The Door Within grabbed my attention immediately. While I read fantasy novels continuously, I don’t always indulge in the young adult action-adventure flavor of fantasy.
Aidan Thomas faces his rite-of-passage on two fronts. His parents relocate to care for Aidan’s grandfather, depriving Aidan of his friends and familiar environs. He discovers and reads some scrolls that transport him to The Realm, where he trains rigorously to become an elite warrior of King Eliam and join the fight for the hearts and minds of the people of Mithgarde. An accomplished warrior and Glimpse (similar to a Knight in our world) named Gwenne befriends Aidan. The King’s Captain, Valithor, only survivor of the treachery and betrayal by Paragor, sets high standards for the warrior trainees, tempered with kindness.
Wayne Thomas Baston avoids any blatant literal reference to God or Jesus or Judas or other standard Christian characters, but the parallels are unmistakable. The mission of King Eliam and the Glimpses mirrors the Christian call to be in the world (those who need to be reconciled to God) but not of it (that which is hostile to God), like resisting temptations that can lead to suffering and sacrifice. While the action, adventure and drama as experienced through Aiden helped keep the story moving, I occasionally wondered while reading if you remove the Christian-like elements how well the story would stand on its own. Narnia this is not, but definitely a better-than-average attempt to weld young adult fantasy with a bit of theological mettle.
The Door Within is a well-done Christian allegory, comparable to The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander.
FanLit thanks Jon Moss for contributing this guest review. Jon lives in the Heart of America (Kansas) with her husband and two Rottweilers who occasionally pull her around the neighborhood on her evening walks. Her kids migrated south for more than the winter, to attend (and graduate from) colleges in the northern part of Texas. Jon’s current passionate distraction is amateur astronomy. Find her at her blog Misty Midwest Mossiness.