I’d read positive reviews about Ginn Hale’s books – and wow! This exceeded my expectations. I have to admit, I knew this wasn’t from a mainstream publisher, and also that it’d been released as an online serial, and both of those things made me doubtful. But I have to say, there’s absolutely no reason Hale shouldn’t be picked up by a mainstream publisher (if she wants to be – I don’t know). The writing is excellent, and the story is a fresh and interesting take on the theme of people from our world being transported into another land and forced to make their way. (I'd definitely recommend this for fans of Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry).
John is a graduate student. His roommate Kyle is a little weird and disturbing, with his scars and his tendency to carry weapons and disappear without explanation. But John needs the rent money – and, though he doesn’t really want to admit it, Kyle is pretty hot, too. But when Kyle’s gone, rent is due, and a letter arrives for his roommate, John gets nosy and opens the letter. (It feels like it contains a key, and he suspects Kyle might be returning his house key and not coming back.) It IS a key – but not the house key. It’s the key that ends up transporting John and his two best friends: the new-agey psychic Laurie and her boyfriend Bill, into another land.
Little could John have guessed that his roommate was the Khalil, one of the only adepts able to make the dangerous crossing between worlds, and that his assignment was to involve killing John, who may be the prophecied Rifter, who could destroy both worlds.
There are a few disorientingly abrupt transitions, and some events go implied when I would actually rather have read about them. It’s also by no means a complete story – there are sequels. But I really do want to read those sequels.