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All Good People

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Open Portal- by Michael Scott Clifton- Feature and Review + Giveaway



THE OPEN PORTAL
Conquest of the Veil #1
by
MICHAEL SCOTT CLIFTON
Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal / Magical Realism Publisher: Book Lift off Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 337 pages



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But with dreams, there can also be nightmares Lonely and plain-featured, Mona Parker is just another faceless teenager at Spring Hill High School. One day she runs afoul of Lady Anne Golightly, a beautiful and arrogant classmate who turns Mona’s colorless life into a hellish existence. Bullied relentlessly and with nowhere to turn, Mona considers suicide. One night, Thaddeus Finkle, her guardian angel, appears. He offers her a way out—swap lives with another.




The choice seems easy, and Mona takes the angel up on his offer. She awakens on Meredith, a parallel world of Earth where magic has replaced technology. Mona discovers she is Alexandria, a woman of breathtaking beauty, and the daughter of a Duke complete with servants and riches. Then she discovers the price of her bargain. Trapped behind the Veil, an impenetrable curtain of magic, the Duchy of Wheel is the last major province still unconquered by Marlinda, the creator of the enchanted barrier. Known as the Dark Queen, Marlinda’s cruelty includes a singular fondness for melding men, women, and children, with animalsand she has special plans for Alexandria. Tal, the Prince and Heir of the Empire of Meredith, burns with an intense hatred for Marlinda and her minions. The Dark Queen’s raiders regularly cross the Veil to prey upon the helpless citizens living near the magical boundary. Despite an elaborate system of Watch Towers along the enchanted barrier, it is impossible for the Empire to stop all the raids. Desperate to protect his people, Tal takes dangerous risks to prevent these attacks. Banished to a remote garrison for his reckless behavior, while on a routine patrol, Tal leads an elite unit that happens upon a group of raiders—one whose leader possesses the means for opening a way through the Veil. Thus begins the conquest of the Veil.





"The Open Portal is packed full of action from the time it begins in our mundane world, to when it jumps to another. It has all the elements of a good fantasy: a cruel queen; a frustrated prince; and beautiful girl with a pure heart. There are brave boys, werewolves, white priests, and watchtowers. I can't wait for the saga to continue." -- Abookanight













The Open PortalThe Open Portal by Michael Scott Clifton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Open Portal by Michael Scott Clifton is a 2019 Book Lift Off publication.

An intriguing start for this new fantasy series-

Mona is an orphaned teenager with a special needs brother. She is bullied incessantly by the ‘mean girls’ at school and has a very negative self -image. When she is nearly at the breaking point, her guardian angel, Thaddeus Finkle, offers her an alternative.

Believing she will be given the opportunity to make a real difference in her life, she agrees to switch places with another person, leaving Texas in the rearview mirror to live on ‘Meredith’, becoming Alexandria, the daughter of a Duke.

However, she will soon realize she is trapped behind an impenetrable barrier, put in place by an evil sorceress.

Meanwhile, Tal, who is the heir to the Meredith Empire, has been sent to a secluded garrison to cool his heels, in hopes of taming his impulsiveness. However, he stumbles across a group of raiders, whose leader may know of a way to pass through the veil.

Alexandria and Tal will eventually cross paths, setting the stage for an ongoing epic fantasy saga-

One thing is for sure- Michael Scott Clifton has a HUGE imagination! I truly enjoyed the first book I read by this author, so it didn’t take much to convince me to give this new series a try. However, to be completely honest, high fantasy is not my usual fare. Therefore, I may not be the best judge, as I am not as familiar with the genre.

For me, this first book in the series, probably by necessity, spends a lot of time on world building. All the main characters are introduced, and the reader gets a fair idea of their temperament and if we feel empathy for them or not. The scenery and landscapes are vividly described and there are even a few illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.

The story is an ambitious one, however, with three different scenarios and three different sets of cast members to keep up with. I must be totally honest here and admit that at times I felt the foundation was a little shaky. It takes a long while to see any progress on the convergence of these threads, and of course, by the time I’m finally beginning to get everything straight in my mind, the book comes to a ‘to be continued’ conclusion. ARRGGH!

However, I realize this is standard operating procedure within the fantasy realm, and I knew going in this first chapter in the series would set the stage for the real epic dramas to come.

It also crossed my mind a few times, while reading this book, that this one just might appeal to readers who enjoy YA Fantasy. I’m no expert on what passes for YA these days, but I’m told that if the main character is a teenager or young adult, then that qualifies, even if the book is more geared towards an adult reading audience. So, I’m just going to toss that out there.

There are a few poignant moral lessons involved in the story, too, giving it a touch of emotional depth amid the intrigue and adventure.

Overall, this first installment has piqued my curiosity. I am very interested in seeing how all of this is going to play out, and of course, I’m already attached to Mona/Alexandria and will have to see if the ‘guardian angel’ has her best interest at heart.

I wholeheartedly recommend this one to fans of high fantasy. I think you will want to get in on the ground floor of this new series, which shows a great deal of potential.


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Michael Scott Cliftona public educator for over thirty-eight years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie and family cat, Sadie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, he enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys...action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novel, The Janus Witch, received a 5-Star review from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short story contests with Edges of Gray winning first place in the Texas Authors Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. Clifton’s latest book, The Open Portal, launches the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil. In addition, look for the YA novel, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator, to be released soon. He is available public speaking.
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MAY 14-24, 2019
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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for an honest review -- this really prepares readers for what to expect. Sounds like it's worth sticking around for the next installment in the series!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kristine!! Yes, I think this series has real potential!!

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