Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Triple Book Review: The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson

After his family goes to live at his grandpa’s house, a young boy feels lonely due to leaving behind his best friend. When he comes across a strange scroll and gets drawn into a magnificent other world, he finds himself on an incredible adventure that will change him forever. Soon two other people from our world will join him in this magical land, and the three of them will face the evil warrior who wants to rule the other world.

The Door Within, the first book in the series, left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the plotting is not the best, with characters who abruptly change their mind for no apparent reason, scenes that are overly rushed through, and a climax that wasn’t very exciting. On the other hand, the book has a fascinating premise, quite a few memorable scenes, and numerous brilliant fantasy ideas. While I was left disappointed with the book as a whole due its flaws, the potential of the author made me willing to give the second book in the series a chance.

The plotting turned out to be a bit better in The Rise of the Wyrm Lord, and I don’t recall ever noticing a serious issue like those in the first book. The story switches to a different main character, which was a bit jarring at first, but worked fine once I got used to it, though I would have liked more depth in the characters. As with the first book, there are a lot of brilliant fantasy ideas, and these, combined with the improved writing, were enough to convince me to finish reading the series.

Just as the plotting got better in the second book, it also got better in The Final Storm. The main character from the first book was brought back, along with the main character from the second book, and a new important character, though the way that the story frequently switched to the point of view of side characters sometimes slowed the story’s momentum.  If you like the first two books, you’re pretty much guaranteed to like the third book, which managed to gloss over most of the weaknesses in the story, and wrap up everything fairly well.

Despite its flaws, I enjoyed The Door Within trilogy. The Christian symbolism was generally more unique that in the average Christian fantasy series. My favorite thing about the trilogy was the high quantity of brilliant fantasy ideas that are scattered throughout the three books. A maze made from a living giant serpent creature’s coils was one of the most memorable ideas, and the series was filled with such originality, which makes it worth reading for fantasy fans.

There are a lot of violent and scary scenes, but nothing extreme, and anyone who can handle The Lord of the Rings movies should be fine with it. Some feminism might annoy readers on both sides of the issue. An example was a female warrior who could unrealistically beat massively muscular male warriors, but who got captured when a male warrior needed someone to rescue.

6 comments:

  1. I'm partial to these books mostly because they were among the first fantasy--if not THE first--stories I ever read.

    I do agree with your pros and cons, however. I tend to love Batson's ideas but can never decide if I truly like him as a writer. And he head-hops a lot. Still, I love these books.

    "...a female warriors who could unrealistically beat massively muscular male warriors, but who got captured when a male warrior needed someone to rescue." LOL Yeah...

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Kay!

      "I tend to love Batson's ideas but can never decide if I truly like him as a writer."

      That sums up how I felt as well. I'm interested in reading some of his other books. Have you read any of his other books?

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  2. I have. "Isle of Swords" and it's sequel "Isle of Fire" are pretty good, historical fiction/fantasy. I enjoyed reading them a lot, and they weren't as confusing as The Door Within.

    He is co-writing a series with Christopher Hopper called The Berinfell Prophesies. There are a LOT of main characters, so it's a bit confusing, but I've read the first two (book 3 is coming or just came out)and liked them. They're not my favorite, but they're interesting. Door Within is better.

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    1. I hope to try them. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  3. A triple book review was a good idea. :)

    "Some feminism might annoy readers on both sides of the issue. An example was a female warrior who could unrealistically beat massively muscular male warriors, but who got captured when a male warrior needed someone to rescue."

    Wow.... o.O

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