From the Publisher:
There is an unseen world of good and evil where nightmares are fought and hope is reborn. Enter The Door Within.
Aidan Thomas is miserable. And it’s much more than the strange nightmares he’s been having. Just when life seemed to be coming together for Aidan, his parents suddenly move the family across the country to take care of his wheelchair-bound grandfather. When strange events begin to occur, Aidan is drawn into his grandfather”s basement where he discovers three ancient scrolls and an invitation to another world.
No longer confined to the realm of his own imagination, Aidan embarks on an adventure where he meets knights, warriors, kings and mysterious Glimpses who can travel between worlds. Aidan joins them in the struggle between good and evil. With the fate of two worlds hanging in the balance, Aidan faces Paragory, the eternal enemy. Will Aidan be willing to risk everything and trust the unseen hand of the one true King? The answer comes from “The Door Within.”
This is a book that came up in the CSFF Blog Tour a month or two ago. I didn’t have a chance to read it at that time, but I ordered it from Amazon on the recommendation of many of the other readers. If nothing else, it was a hardcover book that I could get for only $15, and the packaging was extremely pretty.
The background of The Door Within goes something like this: Wayne Thomas Batson is a middle school (junior high) teacher in the States. His class challenged him to write one of their assignments along with them and he rose to the challenge. Out of that was born The Door Within. As his classes went on, he continued to write – 13 years later, we see the book in print, along with book 2 (Rise of the Wyrm Lord) and book 3 (The Final Battle).
For those that don’t know, the trilogy is an allegory for the fight between God and Satan, and the Christian life. In non-allegory terms, basically Aiden becomes a Christian and this portrays his fight against himself and against evil, without becoming actually talking about any of those things.
I’ve only read the first book, so I can’t really comment on any of the others at this point. I really enjoyed the book, even though it was definitely aimed at a younger audience then I am used to reading. I would say that readers as young as 10 could read this book with very little problem. The only concerns I would have is that it might seem scary in parts to some younger readers, plus there are words that they may not know (you know, technical knight-y type words). With parental guidance, I am sure that this book would be acceptable even to children as young as 6 or 7 (provided the parents read it to them). However, I would caution that parents of easily frightened or impressionable children wait a little while to crack this one open. I would imagine that the next two books will only get more frightening due to the nature of the story.
All in all, I thought that the book was very good. Mr. Batson did an excellent job creating and “growing” his characters. He had the right amount of suspense and humour and even a little bit of hinted romance (nothing blatant, as it is a kids book).
The only thing that I didn’t like was how the technical knight-y words (yes, that’s the technical term for it, by the way) were all in italics, at least the first time they appeared. This kind of irritated me as a Fantasy reader, they usually only italicize words that are in another language or something like that. While I guess it makes it easier for younger readers to identify that word to get help with it, I thought that it was unnecessary.
The book, if you haven’t heard, is absolutely beautiful. The pages are watermarked with blue, and the ink is absolutely stunning. I have never read a book that was printed in colour before. It adds a completely different element. I have to say that Tommy Nelson Publishing did a more than excellent job printing these books.
If you are interested in finding out more about Wayne Thomas Batson, what he’s doing now and more about the Door Within world, I recommend visiting his blog and taking a look around. He’s a very personable guy, and will definitely talk to you! In fact, if you were viewing my blog during the tour, you’ll notice that he left a lot of comments, and also replied to every email I sent him. It was quite impressive. So, anyway, check it out!