Series: Doon #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Book Trailer: View Trailer
Published by Blink on August 20, 2013
Cover Artist: Mike Heath
Reviewed by: Kate
Kissing, references to sex
Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt---and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for... or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.
Starting out, it was very hard for me to keep reading DOON. Probably not the best way to start out a review, but bear with me here, because it does get better. While not perfect, once I got settled in, DOON was enjoyable and fun, with a very satisfying true love and goodness triumph over evil plot-line, not to mention more references to musical theater than I could count!
The issues that made it hard for me to get into DOON mostly had to do with it not being able to figure itself out. At times, with our fresh out of high school main characters, the book felt more like an older young adult novel (dare I call a fantasy novel new adult??), but there were other times when I felt like it was meant for younger readers. And, with two different narrators, I sometimes felt a little whiplash trying to adjust between viewpoints. But come for the cover and stay for the sexy Scottish accents has always been my motto, and I certainly was not disappointed all around.
Our two main heroines were the ones who narrated the novel, and that was the major cause of my original disinterest. Victoria and Mackenna had very different voices and it was hard switching between the two. Just when I felt like I was feeling like I was getting into a groove with one character, the narrator would switch. Vee and Kenna were very different characters- for all Mackenna’s love of the theater, she was solidly rooted in our modern day world, not believing in fantasy, and Victoria is the one falling toward flights of fancy in this book. Unfortunately, this made Mackenna and Victoria come off as total opposites in the beginning- Mackenna as rather whiny and Victoria as a bit of a flake. However, near the middle of the book, the narration started to flow better and I started to like both girls more. I think part of that may have also been the action started to pick up, but the writing also got smoother as we went along. Plus, putting anybody in the middle of a fantasy land is going to cause character growth, and luckily, Mackenna calmed down and Victoria showed depth I didn’t think she had to start with.
Unfortunately, DOON had a bit of the insta-love (with a myth to legitimize it!) but even though Veronica and Jamie were clearly destined for one another, watching their relationship grow throughout the book was very entertaining. It also helped that there were two other cute possible couples, Mackenna and Jamie’s brother Duncan, and two other characters, Fiona and Fergus to enjoy too. Adorableness abounded! And the epilogue clearly gives the series space to hand out more happily ever afters to our main characters.
Having never actually seen the musical Brigadoon, I can’t make any comparisons there, but if you’re looking for a fun Scottish fantasy world, you’ll definitely find it in DOON. And with three more (unnamed) books in the Doon series, it looks like we’ll be hearing more about Mackenna, Victoria and the other residents of Doon. I know that I am very curious to see where the authors go with this series, and I hope that they just keep getting better- like DOON did from start to finish.