Readers who read their latest fantasy novel a long time ago, as well as people who miss Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, or Hayao Miyazaki’s worlds, or Tolkien, or “The Matrix” trilogy for that matter (and they will see why!), will find Doina Roman’s book delightful.
“I mentioned Tolkien and everyone knows the Middle-earth craze he stirred, with so many specialists studying the languages Tolkien had invented, along with his “worlds” and his characters! It is to be expected that other specialists will be born who will look into the phenomenology of “The Threshold”! And when I mentioned “The Matrix” I was thinking of the agents in the movie who can be compared to Doina Roman’s legionnaires who are almost as indestructible!
“Trying not to sound either high-flown or highfalutin, I, a “Normal” wandering the seductive yet dangerous world of a possible future, declare “The Threshold” the apocalypse according to Doina Roman, a treatise on how one can write a dystopia as a story for grown-ups who do not want to be just grown-ups …Adrian George Secară
Doina Roman’s novel “The Threshold” captures readers’ attention from its very first pages thanks to the genuineness of its characters. There is a graduality, which the author masters very well, between the naturalness of the characters and everything that will alter the order and appearance of the fictional world. Doina Roman also has a fine command of the registers of artistic language, allowing readers to be resonant with the world she has created and to get more and more involved in assimilating that world, up to the point where, in the second volume, the author can narratively afford to resort to “Deus Ex Machina”.
“Doina Roman is a „New Weird“ writer because, thanks to her genuine human characters and their adventures, she succeeds in imparting to the other, non-human characters (there are plant and animal species, as well as humanoid species in “The Threshold” and they are not simply decorative, they are introduced for a reason; likewise, there are regular objects that modify reality: an elevator that goes crazy, a bridge that ends when the mood strikes it, a train that can ride to infinity) their own, obviously bizarre logic, fully participating in the people’s “natural” way of being. In this way, we come across continuous feedback loops between description and narration and the result of the reading is powerful – readers do not follow the (mere) unfolding of an adventure, but also the building of a world and the binder of all this is the characters’ credibility. As far as I am concerned, Doina Roman has passed the writer’s test even if I were to consider one aspect alone – her ease in writing both the love story between Lia and Crius and the stories of Cat and the Tax Collector, the two anti-heroes.
( Cătălin Badea
Doina Roman is a poetess of imagination, she gives birth to incredible images, situations and moods all while diverting any sensation of the real, she builds a world of the emotional threshold beyond our perceptions. The effervescence of the author’s imagination is unstoppable and the reader will experience a feeling of being lost within the thicket of unbelievable situations which the writer creates with remarkable ease. Her phrases flow naturally, with no interruptions in rhythm or colour and their continuity stems precisely from the ease of unequivocally expressing a world and an action bordering on the imaginary…
“As a matter of fact, “The Threshold” reads by itself, it is visual, it is cinematographic and should definitely be read from two perspectives: one as a “fantasy” reading, with no socio-emotional implications, no stylistic “depths” and no philosophical “unveilings” and the other one by exploring the very symbols and the depth of the characters’ experiences.Eugen Pohonţu
“The Threshold” is a fantastic story for all ages and has the gift of fascinating its readers just like the fairy tales we listened to or read with bated breath when we were kids waiting to get to the ending where good triumphs over evil. Or so it seems at a first reading. However, in its depth, this novel has the gnomic role to sound the alarm, warning us that we are one step away from self-destruction – “The world, the clans were about to perish impoverished and utterly dehumanised, devoid of feelings, mere slaves, robots whose only wish was to work for the League and for the Oreads…
“The characters in “The Threshold” knowingly lose their good feelings, which are the currency they have to pay in exchange for various favours to the Collectors’ clan which deposits them in the bank of feelings where one can find “pallets of transparent ingots”, stacked like glass bricks, “in which a small ball was floating… … (The brick) had ‘5,000 Blueys’ engraved at the corner, in a filigree pattern.Claudia Minela
The storyline focuses on the destiny of a fantastic world of the future, depicted with talent and humour, where picturesque and picaresque characters contend for feelings (in the first volume) and minds (in the second volume) initially in the possession of the feared collectors and later on out of their hands following events triggered by the struggle for power between various clans.
“Doina Roman’s imaginary is blessed with a blend of humour, adventure and eroticism – outlining, often under the masque of the burlesque, contrasting symbolic valences. The protagonists are memorable, they are in perfect harmony with the intricate and exotic setting in which they live and which they define and represent: the altruistic Lia, a healer in love, the determined and experienced Kat, the former legionnaire Algar (off to find love and discovering heroism), Crius, the split Krabor (first and foremost dedicated to his work as coordinator of law enforcement agents), Neell, the cute and subterranean baby Krac, Cat, the metamorphic thief, the Fare Dodger (a.k.a. “Baconling”), the greedy son of a collector, the honourable dragons Sarkan and Silk Grey and so on…Oliviu Craznic
“Doina Roman’s “The Threshold” differs from other fantasy and Sci-Fi novels that only depict a fictional, non-existing world of impossible things related to gnomes, dragons and other creatures. Readers will have to look deep into her novel because its nucleus contains the very definition of mankind and the book is in itself a fresco of a reality recreated through metaphor and symbol, with the author capturing the exact differences between generations.Adrianna Suduc
When you have finished reading the first volume, besides feeling intensely eager to immediately start the second volume to see what the characters will go through next, you will understand some realities. Mankind deteriorates with each generation, feelings are gradually lost, all our actions are controlled by imposed standards and our attempts to make changes are futile. However, you should never give up on your dreams and on your values because they make you who you really are.Ana Chirali
What can you do when money is not enough and your needs are pressing? How can you pay to support your family, what do you do when the whole world seems to push you down and you do not have enough money to buy, if not some peace and quiet, at least a respite? Those who will step over the Threshold will find the answers, will enter a world that becomes dehumanised, a world that pays for its daily life in its own feelings, willingly giving them up because they are the new currency. As you advance further into this world and discover unimaginable things, the characters’ adventures and destinies captivate you and lure you to be a participant in the construction of the story in “The Threshold”.Leonard Ancuţa
Doina Roman’s characters are natural. Their lines, their actions and the interactions between them show no strain except for the dramatism the narrative itself implies. “The Threshold” is a success. It has all the ingredients of a true, spiced fantasy novel in which love and hate, the real and the unreal, the possible and the impossible, the human and the non-human blend in an irreproachable, ludic-visionary and lucid-intellectual story, a sensible and unpredictable story in which destinies and false projections of those destinies intertwine in an exceptional narrative texture.Cosmin Perţa
First, people wanted to get rid of their fear, cowardice, hatred or jealousy, to forget what they felt so they could be happier. However, the Collectors, the persons who had the power to deprive people of their feelings, could take away more than that. That is how we end up with people who, in order to survive, sell not everything they have but everything they feel… And yet, what kind of life is a life devoid of feelings?Georgiana Vlădulescu
With her three-volume “The Threshold”, Doina Roman has accomplished something only an undeniably talented writer can: she created a world. A fantastic universe with its own logic, justification and coherence, inhabited by strange people and unusual creatures that nevertheless behave, act and engage in dialogue in a natural, realistic and credible manner.
“A universe where the Seniors of Time change worlds, populate them with monsters, destroy civilisations, condemn people to extinction, take control of the elixir of eternal youth … where instead of money or property, collectors take debtors’ feelings or memories or take away years of their lives as repayment of their debts … where time may stand still, people may rise from the dead and the thresholds between worlds are no obstacles for those who are determined to step over. A universe where even objects become alive, turning into memorable characters created with gushing fantasy and a dose of humour.
“A fascinating, tragic, funny world which pulls you and absorbs you into the whirlwind of the novel’s pages just like a tornado. And you cannot put the book down before you have stepped over the Threshold, coming to a surprising ending that will not be disappointing.Rodica Bretin
The world Doina Roman proposes has an infernal, gothic scenography, which is disconcerting in its unreality. It is a place of continuous, unusual metamorphoses. Monstrous, mechanomorphic creatures coexist with beings that still preserve the memory of their own aliveness.
“The Witness Shadow”, although full of spectacular narrative turnarounds, has as its super-theme the melancholy of the lost humanity and the Sisyphean or legitimate attempt to resuscitate it.Teodor Dună
“Doina Roman likes to call things by their true name and to use plain language, without bourgeois prudery. This courage redeems some metronomic measure of the narrative, especially if it avoids turning into some kind of bravado. The best moments of the trilogy are those abounding in fine psychological observations or sketches of non-verbal communication. So, for instance, the last-generation replica of a woman had ‘a sadness behind her greenish eyes which she smothered and kept unwatered…’
“I validate Doina Roman’s trilogy for humour, cinematographic vision, a sense of scandalous language and well-informed fantasy vision.”Felix Nicolau