FREEBOOK FRIDAY: The Mahogany Door

The Mahogany Door by Mark Boliek is a YA adventure with some supernatural stuff. The title and summary don’t make it clear what it’s about at first, but be assured there’s some magic involved.
The title’s good, and it has great cover art considering it’s a smashwords indie. The real reason I picked it up though is because of a quote from the book placed in teh summary: “His emotions erupted.” More than just being insufficient writing, it just makes me visualize a little kid hulking out like Goku from Dragon Ball Z.
Despite the summary quote, I’m up to chapter 3 and things are going pretty well. The story is framed as an oral tale told to the narrator’s great grand children at a family reunion. The writing is solid and free from typos as far as I’ve seen, plus there’s a good story here.
The spoken word tale works to cover up some literary shortcuts–you wouldn’t speak using such imagery as you would write a story, so you can tell and not show, and cliche’s which are taboo in literature are fair game in speech–but it’s a minor complaint as it is more likely how a spoken word tale would be told.
That said, the narrator’s voice sounds a little unlikely at times. He admits to never having told a story in public, yet his dialogue sounds like he’s writing an essay on mythology. You get used to it, but it struck me at first.
The only other complaint I have, and it is again minor, is I feel the narrative breaks are overused and inconsistently used.
The author will periodically insert this symbol:
Between two sections of text of varying sizes and, while it’s not terribly distracting, I don’t feel it serves much purpose.
Okay, just one more criticism, not with the novel itsself but with the summary: it doesn’t tell you what the book is about. A note to everyone writing novels–your summary is just as important as the rest of your novel; don’t shortchange it or readers will get confused and leave your book alone!

This is a great book for an indie; the author plants subtle hooks, has a strong if unexpected voice, and has spent a great deal of effort in editing for a polished narrative.
Don’t let the confusing summary dissuade you–pick this one up!

Have you read Mahogany Door? Then let me know in the comments!


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