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The Captain's Door by [Houghton, C.S.]
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The Captain's Door Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 246 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

C.S. Houghton studied creative writing at Southern Connecticut State University. He enjoys painting, drawing, old cameras, and gardening. The author lives in Connecticut with his adoring wife and their heterochromic dog.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3761 KB
  • Print Length: 246 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D4AGOEE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,108,169 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This historical fiction novel is an imaginative story of an older woman trapped in the body of a ten-year-old girl who happens to be the captain of the trading clipper ship named the Transcendent. It is part sea adventure and part fantasy. The captain has been bound to service by the Madame Secretary who turns out to be her mother. Her present bodily state is maintained by a lamp which keeps her body forever young. We have a deep look into the mind of the captain while she is making the big decision, a leap of faith, from the world of the ageless into the real world of aging people.

At first, the story was a little slow. I prefer to know more about the characters from the start and we do learn some things about the captain at the beginning, but it wasn't until about twenty percent into the book that the author divulged the captain's name.

Literary prose abound in the novel, from the flowing description of the government building in Pomin with its massive library to the elaborate dress of the captain to the description of the Captain's Door, a magical device.

The reader is told that the captain is bound to her mother and sister, but I was never sure exactly what that meant. Her sister kept telling the captain that the captain did not understand the situation and, at times, that's exactly how I felt. I wanted to know more. If there is a sequel, perhaps more will be revealed later.

The author shows us the captain's inner conflict as she struggles with her experiences and worries about what the future will hold if she extinguishes the lamp. The captain recalled her previous crews in the lines: "They come and they go. I cry for a while and then go on. My family remains. The door persists." Lines like this evoke sadness, but not empathy.
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Format: Paperback
I want this book to be a stronger 4 than it is. The tone of the writing is often beautiful, and there's some interesting ideas in the story that can be very engaging...

But you have to make a firm commitment to it to get all of that. Despite the fast opening, on one of Mina's missions, it then slows down until 35-40% of the way through the book. So don't expect to be engaged in the story until that long- expect to be engaged in the writing. There's a lot of beautiful elements to Houghton's writing, but they're dense- so much so that I found myself slowed down considerably. I'd read a sentence, or a paragraph, and it would take me so long to assimilate the imagery and ideas, that I'd get distracted and return to whatever else was on my "to do" list.

Despite the abundance of details, the world, and most of the characters weren't as realistically fleshed out as it could have been. Mina's relationship with her handler was particularly fascinating.
(This next bit may have mild spoilers, although I think it's already in the description.)

I know some of the other reviewers here didn't particularly care for Mina's family dynamics, and asked WHY her mother was so driven to control her children, and why Mina picked that time to rebel. To be honest, I didn't question it, because I've known people who've grown up in similar families, had similar reactions to the psychological control and abuse. And I've seen their families behave similarly to Mina's mother, when their control is balked. There was a shellshocked quality to Mina and her sister, and an affectionate quality to her mother's violence that rang very real, midst the fantasy.

It felt like there were a lot of plot elements that never got followed up on.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I don't think I've ever found a book so challenging to rate and review. My subjective heart wanted to rate it five stars. My objective head is stuck at four. The reason is this; there is so much about The Captain's Door that is very good, but it could be better. It occupied my mind even when I wasn't reading it for both reasons.

A short breakdown to explain.

Plot: Good. Coming of age story done with a fresh telling and plenty of varietal extras. Some threads remain unresolved though, which suggests there may be a sequel coming.

Characters: All good. Mina Paradis, the central character, is delightfully complex.

Setting: Needs fleshing out. An alternative 19th century Earth that has evolved differently including flourishes of magic, pocket dimensions, immortality torches and the like. Conceptually excellent, but readers need context. I'm fine with the fact that the magic remains unexplained - it's magic after all - but the story behind the magic and some of the settings is missing. There are also some inconsistencies and anachronisms, particularly in the dialogue, that have a tendency to jar the reader out of the story.

Style: Beautiful. Without a doubt, C.S. Houghton is a gifted writer.

Pace: I like a pacey book. I also appreciate a book that isn't afraid to take its time to unfold. Funnily enough, the blurb is almost apologetic about the pace, and unnecessarily so. I wouldn't describe the pace as slow, but measured. Readers who like action-jam on their literary-toast may find it so.

In my opinion, The Captain's Door would have benefited from stronger editorial input. The writing is of such high quality that the little faults become accentuated. In another book, these faults could be easily overlooked, but C.S.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique approach. 9 Dec. 2014
By Ron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm used to books starting off with a bang. Trying to grab you, get you interested in reading the rest of the book. This one doesn't even try, and that's not a bad thing. It's not trying to "be like other books" and that is ALWAYS refreshing.

It's languorous, unfolding meticulously before you. Instead of a shocking hook, or an action sequence, it serenades you with language and description and a character that piques your curiosity with hints of some sort of otherworldliness. You are left to deduce things, through inference and clue, instead of having it all heaped upon you in bite-sized cookie cutter morsels. The author clearly wants you to think and puzzle things out. Trust me, the pace and the action DO pick up. Theres quite a bit more than I expected, from the way it began.

I found myself not really liking the main character due to her frequent whining, except during the more action packed moments where the picture painted of the diminutive commando was entirely too satisfying to do anything but enjoy. The problem I had with her was one the author, I think, intended. He's making a point about physical age and mental age, maturity and growth, the milestones of our lives...and the tools he has at hand to do this lend to an unfortunately, necessarily, annoying character at times. To be fair, this was mostly during the first half of the book, with her resolve firming up and her settling to a course of action in the latter half...and by the quite satisfying climax and conclusion the setup had, in my mind, served it's purpose.

Overall, it was a very original, very enjoyable book that I'm glad to have read. I'd be curious to read another in the series, if only because the alternate world that had been painted was interesting and I can't help but wonder of the source of all the fantastical elements, and if that aspect would be fleshed out or explored more.
4.0 out of 5 stars Seafaring Fantasy Adventure 10 July 2013
By Amber Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This historical fiction novel is an imaginative story of an older woman trapped in the body of a ten-year-old girl who happens to be the captain of the trading clipper ship named the Transcendent. It is part sea adventure and part fantasy. The captain has been bound to service by the Madame Secretary who turns out to be her mother. Her present bodily state is maintained by a lamp which keeps her body forever young. We have a deep look into the mind of the captain while she is making the big decision, a leap of faith, from the world of the ageless into the real world of aging people.

At first, the story was a little slow. I prefer to know more about the characters from the start and we do learn some things about the captain at the beginning, but it wasn't until about twenty percent into the book that the author divulged the captain's name.

Literary prose abound in the novel, from the flowing description of the government building in Pomin with its massive library to the elaborate dress of the captain to the description of the Captain's Door, a magical device.

The reader is told that the captain is bound to her mother and sister, but I was never sure exactly what that meant. Her sister kept telling the captain that the captain did not understand the situation and, at times, that's exactly how I felt. I wanted to know more. If there is a sequel, perhaps more will be revealed later.

The author shows us the captain's inner conflict as she struggles with her experiences and worries about what the future will hold if she extinguishes the lamp. The captain recalled her previous crews in the lines: "They come and they go. I cry for a while and then go on. My family remains. The door persists." Lines like this evoke sadness, but not empathy. Even though it was told from a first person viewpoint, I always felt like someone on the outside looking in, like a play on a stage, never really a part of the action. This may have been because I kept thinking of the captain as a ten-year-old girl instead of as the woman inside her or maybe it was because the story was mostly narration with little dialogue.

Some action was interspersed among the elaborate descriptions and the workings of the ship, usually relating to escapes. Most of the characters were fully developed and had a life of their own and the author provided considerable conflict between the captain and her mother and sister.

I enjoyed reading the book, except for a few of the things I mentioned and I struggled with the star rating. The rating aside, if the reader enjoys maritime adventures, fantasies, character introspections, or a novel filled with literary prose, the reader should enjoy it.
3.0 out of 5 stars The story is interesting... 22 Aug. 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
...well written and I enjoyed it. Then it just ended. I felt like someone who was ambling along the pier and fell off the end.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average read! 7 Jun. 2013
By Michelle Michaud - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written story with great detail in the descriptions.

When you begin reading this story there is a slow and steady attention to the details in Mina's thoughts and surroundings which immediately draws you into wanting to know more about this little charachter...as you progress there are many directions in the story that keep you reading to figure out where this is all leading to. Then you reach the point where everything falls into place and your eyes are opened to the unique and interesting story the author has woven for you. I look forward to the second book in the series impatiently!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars RICH and Complex 28 July 2013
By GPA9801 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't review many books, but I liked this because it was both familiar and foreign with the magical other dimensional sort of plot. It is one I will probably have to read again to be able appreciate more of it's nuances. It was easy to like the characters and dislike the bad ones, but I felt kind of sorry for all of them as only cogs in the wheel. I gave it only 4 stars because there were times when I thought the author could have explained the current circumstances more clearly. Then again, maybe obscure was his intention. In any case, it was an unusual and enjoyable read.
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