Aussie Book Review: The Portal by S.E. Gilchrist

portal The Portal by S.E. Gilchrist


Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley

Escape Publishing (Harlequin), March 2013

 Synopsis- When Janni, a young salvager, boards a space wreck, she is caught for daring to steal Darkon tech by a patroller and the one man she had thought never to see again. Several months ago she had allowed him to slip past her defences for a brief and wonderful interlude. But with both of them on either sides of the law, they had walked away. Now they are trapped on a wreck and with an alien life-force hunting them. Will the patroller save her or abandon Janni to her fate?

Review- At just 23 pages The Portal is a super short story, though it is marketed as a novella by Escape Publishing. Set in a futuristic scifi setting, Janni is a human in a space wreck and comes up against a Darkon, an alien species whom she’d previously encountered. This time there’s an attraction and they work together to ensure their survival.

This story is difficult for me to review; I did enjoy it but it was way too short. I had a vague idea of why Janni was in outer space and why there was a space wreck, but in the short page count the world-building was quite limited. As was characterisation and romance development. I was aware there’d been some form of interaction between Janni and the Darkon previously, which I assume was because she stole something, given he kept calling her a little thief. But there wasn’t enough back-story for me to want these two to advance. There’s an obvious attraction and a quick sex scene which was quite abrupt. The story spans just one scene so it’s hard to connect with either character in that short space as well as make sense of the scifi setting- which isn’t an easy task for me at the best of times.

The Portal is a well-written short story in a narrative sense but its limited page count forgos characterisation, backstory and romance development. I’m aware the author has a full-length scifi novel published with Escape, Legend Beyond the Stars in a similar setting, so perhaps this short story would make more sense if you read that first. If you’re after a bite-size scifi story with a quick romp, then The Portal may be for you.

Overall Rating


“It was okay”

The Portal can be purchased via Escape Publishing and other leading ebook retailers

This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge:


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