Fantasy Review: UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by T.J. Klune
Published by Tor Books on September 21, 2021
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
T.J. Klune’s new novel Under the Whispering Door is pure, heartwarming magic. I loved this story so much that I know nothing I write here is going to convey just how special this book is. I’m going to try though so bear with me.
The story follows Wallace Price and it actually begins with his death. Wallace was apparently such a jerk while he was alive that only four people show up for his funeral — his ex-wife and his three partners from his law firm — and based on their comments, they all clearly did not like him. Also in attendance at the funeral, is Wallace himself, or rather the ghost of Wallace. He’s somewhat in disbelief that he’s actually dead and mad because he still had so much work to do, cases to prepare for, etc. He’s also furious about the nasty comments the funeral attendees are making about him.
Wallace is distracted by all of this, however, when he realizes that a mystery woman who is also attending the funeral can actually see him in his ghost form. She introduces herself as Mei and explains that she is a Reaper who has come to collect his soul and help him to cross over to the afterlife. Instead of taking him directly to the afterlife, however, Mei instead leads the reluctant Wallace to a tea shop located in a small, remote village. There she introduces him to Hugo, the owner of the tea shop who also happens to be a ferryman to souls who need to cross to the afterlife. Wallace insists he isn’t ready to leave his life behind and thus begins a journey with Hugo that allows him to fully discover and explore all the things he missed out on in life while he was so fully obsessed with work and power, including love, kindness, and family, just to name a few biggies.
This story is filled with laugh out loud moments as Wallace adjusts to his “life” as a ghost and particularly as he is constantly teased by Mei and punked by another resident ghost, Hugo’s grandfather. Hugo’s grandfather steals every scene he is in, as does Hugo’s loyal ghost dog, Apollo. Aside from being hilarious though, Under the Whispering Door is also just an all around moving, emotional story because of its focus on love and loss, and living life to the fullest. It explores death and how we all deal with loss and grief differently, and I guess maybe because I had just lost a loved one right before I read this book, that aspect of the story really resonated with me. I cried just as much as I laughed, especially because Wallace grows so much throughout the story that I went from hating him and thinking he was the worst person ever to absolutely adoring him and never wanting him to pass on and leave Hugo and Mei, his wonderful found family, behind. That’s a pretty powerful transformation for a character to make and T.J. Klune does it in such a beautiful and realistic way.
I could go on and on about everything I loved about this book, but you’ll really want to experience all of its magic yourself. Under the Whispering Door is a book that’s going to stay with me for a long time and it has definitely placed T.J. Klune on my list of auto-buy authors.
I don’t read much fantasy so I was prepared to just move on…that is, until I read your review. I’m hooked, Suzanne💜
Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café recently posted…Forgotten in Death by J. D. Robb
I hope you love it, Jonetta. It really was just such a special read for me. 🙂
Ooh this sounds so good. It sort of reminds me of a retelling of A Christmas Carol😁 Awesome review!
Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…THE BONE SHIP’S WAKE by R.J. Barker – Review
Yes! I hadn’t thought of the comparison to A Christmas Carol, but Wallace’s transformation definitely has a bit of a Scrooge vibe to it.
Sounds like a great book. I have seen this book pop on goodreads. Will be adding it to my TBR
Hena Tayeb recently posted…Perfect Indoor Houseplants for a Brown Thumb
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂
Fantastic review! I do read fantasy and hadn’t heard of this one.
I haven’t seen many reviews for it yet, but I’m hoping to see it get more love because it’s such a special book.
I love the feeling of discovering a book that is so special it’s hard to even put it into words. Sounds like this was that kind of book for you. Seems like Klune did a great job of blending the emotional aspects with some humor.
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…The Sunday Post #262 | September 26, 2021
He really did a great job. I love those reads that can make me laugh and cry like that.
All I see is raves. One of these days, I will cave and read these books. Glad it was such a huge hit for you
Sam@WLABB recently posted…Sundays with Sam – The Sunday Post
I haven’t seen too many other reviews for this book yet so I’m glad to hear it’s getting some love. It’s a pretty special book, both whimsical and poignant all at the same time.
This sounds like a beautiful mix of emotions!
It really is. The story has so many layers to it.
Great review! TJ Klune really has a knack for balancing heartbreaking and heartwarming elements in his story—I was crying just as much as I was laughing in this one. Wallace’s growth throughout the story was so good too! This definitely solidifies Klune as a fave 🙂
Dini @ dinipandareads recently posted…Book Review: The Rake of Hearts by Emily Windsor
I really need to read more of his books. I’ve read 3 so far and loved them all.
This sounds beautiful Suzanne but I don’t want to cryyyy.
Amber Elise @ Du Livre recently posted…Black Friday Read-a-thon | Year 5!
It has lots of fun moments too though so you’ll laugh and maybe cry, lol.
I’m so excited for this book so I’m glad to hear you loved it! I hope to start it on audiobook as soon as my current listen is finished 🙂
I hope you love it!