Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: The Doorknob Society by M.J. Fletcher

Title: The Doorknob Society
Author: M.J. Fletcher
Series: The Doorknob Society #1
Pages: 290
Publisher: (?)
Date Published: February 9, 2012
Format: ebook
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Source: Provided by Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Chloe Masters’s world changed in a heartbeat - and all she did was touch a doorknob. When she was young Chloe’s mother vanished. Wracked by feelings of abandonment and anger she lost herself traveling with her father's magic act, where illusions were part of her everyday life. Yet everything changes when they are pursued by a mysterious man in black out to kill her father. Touching a doorknob activates abilities she never knew she had and she finds herself thrust into a world of ancient societies and secrets.When her father disappears it is a race against time to find answers before she loses what is left of her family. Now Chloe must choose who to trust, the man who will do anything for her or the one she can’t stop thinking about.

My Review:The Doorknob Society starts off with a bang. You get slapped in the face with the action of the plot right from page one and it never seems to quit. Literally. The book begins with Chloe Masters breaking and entering into a Parisian governmental office to steal back her and her father's passports. A series of unfortunate events occur, from a silent alarm, to a locked escape entrance, and it seems inevitable that our heroine's adventures will be cut short by the clang of a French prison cell when she is thrust through a mystical door of blue light and power. Without pausing for breath, Chloe, her father, and a sexayyy new addition to the group, Slade, engage in a battle for their lives against men who can do the same types of tricks that Chloe's father can, i.e. produce magical, deadly light in the palms of their hands and create doorways to the unknown out of nothing.

I'll stop here for a minute. If you are confused and bewildered by the events so far, don't worry...both me and Chloe herself are right there with you. Though typically I dislike it when there is so much going on right at the beginning that I don't understand, I was pretty okay with being lost in this case. Why? Because the protagonist was lost in a puddle of confusion right beside you. She's looking at her father, the man she's trusted all her life, and sees a different person. People she's never met who seem to know her are popping up out of the woodwork like they've been there all her life, and things she thought were just her father's magician's act are seeming less and less illusion and more mystical and freaky than ever. I will say that I wish the intro of the love interest was pushed back a few chapters. It was almost too much to try to understand who the main character was, what the plot was, AND (ONE OF) the potential love interests all in the first 10 pages...but I was okay with it. Eventually...

Finally Chloe corners her dad and forces him to explain just what the heck has been going on. He explains to her that she and nearly everyone in her family are not human. They are known as the Old Kind, more specifically as members of the Doorknob Society. In fact, there are many types of Old Kind all divided up into their various guilds, unions, societies, etc. They are known as: The Doorknob Society, Mapmakers Union, Honorable and Venerable Order of Detective Inspectors, the Impossible Engineers and the Skeleton Key Guild. Each group has their own special brands and flavors of powers, but what Chloe's family does is travel from place to place via magical means. All they have to do is generate the weird bluish light when opening a door, and they are pulled through another sort of dimension to where they want to go...though it also has to be connected to a door. Unfortunately, Chloe's Dad has been banished from the society for reasons he won't tell her, and she's left to figure out a lot of unanswered questions on her own.

We then follow Chloe, her new friend Edgar, and of course the wonderful Michael Slade to Paladin Academy. Paladin is the school for all Old Kind. They have to learn about their powers and the school is one place where all of the orders come together and get along. Reading about Chloe's first adventures into the realm between worlds where shops and the school exist was a tad like reading Harry Potter. The same otherworldly feel, where magic exists alongside of us ordinary people, was present. I didn't get the same amazed feeling when experiencing Harry Potter for the first time, but they were in the same ballpark. I did feel that a lot of the details were glossed over a bit. We get kind of a black and white sketch of all of the scenes and settings, but I wanted a full-color HD photograph or something. I will say that I loved that the Old Kind have a vaguely steampunk aspect to them. There isn't much of it, but they have gadgets, dress in  period clothing (sometimes) and mix lots of technology with olden ideas which kind of lays a Steampunk atmosphere that really sets the story apart.

Unfortunately there was a few things that I had some issues with. These "Old Kind" supposedly pre-date man. They apparently existed before there was even a word for "Earth" yet their names don't reflect that. When was the first doorknob invented??? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it was sometime AFTER people created language and called the earth, well...Earth?  And Skeleton Keys must have been created quite a few years after the creation of man as well. There was just a few trips of logic that kind of threw me. I could ignore them, but it felt like some more explanation and thought could have been put into the different orders and societies. Grammatically speaking, and yes...I know this was a kind of ARC version...but there were quite a few grammatical mistakes that pulled me out of the story with a jolt. It was hard to keep reading when I kept having to go back, re-read, and then decipher what the author meant when a sentence or paragraph was written in a confusing or jarring way. Also...there was an intense misuse of question marks. As in...they were used quite often when no questions were being asked. These mistakes also took some of the magic from the story when I would have to wonder if I read something wrong or if it was just another grammatical mistake.

I liked the majority of the characters. All of them, even the supporting characters like Val and Edgar have depth and personality. Yet there was never very much description of any particular character. We don't even know Jessica's name for about 10 chapters after we meet her, just that she is "Stunning". That's it. Not why she was stunning, no height, no body, no hair or eye color...just "stunning". The majority of the characters follow suit and you are left to your own devices to create a picture of them, with tiny clues such as "mystifying eyes" and "cute tousled hair" as your only indicators of what these people look like. Chloe herself only gains a small description of "blond and blue eyed" when we catch a glimpse of her in the mirror and I felt really disorientated because without good descriptions it was hard to keep the characters straight or even begin to get that movie flowing in my head. As a character, Chloe was pretty decent. She seemed pretty smart and lucky to have figured out as much as she does when she is thrust into this world without notice. In 2 days time she seems like she's got a handle on an entire world that she knew nothing about the week before. Still, at times Chloe was a bit confusing and slightly irritating when she kept saying how broken of a person she was...but then never shows how she got broken...why she's broken...or even how she is different than before she was broken. It was like she just needed an excuse to have more angst than a teenager actually needs and to justify why she won't date a good guy like Michael Slade. 

I really enjoyed a lot of the plot and world building that was incorporated into The Doorknob Society. I thought that there was a TON of gold immersed there and that this is the beginning of something really cool for YA paranormal literature. That being said there were some issues I had, and there was some definite refining, expanding, and explaining I would have liked to have seen in the characters and the background of the entire world of the Old Ones. I can't wait to see what the rest of this story has in store for us, and maybe the next book will go into more depth in the places that I had questions. Definitely give Doorknob Society a chance if you like paranormal stuff, stories of teenagers at boarding schools, and even if you're thinking about trying something a little Steampunky. You won't regret it! 


  1. Andra,

    Thanks for the review. If you or any of your readers have questions, I'd be happy to answer them.


  2. This book sounds really interesting. I would love to read more about their secret world.

  3. Krista,

    I hope you enjoy it. You can also learn a bit more over at

  4. This sounds really interesting! Great review, girl. :D

  5. More than likely you will want a lock on the master bedroom door but not on your childrens bedroom doors if they are quite young, or perhaps if they are at the teenager stage they are demanding one.

  6. I like the idea for this story. Pity about the grammar etc. Hopefully all tidied up now. A wonderful review thank you.