A looming supernova. A long-lost starship. A hero turned evil.
Olive Joshi never meant to fall through a portal into her own abandoned novel, much less kill her protagonist and resurrect her as a villain. Now she’s on the run in a universe quickly spiraling out of her control.
After narrowly escaping Coseema with her life, Olive and her friends head for a distant planet in search of the legendary starship the Wave-Rider, which may be the only hope for the doomed people of Lyria. But the voyage there is littered with obstacles—the tyrannical ruler of a dying colony, a mysterious spacefarer, the ever-present threat of Coseema, and Olive’s own obsessive fears. Back on Lyria, Olive’s allies face obstacles of their own as they vie with the cruel emperor Burnash, while Burnash himself chafes under Coseema’s control. Olive, armed with her omniscient journal, finds comfort in reading along with her friends’ adventures. But when time runs out, she must embark on a risky collision course with her former heroine, one that may force her to give up what she treasures most.
The Twin Stars and the Silver Sail are in the portal fantasy subgenre—an ordinary person is whisked away to a magical world through some kind of doorway, tunnel, or other type of portal. In no particular order (except #1), here are my top 10 portal fantasies:
1. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – This was my all-time favorite movie as a child, and my mother read the first of the books to me as well. For a while, when I was four or five years old, I insisted people address me as Dorothy.
2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – I loved Alice’s zany, surreal adventures down the rabbit hole.
3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – This one reminded me a bit of Alice, with its clever wordplay and delightful bizarreness.
4. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – While I haven’t read the book, the movie version really captured my imagination as a kid. And that scene was pretty much the saddest thing I’d ever seen. You know the one. Scarred for life. Thanks for that.
5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis – I think every kid at one point or another has walked into their closet with their eyes closed hoping they’ll come out in Narnia. It hasn’t worked for me yet, but hey, you never know!
6. The Adventures of Kate trilogy by T. A. Barron – I read Heartlight and The Ancient One numerous times as a kid (I only realized there was a third book later). I found Kate to be a strong, brave, relatable protagonist.
7. The Fairyland Books by Catherynne M. Valente – I love this charming series about a girl named September who has numerous adventures in a fantasy world.
8. Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi – Isekai (portal fantasy) is a very popular genre in Japan. A prime example is this manga and anime about a girl who falls through a well into a land filled with monsters and demons.
9. The Labyrinth, directed by Jim Hensen – Who doesn’t want to be captured by a hot goblin king? I think this movie sparked my lifelong crush on David Bowie.
10. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – I’m cheating here because I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s been on my TBR list forever. The premise: a Home for children who have returned from their respective fantasy worlds. What happens once the adventure ends?
About the author
Bridgette Dutta Portman is an author, playwright, and teaching artist. Dozens of her plays have been produced across the United States and overseas. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University, as well as a PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine. She is past president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and is currently a member of Same Boat Theater Collective, the Pear Playwrights’ Guild, and the Dramatists’ Guild. She recently joined the board of the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, CA. The Twin Stars is her debut novel, and the first of a planned trilogy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Deepanshu and their two young children
One winner wins a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card