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Beyond the Black Door

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  126 reviews

Beyond the Black Door is a young adult dark fantasy about unlocking the mysteries around and within us—no matter the cost ...

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers—like Kamai and her mother—can journey into other people's souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul


Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Imprint
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AdriAnne Yep, there is! The book has ace (asexual) romance. The heroine is not aromantic (well, she's demi-biromantic). In case there is confusion, romantic…moreYep, there is! The book has ace (asexual) romance. The heroine is not aromantic (well, she's demi-biromantic). In case there is confusion, romantic attraction and sexual attraction are different things, and someone can be romantically inclined while being asexual--or sexually inclined without being romantic, or any combination thereof. Asexual =/= aromantic. :)(less)
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Nilufer Ozmekik
As soon as I read the blurb and saw the amazing cover, I clicked to request and when I saw it on my dashboard, I thanked my lucky stars and wore my dancing shoes to perform a scene from singing in the rain but I forgot I was living in LA and it rarely rains here but I kept on dancing!

I think I created to shine the dark objects and show its beauty by sharing my long and appreciative sentences. When it comes something dark, twisty, edgy, my ascendant sign Scorpio takes the front seat to dr
Chelsea Humphrey
Please do not let my 3 star rating dissuade you from picking up this book, because Beyond the Black Door has a multitude of remarkable aspects going for it. The atmosphere is dreamy and lush, and honestly Strickland is a knockout at creating a setting that comes to life. Could get lost in her dreamy world 10/10 times. My issues were personal, not objective, and lie within the author's choice to do more "telling than showing" when it comes to the world-building and initial story setup. The plot is unique a ...more
Feb 27, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Hey all! Now that the cover is out in the wild, I figured I’d share a bit more insider-info about BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR. This is a YA dark fantasy with court intrigue, assassinations, fancy dresses, twisty romance, evil love interests, a fair bit of blood, and cool stuff like bottomless staircases in endless dark castles. It should appeal to fans of Beauty and the Beast retellings (though it’s not a retelling, itself), Phantom of the Opera, and Labyrinth. Also, there are lots of queer characters ...more
May 04, 2019 marked it as most-anticipated  ·  review of another edition
Netgalley just came through with approving me for an ARC of this, idk what kind of book gods are looking upon me but regardless, thank you book gods!!!


A main character who is asexual? Set in a fantasy world?? With a stunning cover like THAT????

*breaks down door*
Who do I have to bribe to get my hands on a copy of this?
Apr 24, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This (ʘ‿ʘ)
(ʘ‿ʘ) Cover
Is (ʘ‿ʘ)
(ʘ‿ʘ) Everything

| Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Buy this book
ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
Beyond the Black Door follows Kamai, a Soulwalker that can enter people's souls or Nehyn, a representation of one's soul.
Every time Kamai visits someone's Nehyn there's a Black Door that follows her. Kamai's mother is hiding secrets and tells her never, never to open that door. However, like a good old fairytale, circumstances lead the heroine to open it.
What's beyond the Black Door? Kamai will find
Candace Robinson
I loved the dark and twisty elements but I just couldn’t connect to the story or the characters. It had diversity and interesting things but I just wanted something more from the characters I guess. But if you’re looking for unique concepts then you might want to check this one out!
rachel ☾
Dark fantasy. Morally grey, Slytherin characters. Court intrigue. #Ownvoices ace rep. Soulwalking. Phantom of the Opera atmosphere. Fancy dresses. Endless castles. Is there any doubt why I was intrigued by Beyond a Black Door?

“I simply adore the delicate way you put things. How you cover the truth in softness to make it less sharp. Rose blossoms over thorns.”

From the very first page, I found myself transported into Kamai’s world. The idea of soulwalking and this haunting, forbidden Black Doo/>
The Nerd Daily
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Annie Deo

Do you like dark fantasy? Did you watch Labyrinth and wish that the Goblin King would romantically sweep you around a ballroom? Are you one of the Phantom of the Opera fans that think Christine made a mistake and should’ve chosen Erik? Fascinated by the myth of Hades and Persephone? Well, here’s the perfect book for you!

First you may want to check out the content warnings posted by the author if you have any potential
Julie Zantopoulos
"You're mine. I embraced you before your mother did. My lips touched your brow before hers. I protected you from the world first."

This novel said so much about the gender and sexuality spectrum, about the many shades and varying levels of gender and sexual attraction and all within a dark and dangerous fantasy. It was pretty romance heavy but I was there for the forbidden dark nature and didn't mind it at all. I found the story to be compelling and interesting, the discussion and normalization
Beyond The Black Door is a dark fantasy that follows an asexual and demi-biromantic protagonist who can walk souls through her journey on seeking revenge for the death of a close one but essentially, about the black door she comes across during her soul-walks because that door is holding someone—or something—that might be the reason for the darkness spreading in her life and her world.

Consider reading this review on my blog!
Beyond The Black Door is a dark fantasy that follows an asexual and demi-biromantic protagonist who can walk souls through her journey on seeking revenge for the death of a close one but essentially, about the black door she comes across during her soul-walks because that door is holding someone—or something—that might be the reason for the darkness spreading in her life and her world.

Consider reading this review on my blog!

Solar, Lunar, Earthen. Cerebral, subconscious, physical. Spirit, soul, body.

➝ Sum it up in points!

✔ Concept of walking souls (nehym)
✔ Sexually diverse cast
✔ Colored characters
✔ Asexual & demi-biromantic protagonist
✔ Asexual love interest (asexual romance)
✔ Asexual/trans and gay side characters
✔ Genuine support for sex-workers
✔ Dark, evil vibes intertwined with bright motives
✔ Shocking revelations
✔ Secret organizations
✔ Intriguing villain
✔ Intricate world-building
✔ Mystery meets fantasy
✔ Strong female protagonist

"Steel in someone's hand can be used for food or ill; it is not for the blacksmith to decide. He creates the weapon, not what is done with it."

➝ Trigger Warnings

⇾ Shying away from one's sexual identity due to societal call
⇾ Internalized acephobia; later resolved
⇾ Emotionally abusive relationship
⇾ Kidnapping
⇾ Birth control manipulation by partner, results in pregnancy
⇾ Mother's death
⇾ House burning up in flames
⇾ Feeling 'broken' due to lack of sexual desire
⇾ Men claiming women as 'mine'
⇾ Father rejecting his daughter
⇾ Ill-statements about pleasure workers
⇾ Exploration of sexual identity through conversation held in a close-knit group
⇾ Brutal stabbing & throat-slicing

⇾ Plot

The complex plot of this story is a strong aspect: the revenge for a close one's death soon becomes a seductive mystery intertwined with an evil element spreading through this world, while the characters are exploring their sexual identities and developing their arcs too. The main protagonist is a 'soulwalker'—she can enter people's souls in the sleeping realm—and witnesses a black door every time she walks a soul. The door is locked and that's how her mother wanted it to be. But curiosity reaches a level when it can no longer be ignored and that sparks an event in this story that brings even more intrigue to the entire plot.

"Never apologize for who you are. You are a complete soul..."

⇾ Setting

The world-building is so intricate and detailed, it brings this fictional world to life. From the scene descriptions to the various outfits, skin colors, and professions being mentioned, the world appears diverse and real enough to imagine the story unfolding in it. Speaking of the vibes, there is a subtle hint of light among the dark clouds evidently floating through the entire story. Some scenes and instances give a spooky feel too and are perfect for readers who prefer to be lightly horrified before the sun rises again. Not only this, secret organizations bring a more hidden world under the light and that creates even more excitement.

⇾ Writing

The writing is another strong aspect of Beyond The Black Door. It lays out the story in a smooth manner and allows the readers to connect with the characters through their dialogues. The voice given to each character, in terms of their speech, is distinct and sits well with their established or growing personalities.

"Sometimes we actually help people sort out their confusion. To come to know themselves better. Find peace with the truth."

⇾ Characters

The characters are very different from each other but are still tied up together by a string of secrets waiting to be disclosed.

✹ Kamai: female protagonist, ace + demi-biromantic, soulwalker, hates when men try to 'claim' her, emotional but logical, brave enough to walk into unexpected places.
✹ Vehyn: male villain, ace love interest, mysterious and intriguing, doesn't disclose any secrets and that gets annoying at times but you still love him for the slight smirks and dark aura.
✹ Razim: straight male protagonist, Kamai's fake step-brother, part of a secret organization, wants to protect the female MC but he needs protection too.
✹ Nikha: asexual and trans side character. addresses switching pronouns, fighter and great with blades, Kamai's best friend, will kill you if try to hurt her loved ones.

"Take it back. Say it isn't true, that I'm not yours." I paused. " And then godsdamned apologize."

⇾ Representation

Beyond the Black Door deserves all the praise for a great representation in terms of exploring and concluding one's sexual identity. Though, I'm not a part of the represented community so my opinions should be considered secondary to an ownvoices reader. The strongest bit about the representation was the metaphorical use of a moon chart to explain the different sexual identities and even the varying degrees to which someone might belong to that particular identity. Not only was it a great way for someone to understand how nothing about sexuality is black and white, but it also showcased a great discussion among characters in a fantasy world regarding sexuality.

I simply couldn't imagine it. I had no desire to run a household, to have children, or to even participate in the act that led to children.

Moving on to the asexual representation, the story definitely shows a great arc of the MC questioning her identity, coming to terms with it, and finally embracing it with all the love she has—and should be having—for herself. In an environment where sex workers are common and is also a potential career choice for her, she discovers her asexuality. The representation of a trans character was also appropriately subtle and smooth with the character's personality being projected before bringing his/her label to light. However. the trans character does mention at some point that he prefers the male pronouns but is still addressed by she/her by the MC—which has been explained by the author here.

Overall, Beyond The Black Door is perfect for fans of YA dark fantasy who are interested in a strong female MC and an intriguing villain set in a world of secrets, mythology-derived rivalry, and sexual diversity.

October 16, 2019 Full review to come!

🔅soulwalker - can visit people's souls
🔅ace + demi-biromantic MC
🔅asexual romance (ace love interest)
🔅ace/trans & gay SCs
🔅dark fantasy
🔅intriguing villain
🔅spooky vibes

October 3, 2019 I thought seeing a book being a 'dark fantasy' is all I needed but this one has an ace MC and I-I'm just so happy and excited for this.

Yay! I'm a part of a blog tour meant for this stunning read. Thank you so much, FFBC and A.M. Strickland!
Oct 18, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
DNF at 13% (though I was considering it around 5%..)

Just not feeling this one. I was pulled in by the ace rep and while the worldbuilding (character's ability?) is sorta intriguing.. I'm just not feeling it.
⚔ Silvia ⚓
Oct 03, 2019 marked it as anticipated-2019  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rep-bi, rep-ace
Apparently the MC is a biromantic asexual and there's a villain romance 👀👀👀
Tiffany Bookwormgram
2.5/3 stars
I’m going to be generous and round up.

Immediate thoughts (pardon the rambles):

I had HIGH hopes for this one. Imagine my disappointment at the 80% mark when it was still Going Nowhere.

Listen, this book has some really cool concepts. I mean, soulwalkers and everyone’s different soul houses and the creepy ass Darkness should have SHINED here. Instead we listened to the MC’s meandering inner-monologue the whole time while Nothing Happened. But fear not, it all gets wra
This book was so addicting and so good. There were times where I couldn't pick it up because I knew I'd never put it down. I stayed up way later than usual last night to finish it. The world building and the mythology and so intricate and unique and well built. Asexuality is beautifully explored. The relationships are complex and incredible. There is a trans character who realizes on page that they're trans, but still asks to be referred to by the gender and name they were assigned at birth, so ...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
okay this visiting other people’s souls thing was at a 20/10 and apparently it's also queer and i'm just?? god i'm so blest
✨Brithanie Faith✨
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kamai and her mother are Soulwalkers- which means they can journey into other people's souls while they are asleep. Some souls are lush, beautiful gardens- others dark, terrifying things, and in every soul Kamai comes across a black door; one her mother constantly warns she must never open-no matter what, but when tragedy strikes- all of those warnings are ignored and the black door is opened.

I haven't been able
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a reader who enjoys the plot of the story rather than romance.

This book was a beautiful tale with an intricate worldbuilding which gave me Kamai, a Soul Walker who could enter souls, Nehyn, and get all the secrets

Every time Kamai entered a soul, there was a black door following her. She had been warned never to open that door by her mother. Circumstances changed when her mother was killed and she had to live with an unknown father. Curiosity and boredom killed the ca
This book has a fantastic cover, an intriguing premise, and queer rep. Sadly, that's where the list of things I liked ends. I really, really wanted to love this book. It has been an anticipated read since April -- and here I am in August, having finished the book over a painful few days, writing this review rather reluctantly.

I read this with Tiffany and we had pretty similar thoughts on everything. The characters were flat and unbelievable (MC who vacillates between painfully naive and sud
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, arc
Unlike anything I've ever read before. The mythology of the world in Beyond the Black Door is so interesting (three gods representing the sun, moon and earth) and woven into the story beautifully.

I love a good romance in my fantasy books, so I wasn't sure how the story would play out with a asexual main character, but I really appreciate how the author presented Kamai's feelings - especially in all the ways being biromantic asexual is nuanced.

All the twists and secrets kept me on my
Jun 26, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Book *has an own voices asexual rep*

Me, crying: Everything I am. Everything I have. Just take it.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, lgbtq
Beyond the Black Door is a serious page-turner that combines thrilling fantasy and dark romance with a beautiful approach to understanding gender and sexuality and a nuanced consideration of love, friendship, and potentially destructive relationships. Perhaps we cannot choose who we love, but we can choose how to act on it. I could not get enough of it and wanted read it all in one sitting! (alas, life got in the way of that) While there are a lot of differences, I suspect many fans of the Grish ...more
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
*tagging this as it has an ace mc I believe?
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
So. This book was a LOT. I picked it up for the asexuality rep bc hello it is I an asexual person! And I want to say first off - the ace rep was FLAWLESS. I loved seeing my sexuality in a fantasy book. However, as someone critiquing a fantasy book (ace stuff aside)...I actually had some issues with it. And I want to be honest about it all because I think people should know.


One of my FAVORITE things about this book was the little moon chart that explained ge
dark fantasy with a beautiful cover that has an ace/ace romance and several queer side characters?? GIVE ME

(it does have a couple of trigger warnings that I'm not sure about, but I think the pros outweigh the cons for me.)
Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
You can find this review on my blog Shades of Paper.

“Perhaps that was for the best. Some secrets weren’t meant to be discovered. Some doors not meant to be opened.”

I was so anticipating this book because the premise sounded absolutely fantastic and like something that was right up my alley, and I’m always on the hunt for morally grey villains and strong heroines, so I had such high hopes when it came to Beyond the Black Door, and overall, though I it had some really great elements that I enjoyed a/>
Oct 03, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ace-rep, fantasy, lgbtqa
Rec-It Rachel
GAH so good
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Kamai struggles with her asexuality, coming to terms with the words to describe how she feels in Beyond the Black Door. The conversations on the page about finding her words and watching the characters around her talk about how they identify (trans, gay, and ace) in this fantasy world was fabulous. But besides this phenomenal cast of queer characters, Beyond the Black Door include
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