BUT WITH DREAMS, THERE CAN ALSO BE NIGHTMARES... Lonely and plain-featured, Mona Parker is just another faceless teenager at Spring Hill High School when she angers a beautiful and arrogant classmate. Bullied relentlessly and with nowhere to turn, Mona’s colorless life turns into a hellish existence. Mona considers suicide until one night, Thaddeus Finkle, her guardian angel, appears and offers her a way out;SWAP LIVES WITH ANOTHER: Mona takes the angel up on his offer. She awakes on Meredith, a parallel world of Earth where magic has replaced technology. Mona discovers she is Alexandria, a woman of stunning beauty, and the daughter of a Duke complete with servants and riches. Her wildest dreams have come true.Then she discovers the price of her bargain. Trapped behind the Veil, an impenetrable curtain of magic, the Duchy of Wheel is the last major province still unconquered by the cruel sorceress, Marlinda, the creator of the enchanted barrier. And Marlinda has special plans for Alexandria.Tal, the hotheaded, impulsive Prince and Heir of the Empire of Meredith, has been banished to a remote garrison for his reckless behavior. There he happens upon a group of raiders—one whose leader possesses the means for opening a way through the Veil.Alexandria and Tal’s paths will cross…but in ways neither could ever have imagined.
Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Open Portal is a wonderful leaping point into the Conquest ofthe Veil series and has all of the hallmark elements readers look forin a young adult, coming of age fantasy. The narrative is bothexceptional and believable, and the characters are fantasticallylayered and multi-dimensional. I loved Tal, who is also a point ofview character and (in my opinion) possibly more interesting thanMona/Alexandria. I believe that Michael Scott Clifton shines in twodistinct areas; dialogue and world-building. The descriptions bringevery inch of the Duchy of Wheel to life and I think this series willfind a wide audience among both young and older lovers of fantasyfiction.
From the Author
Would You Exchange Your Life With Someone Else?
You see them every day, yet you rarely know they exist--faceless people leading quietly desperate lives. Unremarkable, they merge with the background camouflaged by their own colorless existence. They come and go, unnoticed by society at large.
As a public educator for 38 years, I saw a number students who fit this description. Often lonely and friendless, they find it hard to fit in. Such students drift from grade-to-grade, campus-to-campus, simply going with the flow like driftwood caught in a stream's current. These individuals are easily bullied and intimidated because they won't complain or make others aware of their predicament.
What would such a student do if offered the opportunity to swap their life with someone else? And in so doing, live a life they could only dream of? What price would they be willing to pay for such an opportunity? More importantly, how would exchanging a life and a destiny change this individual on the inside?
This describes the dilemma my character, Mona Parker, faces in The Open Portal. Like the nameless people I have portrayed, it would be impossible to measure Mona's character, her strength, or her determination. Yet, as Mona's guardian angel, Thaddeus Finkle, said, "it is in the small things one does that can tell you volumes about them."
Like giving back to help others.
I suspect many of us would be surprised if we could somehow discern the depth of character and caring of the shy and quiet people we barely know exist. We might find them to be more empathetic, generous, and yes, even possessed of more courage than we could ever hope to have.
Which leads to the most important question of all. Can such an unlikely heroine make a difference? Next, add in the following elements: An enchanted barrier, a lonely and plain-looking teenager transformed into a beautiful woman, an impulsive and hot-headed young prince, and finally, an evil, malevolent, sorceress whose cruelty knows no bounds.
All these ingredients make up Book I , The Open Portal, in a rousing new fantasy series, Conquest of the Veil