You may or may not have noticed my little button in my right side bar at the bottom. If clicked, it takes you to the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour website. This is basically a group of people that takes new books and authors who write Christian SF&F books and promotes them to the general public.
If you’ve known me for a long time, you’ll realize that I don’t read a lot of “Christian” literature. To be a complete snob about it, I find it’s because you either end up with substandard writing, or an author with an agenda. I’m totally ok with a moral to the story and all that, but I dislike it when I feel like the story suffers because the author has a “point”. I go to church for my preaching, and to my books for entertainment.
I chose to participate in this blog tour because I thought it would give me a chance to read and look into some books that I would otherwise not pick up. Frankly, books bought from specialty stores tend to be more expensive than those I pick up from Chapters… so I’m just less likely to do it. This is an excellent way for me to try new books. If I decide that I don’t like them, I can donate them to the church or public library, and hopefully someone there will enjoy them.
The Door Within
When his family moves to Colorado to care for his ailing grandfather, Aidan thinks his life is ruined until he discovers three ancient scrolls in the man’s basement. They tell of a world where the knights of Alleble fight to keep the warriors of Paragory from gaining dominion over the Realm. When Aidan reads the last line of the scrolls, Believe and enter, he is swept into this strange land. His role there is to become the 12th knight of the King’s Elder Guard. Their mission is to travel to the kingdom of Mithegard and convince its sovereign not to sign a treaty with Paragory. Aidan discovers that the people in the Realm, called Glimpses, have doubles that exist in his world.
A map of the Realm is provided, as is a character guide with pronunciation key. The concept in this first of a projected trilogy is intriguing and the plot moves along at a steady pace. Some characters lack development, but several of them are engaging, especially the swordmaiden Gwenne and an underground serpentine creature named Falon. Give this title to readers who have finished the current book in D. J. MacHale’s Pendragon series (S & S) but who might not be ready for J. R. R. Tolkien or David Eddings’s Belgariad books (Ballantine).
Rise of the Wyrm Lord
The sequel to The Door Within (Tommy Nelson, 2005) opens a few weeks after Aidan Thomas has returned from the kingdom of Alleble, located in The Realm, where he trained to be a knight to fight the minions of the evil Paragor the Betrayer, King Eliam’s nemesis. He meets Antoinette Reed, a classmate who also has knowledge of The Realm. This time, the plot turns on her adventures as she travels from Alleble to Yewland to convince the queen to align herself with King Eliam and discover whether Paragor has awakened the Wyrm Lord as a weapon against Alleble. However, Antoinette’s task is somewhat muddled by Aidan’s entreaty for her to find his friend’s Glimpse and convince him to turn away from Paragor. There are some good imaginative elements here, but the Christian allegory is heavy-handed and unwieldy: science and logic are incompatible with faith and belief, and much emphasis is placed upon whether or not the people of Earth actively believe in the stories of Alleble (and therefore, ensure their salvation) without the compelling Gospel counterparts. The dialogue is much improved from the first book, but it still clunks along in parts where contemporary dialect is invoked. An additional purchase for collections that are in need of more fantasy trilogies.
The Final Storm
Still staggering under Paragor’s relentless attacks, Alleble’s remaining allies flee from the four corners of The Realm to safety within the Kingdom’s walls. Once there they find chaos, the forces of Alleble grieving a fallen hero, and the Kingdom’s citizens clinging to an ancient legend about Three Witnesses who can bring victory. But who are they? Where are they?
There is little time for Alleble to mourn before Paragor, the Wyrm Lord, and the deadly Seven Sleepers unite against the followers of King Eliam.
As Alleble begins to lose hope, Paragor unleashes The Final Storm. Will anyone survive to see the dawn?
[note: There is no “official” review on amazon.com of this book. However, many of the reader reviews say that this is the best and strongest book of the three, which is not uncommon for a final book in a trilogy.]
If you’re interested in reading more about this series and about Wayne Batson, you can view his blog:
Wayne Thomas Batson’s blog. Also, the following is a list of all the other participants in the blog tour. Please have a look through and say hi to these lovely people (also, read their posts! 🙂 )
CSFF Blog Tour
Todd Michael Greene
K. D. Kragen
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 – The Compendium
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Daniel I. Weaver