The City of Locked Doors

Fiction - Fantasy - General
323 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

The City of Locked Doors in the novel by Keegan and Tristen Kozinski is Umbras: a seething conglomerate of mechanized mayhem, where the supernatural meets plague-ridden humanity in a wild dance of survival and rebirth. This is a brutal city of towering structures, underworld tunnels, districts controlled by Proctors, and beings of incredible variety and portent, where each night brings absolute terror. Into this world strides Noir, a person shrouded in mystery on a path that is equally mysterious. What quickly becomes evident is that Noir is no ordinary man, as those that stand in his way soon discover. Only by following his path through jaw-dropping action and adventure will you peel away each layer of the unknown until you arrive at the climactic discovery of his true intent, a destination shocking in its revelation.

Keegan and Tristen Kozinski have created, in The City of Locked Doors, a truly unique work that is quite different from anything else I have read. From my perspective, the masterful touch was how Noir carries the second personality, which allowed him to have wonderful interactions within himself, many of which were nicely humorous and very appropriate. Another stand-out was the shock value of some of Noir’s actions, which often caught you unprepared. The other characters were all compelling with real depth, and in some ways, I wish these were explored further, especially Adrian, who was somewhat of an enigma to me. This is a great read for those not put off by gore, who seek interesting, action-packed science fiction brimming with new concepts.

Vincent Dublado

The City of Locked Doors, a dark fantasy by Tristen and Keegan Kozinski, is set in a dystopian world. The protagonist is an anti-hero named Noir, who has a unique ability to manipulate objects from ordinary shadows. The death of his twin brother drives him to a personal vendetta and leads him to the city of Umbras, where citizens are locked in every night as a countermeasure against their Mr. Hyde exteriors—this is the result of a plague that scourged the world four hundred years ago. As Noir sets the stage for his motive, he will assume leadership in a militia, take a young female undertaker under his wing, and encounter a host of characters with unique abilities just like him. Noir will have to use more than his abilities to survive and ensure that everything goes according to his plan.

The City of Locked Doors is dark and ominous, but it is also rare and wondrous. However, not everyone will find this an easy read, and it is symptomatic of the glossary of terms presented at the beginning of the story. But if you are an ardent reader of the fantasy genre, this will not pose any problems, given that the genre is predisposed to provide glossaries of information. As for the writing, Tristen and Keegan Kozinski manage to weave all the elements of their tale to arrive at a solid plotline. They have created an elaborate world with many characters, and Noir, as the main protagonist who has a strong connection with his inner thoughts, holds it together. The City of Locked Doors may well be on its way to becoming a classic of the noir. If you don’t enjoy reading it, you have probably never enjoyed reading dark fantasy and never will.

K.C. Finn

The City of Locked Doors is a work of fiction in the fantasy sub-genre penned by author duo Tristen and Keegan Kozinski. The work is suited to the general reading audience from teens upward, taking readers into a unique dark fantasy world where tyranny and monsters go hand in hand. In the city of Umbras, the Tyrant Lock-And-Key keeps her human subjects subdued at night, lest they transform into rabid beasts and destroy the world as they once did long ago in the plague days. But in the Undercity, Noir arrives to walk this strange world and avenge the death of his brother. What he finds there will set off a chain of events that threatens the balance of Umbras and the world beyond.

Author team Tristen and Keegan Kozinski have crafted a novel that delivers everything I could ever need in a dark fantasy tale. The conceptual work is a little heavy at the start, but it’s worth slowly sinking into Umbras and the history of the destroyed world around it so that you can soak up the atmosphere and appreciate the danger that Noir faces on his mission. Noir and Adrian made an excellent central pair, balancing one another with opposing but complementary personality traits. The deeper you get into the novel, the more emotive and developed they become. Add to this the slick dialogue, a handy tool in plot exposition, and the twisting surprises the narrative has to offer, and what you have is an unmissable fantasy read. I would not hesitate to recommend The City of Locked Doors to everyone I know.

Rabia Tanveer

The City of Locked Doors by Tristen and Keegan Kozinski is set in a dystopian world where humanity is raised from the ashes under the rule of god-like Tyrants—divided into seven cities ruled by a different Tyrant. Tyrant Lock-And-Key rules over Umbras, a prison city where the humans are locked up at night and allowed to roam free during the day. Other than this little stipulation, Tyrant Lock-And-Key lets the humans be. However, things are about to change in Umbras. Noir is a shadowmancer (he can play with and manipulate shadowsteel), and he is here to avenge his brother Alighieri. Noir infiltrates the city and gets a leadership role in one of the most important districts. However, Noir is not the only one looking to shake up Umbras. Before Noir knows it, he has to fight off other mancers, other entities that have infiltrated Umbras, and fight off the voice inside his head before he loses his sanity.

I love a story with a well-developed anti-hero and evocative imagery. The premise of the story is dark, and the narrative flourishes in it. The story is complex, and the reader needs to fully focus on the plot (especially in the beginning). Once you get the hang of the plot and the complexity of Noir’s character, you will fall in love. Noir is a mystery, and readers will enjoy the conversations he has with himself. The first time it happened, I gasped out loud and felt so thrilled. The theme is unique, and the authors do it justice. The narrative is pretty dark, and it suits the story. What I loved most about this story was the way that the authors use incredibly simple language, yet it is very impactful. The story is imaginative, creative, and entertaining through to the end!

Jamie Michele

The City of Locked Doors by Tristen and Keegan Kozinski is a dystopian fantasy fiction novel. A new world order is in play centuries after a contagion quite literally turned most of humankind into beasts. The social structure and hierarchy are woven and depicted through the points of view of the two main characters: Noir, a shadowmancer looking to avenge the death of his brother in the staggeringly brutal city of Umbras, and Adrian, a human/undertaker mutant in a city full of mutants of one sort or another with varying degrees of power. Umbras as a city is essentially a character in and of itself, and its dark corners and darker secrets barrel Noir through its masochism as the mystery of his brother’s death unfolds.

The City of Locked Doors is a tough nut to crack, particularly at the beginning if new to Tristen and Keegan Kozinski’s world. It’s a slow burn at the start, but Noir is intriguing enough to encourage pushing through, particularly as he has a dual personality where one is in constant conversation with the other. I’m conflicted on the effectiveness of this aspect of Noir, but, again, the creativity of everything the Kozinskis have built allowed me to take the dialogue in my stride. Adrian is a firecracker of a character. Between her point of view and Noir’s internal narrative, the bigger picture unfolds. The action scenes are incredible, and the writing overall slants heavily in the literary direction. This quality elevates it from a plot and characters better suited for a comic book and makes it a worthy, inspired, and strikingly innovative read. Highly recommended.