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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
"She touched the sand which coloured the landscape. She felt uneasy. For miles around, there was nothing but sky and sand with nothing in between: no roads, no trees and no sign of people... just some strange shapes in the distance." In A Portal Home by Stella Kewley, Cassie Clemence never wanted to move away from the city and into an old house in the country. She's bored until she discovers a secret tunnel that leads to a strange land; Abrynthea. It’s under a curse by an evil witch, and only a magical orb and a crown can set everything right again.
The story premise is intriguing, and fantasy elements such as witches and dragons are great additions to the aesthetics of the world-building and plot. The clear prose and immersive narrative are a solid combination to engage the story's targeted readers. Curiosity often goes hand in hand with bravery for the young protagonists, particularly Cassie and Isobel who stood out more than the rest for me. They have enough room for growth and self-discovery as they face every obstacle to save and restore Abrynthea. I found the antagonist interestingly complex; she has reasons for the things she does and doesn't merely resort to pure villainy which easily adds depth to the storyline. Scenes of escaping from danger including skirmishes between characters are suspenseful and will keep readers on their toes. All in all, Stella Kewley's A Portal Home is an imaginative and enchanting contemporary fantasy novel.