Review: ‘The Dark Portal’ by Robin Jarvis

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Friday, August 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

In the sewers of Deptford there lurks a dark presence which fills the tunnels with fear. The rats worship it in the blackness and name it jupiter, lord of All. Into this twilight realm wanders a small and frightened mouse. Far from family and friends he perishes, and is the unwitting trigger of a chain of events which hurtle the Deptford mice into a doom-laden world of terror and sorcery.  (Goodreads Summary)

I first read the Deptford Histories Trilogy when I was ten and loved them, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover the first book in the Deptford Mice Trilogy was just as enjoyable now that I’m a bit older. The characters were well created and individual, the story moved along at the perfect pace and it was exciting to read. The pictures from the author really brought the story alive and I found myself looking forward to the next one eagerly.

The thing that I remember most about these books though is being really, really scared by them. I used to have to read them with my back against a wall just so that I could be sure that nothing was coming to get me from behind, and I loved that. Although this book was still darker than a lot of children’s fiction, this element wasn’t as developed as in Jarvis’ other trilogy. Admittedly, the books in the Deptford Histories are much longer and so might be aimed at a slightly older audience, and I am older myself now, but I do still think that this book could have benefited from a little more of the terrifying descriptions that I remember from these books. Although this was still a good book, I felt that the scariness was missing and I hope to find it again in the remaining books of the trilogy.

The Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis.  Published by Macdonald, 1989, pp. 243.  First edition.

N.B. This is an old review written in 2010 and posted on Goodreads and LibraryThing before I started keeping track of all the books I read here at Old English Rose Reads.  I’ve decided to keep copies here so that this remains a complete record of my reading since I started reviewing books for my own pleasure.

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