Book Reviews

Review — Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, Book #1 in the Doon series. Source: Library. Format: Hardcover, 395 pages, Blink, HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc., 2013.

Doon is a wonderfully fun and romantic novel about two best friends who find themselves magically transported to the mythical land of Doon. Inspired by the old musical Brigadoon, Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon have collaborated to write a book I laughed at, rolled my eyes at, and couldn’t put down. It’s brimming with musical theater references, dashing Scottish princes, and evil witchcraft–doesn’t that sound great?

Our two heroines are Veronica and McKenna, though the majority of the chapters are Veronica’s. Vee is the quieter one, the romantic one, the bookish one. Kenna’s the sarcastic one, the logical one, the future Broadway star. Both girls have their strengths and weaknesses, though I think I liked Kenna a bit more. And their Scottish princes… Veronica’s is Jamie, heir to the throne, designated “kilt boy”, and a guy with major mood swings who I was fed up with for probably two thirds of the book. Vee’s had visions/dreams/hallucinations of him prior to her strange Scottish summer vacation, and their destinies are somehow linked through something called a Calling… Kenna’s prince is Duncan, the younger brother, a charming and funny young man who was just helplessly in love with her. He was adorable. The four main characters were very different from one another and I liked them all very much by the book’s end after seeing them grow. (That climax, though… It was a little too unbelievable.)

Doon is pretty interesting. The gateway to this hidden kingdom only opens up to the present day world (and vice versa) every hundred (?) years. (The math was either confusing or I just skimmed over it. Not ashamed.) It’s like medieval Scotland, but with certain modern-day aspects like plumbing and sushi and pizza. There’s a nice diversity of people, too, since people from the present day can choose to stay in Doon if they stumble upon it during the one day the bridge links the two times. But in other aspects Doon was lacking in the world building department. There was no explanation of how the whole kingdom was run or how everything was sustained. And is Doon only limited to the city and the immediate surrounding landscape, or are there other towns, other countries we didn’t see? I hope there’s more world building in the sequel, Destined for Doon.

I wasn’t aware until after reading Doon that it is actually a Christian book, being published by Blink, an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Yes, there are some parts where a Protector is mentioned, but I just thought this was normal–that it was just the faith of the people of Doon, the faith of the people of medieval Scotland. Religion wasn’t a big deal at all here; neither Veronica nor McKenna were stated as being Christian and I never got a Christian vibe from this book. I am not a religious person so I probably wasn’t even looking for it, and it’s subtle enough that I was unaware until I looked up the book’s information for this review. But now I know, and so do you!

Most of Doon is really just the girls and the princes falling in love. It’s entertaining but not unlike lots of other Young Adult books where romance plays a larger part. The thing that sets this book apart is that it’s based on a play, Brigadoon (not a classic fairy tale for a change–though I do absolutely adore fairy tale retellings), and takes place in Scotland. (I can’t think of another book right now that takes place in Scotland. Ireland, yes, Wales, I think, if I’m not mistaken, but not Scotland.) Witty heroines, hot princes, fantastic lands, and crazy witches are pretty common in YA literature these days–but who doesn’t appreciate the abundance of them? Overall, I loved Doon. I knew I’d really enjoy it and my expectations were certainly met. It’s a fast read, it’s got some action, lots of angst, magic, and is just a really fun adventure. I highly recommend it.

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