Review: Dweller on the Threshold by Rinda Elliott (Beri O’Dell #1)
March 26 2013
Received from author
Kick Ass Chick – Beri O’Dell
From Goodreads –
Beri O’Dell is investigating paranormal creatures because she wants to know what she is. Taller and stronger than most men, she astral projects and can peel through dimensional layers to see the creatures and spirits beyond.
She once helped her foster sister, Detective Elsa Remington, track down killers in Jacksonville, Florida, but stopped when a nasty fire elemental turned her strength against her. Now, she finds herself pulled back when something steals Elsa’s soul and puts her into a coma.
With little time to spare, Beri searches for the reason behind her sister’s coma. She has help in her spirit guides Fred and Phro, but others come along for the ride, including a pyro-nervous witch, and an androgynous necromancer.
The last thing Beri needs is to fall in love with a mysterious stranger. But the handsome Minoan warrior Nikolos knows what creature she’s after because he’s battled it before.
Really, really bad.
He calls it the Dweller on the Threshold.
Once in a while, I pick up a first book in a new series and, once finished, want to run around the streets of my town and shout “This book was just awesome! Everybody should read this!!” This happens to me once, maybe twice a year. Well guess what? It happened after I finished Dweller on the Threshold by Rinda Elliott. And not only did I want to run through my town telling everyone about it, I wanted to run down the highway and go to the nearest city! This is an excellent urban fantasy debut and I am very excited to tell you guys all about it.
Dweller on the Threshold introduces us to Beri, a…well it’s sort of complicated what she is. She can see spirits and ghosts and can astro project, her spirit leaving her body. Also she is also stronger than most human men. She has never met anyone like herself before and she has no idea why she is the way she is. Most of her life, she has been trying to get answers but has yet to find any. Because of her circumstances Beri has not had the easiest life, having been cast out of many foster homes after having been found wandering the swamp when she was just a toddler. Her past and her abilities scare most people, and who can blame them?
She is such a layered character and she contains all of the qualities I adore in an urban fantasy protagonist. She is flawed and vulnerable, snarky and intelligent. She wants to find her place in the world and understand her role in it. I really really liked Beri. A lot. I can’t wait for you all to meet her.
In Rinda’s world, every person has one spirit guide. Except for Beri. She has two. One is her official spirit guide and one is a spirit who is mostly just tagging along. Phro took some getting used to but she does have some good lines and you can tell that she really does have Beri’s best interest at heart. Frank is like a father figure for Beri. Beri has the advantage of actually seeing her guides (not a normal talent) so she can interact with them.
The story itself, lots goes on. People are having their souls stolen, including Beri’s foster sister, and she has taken it upon herself t figure out what is going on. She battles some pretty spooky sh*t while trying to save the world. No way is Beri a superhero – she is just a girl who wants to help her sister who is her only family. I have never read a villain like the one in this book. I am just glad that the demons in this book don’t exist in real life. *shudder*
The story really took off for me when Beri meets Nicolos. It’s not that adding Nicolos into the mix made the story more exciting but it does add a nice element to it. Why? Because Nicolos is Yum-my! Ladies, prepare to swoon! He is a very tortured soul with a big heart and gentle soul, even though he can totally kick demon ass. His story will bring tears to your eyes. Okay, maybe not, but it is a very tragic and touching story and it definitely makes you feel strongly for this man. You want him to be happy. You feel as though he deserves to be happy. And what he does in the end, what he does to protect and save Beri…whoa. His and Beri’s chemistry is incredible. The tension between these two is also amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nicolos and I can’t wait to read more of him in the next book.
There are quite a few comical scenes in this book and pretty much all of the funny scenes come courtesy of Blythe and/or Dooby and people’s reactions to them. I smiled and giggled. Which was wonderful since the story itself is on the heavy side. Rinda mixed in just enough light to keep it from getting too dark. Blythe is a witch who has powers that go a little wonky now and then. And the way she is described, the big round eyes and lost puppy dog look that make you want to give into anything she wants, had me thinking of Puss in Boots in the Shrek movies. To me, that persona fit Blythe as she appears to be weak and confused but she packs quite the fire (pun intended). She is spunky and a solid addition to the series as is Dooby. We meet him near the end of the book and I’m curious to see how much of a role he will play in future installments. (And yes, I snorted a bit at the name Dooby. Rinda was very smart in picking that name for him. Dooby is a character that takes himself very seriously and it’s hard for the reader to take him super seriously with a name like that. It really works in this story. Well done with that one Rinda.)
I’m just going to throw in a quite word about one more character. Castor. He is introduced near the end of the book (even later than Dooby) and I for one cannot wait to read more about him. What a twist he throws into the story!
There are so many revelations and unanswered questions in this book. Things pop up here and there and you want to know what it means, what it all leads to. And in the end, we find out just enough to feel okay about it but there is still much to learn. The way the book ends makes you want the next book, Blood of an Ancient, now instead of having to wait until October 2013. No, the ending does not make you want to track down the author and rob her of her manuscript, but it does make you itch for the book.
I will tell you one thing: if you read the first bit of the book and find yourself a little confused, you won’t be alone. I felt that way too. I wasn’t lost, just confused. There are a lot of hints in the first few pages about what Beri is, who her companions are, how the prologue comes into play and what is actually going on and it’s all sort of thrown at you. It is not an info dump, it is an ‘hmm I wonder what is going on here?’ dump. It does create a feeling of ‘Oh, I must keep reading to find out what is going on here’ and everything that comes up as a question in those early pages does come to light by the end of the book though. Just keep at it (it really isn’t that long until things get really exciting). At first, to be honest with you all, I was thinking of rating this book 4.5 stars because of that confusion but the story is so strong and the characters are so amazing, I just couldn’t give it less than 5 stars.
While reading Dweller on the Threshold, I often thought “what an interesting book!” The world, the characters and the idea all very fascinating. And quite different too. Rinda’s writing is so visual, it paints beautiful pictures. It is very easy to envision exactly what is going on and it really helps bring the story to life. Rinda’s voice is lovely.
Dweller on the Threshold is an urban fantasy book you can’t miss. I cannot wait for you guys to read it.
Giggle worthy quotes –
“’You’re not very good at this,’ I said as I side-stepped him easily. He crashed into a display of crystals. ‘And you don’t smell so good.’
‘I smell better than you. Ghouls don’t like honey.’
‘I smell like honey?’ I looked at Blythe for confirmation.
She nodded, not taking her eyes off the ghoul. ‘More like honeysuckle. There’s a wild undercurrent of something else. Like dirt.’
My mouth fell open. ‘Hey!’
‘Don’t worry. It’s very clean dirt.’
“I turned to find Nicolos reaching for me. I lifted an eyebrow. He sure liked to touch.
The corner of his mouth quirked. ‘I’ll take you to find food while the witch does her larvae spell.’
‘How about I go with you to find it?’
He inclined his head. ‘As you wish.’
I’d been transported into the Princess Bride. The extra gory version.”
Rinda will be here on Thursday to share an exclusive excerpt and to giveaway a digital copy of Dweller on the Threshold so be sure to check back!