trek jokes in there.