Book Trial: The Return of the Key

Posted May 15, 2015 by Kayla in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Review Type:

The Return of the Key Book Cover The Return of the Key
Alisha Nurse
Fantasy, Young Adult
Alisha Nurse
November 30, 2014

16 year old Eliza Aurelio grapples with her mixed race identity amid rising racial tensions on her little island. For their safety, Eliza’s grandfather sends her and her grandmother to a quiet town in Southwest England to stay with a relative. But this otherwise quiet town has been turned upside down by people mysteriously disappearing. Eliza eventually encounters a magical but dangerous realm accessible through a doorway in the town, and sees its connection to the abductions. She intends to put things right, only wanting to protect her family. To do this, she must return a stolen key to lock the open doorway. But Eliza has to overcome her own inner conflicts if she is to stand any chance of being successful and leaving the other realm alive.
Suspenseful and enchanting, The Return of the Key explores the power of love, sacrifice and the journey to self acceptance.

Warning: This article may contain spoilers.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The author has never asked me or tried to influence me for a positive review, nor have I promised one.

My Impressions:

The book started off a little slow, but it did lay the foundation for one of the main conflicts in the story: believing in yourself.


Eliza Aurelio, travels to England with her grandmother, to escape riots and racially spurred unrest in Trinidad, during elections. She has been having a mysterious recurring dream. Through out the story, Eliza continuously struggles with the fact that she is mixed raced, and that she doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. In England, she is even more different however, on her first day of school she makes a friend, Gwen. The town is plagued by strange disappearances, and soon Gwen confesses that she is part faery. She tells Eliza that creatures from the faery realm are kidnapping humans. Unfortunately, Eliza is kidnapped, and Gwen has to go into the other realm to save her. After this, the two of them, along with some unlikely friends try to return the key that keeps the doorways between the realms locked. In the other realm (Annwn – pronounced Anoon), Eliza and Gwen both are outcast, except here, Eliza is an outcast for being a human, and Gwen is the half-blood, who is feared and scorned. Any one who helps them, runs the risk of paying the ultimate price. The story is filled with action, friendship and a budding love.

Eliza and Gwen are both mixed race, yet there are opposites in the way they react to it. Gwen is fearless, determined, and confident. Eliza is filled with self-doubt, and lack of esteem. Both girls are quickly drawn to each other although, for Gwen it is because she has dreamed of meeting Eliza.

Of their two companions, Arden is the most fleshed out. He also dreams of Eliza and this is why he chooses to help her and Gwen and his cousin, Arrae joins him when he asks. I wish that I could have known more about Arrae. I feel like he was there but barely there. He was missing from a chunk of the story and there was no real explanation for what had happened to him.

There were definitely some parts where I had no idea how Eliza would make it out alive, and there were some surprising help along the way that I didn’t expect. The story was written in a captivating way.

About the Author:

Alisha Nurse grew up on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. She holds an MA in International Journalism from the University of Westminster, London. Alisha loves exploring culture and ethnic identities having come from a mixed race family. She loves curry, sharing stories and talking to random people on public transportation. Alisha lives with fibromyalgia and clinical depression is keen to raise awareness. She blogs about her experiences at
[source: Goodreads]

The Verdict:

Highly Recommended

Rating Report
Overall: 4

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