When I’m not busy writing, or drawing, or playing music, I’m busy reading. Or sleeping. There’s only so many hours in a day, after all, and I love to take naps.
But the book I’m here to tell you about! I read fellow Royal James Publishing author Steen Jones’s contemporary fantasy book The Door Keeper last week, and I’m gonna tell you all about it.
First and foremost, you should read it. The Door Keeper is a pleasant, heartwarming novel, filled with believable characters, an intriguing mystery, and clever fantasy elements. It never feels trite or cliche, even when dealing with well-worn tropes of the genre (the main character has a mysterious past she knows nothing about and a great destiny! Here’s a brooding man who starts off somewhat combative but comes around and becomes a boon companion and love interest!). It’s a testament to Ms. Jones’ abilities that the character don’t feel flat or their arcs unearned. She excels at the little character moments that make their feel real: the way the protagonist’s daughter, Gabby, goes on and on about filming Youtube videos with her best friend, or the way Eden, the protagonist herself, decides to hide information from her daughter to protect her. It feels natural, as do almost all the character interactions and moments.
I’m not going to go too deep into the plot, as revealing too much does give away some of the twisty surprises Steen Jones has cooked up for her reader. Folks in this book have ulterior motives sometimes, and not everyone is on the up and up like they pretend to be.
What I enjoyed most about The Door Keeper was the way Ms. Jones played with developing exciting and unique worlds for her characters to visit. See, there are all these doors scattered across the earth that act as portals to other worlds, if you happen to have a key to the doors. We see three other worlds in this novel, though the next two books (it’s a planned trilogy) promise visits to other worlds, I hope, because Steen is pretty creative when it comes to these exotic locales.
All of this isn’t to say I didn’t have a couple of issues with the novel. Ms. Jones has a habit of creating a potential obstacle for Eden, then immediately removing that obstacle without any effort on Eden’s part. The not-too-conflicting-conflict makes for some resolutions that are a bit too pat, a little unearned. Eden has all of this internal struggle that we get to see because she’s our narrator, but we don’t really have any external conflict because as soon as she thinks about something being a problem, someone ambles into her path and provides the exact solution she was looking for. There’s also a few bits where the prose isn’t as polished as it could be, though I’m certainly willing to forgive a typo here and there (lord knows I’ve made plenty of my own).
All in all, The Door Keeper is a solid start to a series. Steen Jones creates a wonderful world full of sparkling details and then goes on to create several more worlds with even more details. Her world building is excellent, her character moments are spot on, and the book resolves its central plot in a fairly satisfying way while also setting up the next book in the series. I’m looking forward to whatever is in store for Eden and company next!