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Book of the Month - The Dark Portal


The Dark Portal

My arm is back to 100(ish) percent and so THE BOOK OF THE MONTH IS BACK! Yay?

This month’s book is this first entry in a trilogy I read a long time ago when I was still in middle school. It’s not a terribly long read, and it’s definitely aimed at the young adult audience. But it’s also got its dark moments and some cool ideas. It was interesting enough to me that I did in fact read the next two books (although I recently learned that there is a prequel now that I have to read).


The Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis

239 pages

Genre(s): Fiction, Fantasy

The Dark Portal is available physically, digitally, and in audiobook form on Amazon. Though you may have to buy it secondhand if you go physical. Sorry.

The Dark Portal is part of the Deptford Mice Trilogy; more specifically it’s book one. I thought I would start you off at the beginning of the story, it seems to be the best approach. The books follow a group of mice, who like lots of fantasy stories that follow intelligent animals have a society reminiscent of human society. The story starts off just delving into how this mouse society works. And honestly, it’s pretty cool. They have their own way of life, complete with rituals and customs and all the interesting little world building details nerds like me like to geek out over. The mice have their own perils to face, mostly from rats who, despite also being given human-like intelligence and personalities, are still like real life rats. And by that I mean, they aren’t above eating mice.

Yes, this “young adult” book really does get that dark. It’s awesome.

Dark Portal imageBy the way, there are pics like this scattered here and there throughout the book. This isn't even one of he dark ones.

The rats aren’t just some random threat either, they are a driving force behind the story. See, without spoiling too much, the story mostly revolves around some young mice that get wrapped up in an adventure that is tied to Jupiter, the Rat God. On this adventure they will have to deal with the aforementioned murderous rats, a fortuneteller rat with her own agenda, and so much more horrific dangers.

The Dark Portal is a very cool and interesting fantasy story that I was very invested in as a kid. As I said above, I actually recently found out that the author continued the series with a trilogy of prequel stories. I would not have found out about those books had I not had to look up info for this Book of the Month entry, so even I am getting new books to read from these blogs.

I hope you’ll check out The Dark Portal. The series deserves more recognition and while not the best books ever written, are more than worth your time if you enjoy darker (but not like super dark) fantasy stories. 

That’s it for this month. See you next month with a new book. Happy reading!

Bonus Author Trivia

Robin Jarvis

  • Worked in television as a model-maker after college.
  • The Deptford Mice series were adapted into a stage play by Tiny Dog Productions.
  • The Dark Portal was his first novel, and was runner up for the Smarties Book Prize (which was an award sponsored by Nestlé) in 1989.

- Thank You For Reading, And Remember: Hot Dogs are Sandwiches. #TeamSandwich

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About dephoenixone of us since 10:41 AM on 03.01.2016

Former Head of Destructoid's Unofficial Book Club, Former Head of the Unofficial Book of the Month Club, Wes's Unofficial Father, and Self-Appointed Supreme High Priest of #TeamSandwich.

Super Mario Bros. 3 was the very first game (I remember) playing. Since then I have been a big fan of the medium.

I'm an avid gamer and aspiring writer. RPGs and platformers are my bread and butter, but I'm also a fair action/adventure guy too. Really there are no genres I outright dislike, just individual games. Every game genre offers something different, and I've come to love the variety. I feel the same way with comics, movies, manga, etc. Not really hung up on "genres", I just like what I like, and I don't care what genre it is.

Recently I've been trying to "break out of my shell" by getting out of my comfort zone and trying things I normally would not. Because of this I have discovered lots of new games, books, manga, shows, and movies that I now love. I do my part now to try to help others expand their horizons and get out of their own familiar space and try new things.

Destructoid has been a big help in getting me to broaden my horizons, and interact with more people outside my familiar circle of friends and acquaintances. I've come to love this site, and look forward to sharing more with you knuckleheads.