October 20, 2006

The Door Within

By Wayne Thomas Batson
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Aidan is angry. His parents unexpectedly uprooted the family to move across the country to live with his ailing grandfather ("Grampin") and Aidan is separated from everything he knows as well as his one friend, Robby. Then he discovers a set of old scrolls in the basement which chronicle the story of The Realm. The Realm holds the kingdom of Alleble, ruled by King Eliam, which tries to spread peace to all the other kingdoms who pledge allegiance to Alleble. The king chooses a knight, Paragal, to be his special Sentinel. But Paragal eventually is seduced by the power and riches of the dark side, and chooses to betray his king and set himself up as a "Prince" who is endlessly attempting to destroy Alleble. The scrolls end with a poem exhorting the reader to believe if he wishes to enter the Realm. Aidan immediately believes in the Story, but his parents are dismissive of it. But when Grampin tells Aidan he believes and encourages Aidan to as well, Aidan manages to enter this magical Realm. Aidan soon finds himself in training as a knight for King Eliam and embarking on a mission to try and convince another kingdom to join the true King and enjoy peace before Paragor and his minions convince them otherwise. Aidan experiences many adventures and quite a bit of personal growth during the telling of the story. This book mixes many elements found in the Chronicles of Narnia with a more medieval flair, at times even delving into Lord of the Rings and Paradise Lost. Although some issues remain unexplained, like Aidan's rather sudden and amazing athletic prowess or what Aidan's dreams mean or even why the moonrascals decide to help him, and the message can be rather heavy-handed at times, fantasy readers will still find plenty to like in the action sequences and the familiar ground. There are 2 more books in this trilogy: The Rise of the Wyrm Lord and The Final Storm.

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