Reading Rabble Review: "Portals of Infinity" Book 1 "Champion for Hire" By John Van Stry

4 Rabbles with an R for great and inventive storytelling!

William is just your typical engineer fresh out of college with a stressful job, a boring life, and not a lot of prospects of anything better in the future. 

Until one weekend while hiking in the woods he stumbles across a portal to another time, or perhaps another place. The more he investigates this new world the more he realizes that it may just be able to offer him a lot more than the one he's been living in. 

However, there are forces at work beyond anything that Will has ever come across before and the local Goddess seems to have taken a liking to him. Will may soon find himself getting an offer and cannot afford to refuse. 

This story was a chance pick on the amazon YA pick list. Sometimes the Rouser takes a chance on a book based solely on the title or the way the cover looks, sometimes based on the short description given. Whatever the case may be, I was glad that I chose this series by John Van Stry as it has turned out to be a real winner.

The main character, William (Will) is a young man who is at that point in life where his is drifting between childhood and adulthood. Having finished college but not yet embarked on a career path, he spends some free time exploring the wilderness. That's where he stumbles upon the "Portals", gateways between worlds that are controlled by the "gods". As these stories go, only certain people are able to access the portals - and Will is one of them.

At first not knowing much about these parallel worlds and even less about the gods who control them, Will tries to take advantage of the difference in levels of technology.  He takes ancient weaponry from the alternate world and sells it in our world, and takes modern weapons from here to sell in the ancient one. Will's somewhat shady scheme quickly establishes him in this new world as somebody with money and influence.

Before long, Will is approached by one of the mysterious 'gods' and offered the chance to become a Champion. Interested in the opportunity and the chance to explore more of these Portals, Will accepts and the adventures are on. All of this takes place early on in the book and unveils the vast majority of the story as a really cool action and adventure.

In the interest of not spoiling any more of the story, I won't reveal any more of the plot. However, it goes without saying that the story is fast paced and very enjoyable. The vocabulary is easy to read so Reluctant Readers will not get confused or frustrated at any point.

Now, I do have to say at this point that there is a little bit of adult language in this book. It's not excessive nor out of place. What little there is fits in with the story line and enhances it. I am not one to endorse too much cursing in literature - especially YA - but it's not like young people don't know these words and if they are used in the proper way it can make the story better - and in this book it does.

There is another aspect to this story which I feel like I should mention. There are several mentions of the lead character's sexual activity in this story. None of the sex is graphic and the details are almost nonexistent. It all completely fits with the storyline and, like the language, enhances the story. I found the story completely enjoyable, but I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention this aspect. In this respect - and taking into account the age of the hero - "Portals of Infinity" leans a little toward the category now known as "New Adult", though it doesn't have the "adult" details that category is known for.

For these reasons I would recommend this book to the older end of the YA scale. Older teens will thoroughly enjoy this story without being shocked or offended by the content. That's not to say that a mature younger teen couldn't enjoy it, but parental or educator discretion is advised. Sometimes "edgy" content can engage a kid who might not otherwise read. 

With those caveats in mind,  I highly recommend John Van Stry's "Portals of Infinity". It is very enjoyable and very well written. Reluctant Readers will like this one tremendously! The action is fast-paced and the characters are extremely likable! I am looking forward to more from this series. 

4 Rabbles with an R for this excellent story!

Time for the Rabble to get back to us! What do you think of content in stories that's "on the edge" of adult storytelling?