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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Portal Prophecies Volume 1 by C.A. King is the first book in The Portal Prophecies Volumes. This volume contains the first three books in the series. Willow's life was the furthest thing from extraordinary. She doesn't remember her parents or when she started hearing the voices that guide her every day. She has no one she can ask about what happened to her parents or where these voices came from, because history is a taboo subject no one dares bring up. The annual dance is around the corner and Willow gets a surprise invitation to accompany a friend. With gifts and a dress from friends, it'll be a night she'll never forget, but nothing goes as planned. First, she's stood up. Then she discovers the shocking origins of the voices. Meanwhile, Jade's jealousy over Willow consumes her, leading her to create a potion for control that has potentially deadly consequences. When Jade goes on trial, she brings forth a power that consumes all they know and puts into motion a prophecy that changes everything.
C.A. King draws inspiration from mythology and tales, with nods to Cinderella, the appearance of Santa Claus, and the discovery of ghosts. Well-known folk tales and mythology are brought to life with unique tales and strange new creatures, spinning an adventure of magic and wonder. Willow's journey is one of discovery, as she goes from a girl who doesn't know who she is to not only finding her place as a keeper, but gaining new powers. Willow and her friends go from this rigid system where they can't ask about history and everything is precise to a place where anything is possible and worlds that are filled with mythology and fairy tales they've never seen before. In the beginning they're divided in this system where there's an obvious upper class in place and the orphans tend to be on the outside of the system, but most of the characters come together regardless of where they stand. Jade comes from the top and thinks she's entitled to literally anything she wants. She plays a part similar to the wicked stepsisters in Cinderella, but her choices lead to this climactic event that begins Willow's true adventures.
In one moment everything changes and this seemingly perfect world is suddenly consumed with chaos, leading Willow and her friends into another world. This bizarre world is vast and full of wonder, taking our world as we know it and spinning it with these paths to worlds that have beings such as Yetis and Santa Claus. Every adventure surrounds a prophecy from a mysterious book that drives most of the action and the plot. Willow's love life is a constant in the background that adds humor and a touch of romance as three guys strive to win her heart - an amusing twist since Willow barely notices their intentions. This gives the light layers of a complicated love story underneath the adventures and tales. The Portal Prophecies Volume 1 combines well-known tales with new stories and creatures in adventures that are full of action, romance, friendship, and self-discovery.