Author Web site: http://www.thedoorwithin.com
Wayne Thomas Batson returns to the Realm in the second book of his Door Within Trilogy. Picking up soon after the events of The Door Within, protagonist Aidan Thomas is worried about his friend Robby, who lives on the other side of the country. Aidan had just returned from the Realm and is having trouble contacting Robby.
With the summer recently concluded, Aidan is preparing for the beginning of school in the new town. Still rather homesick about Robby, Aidan is surprised to meet young Antoinette Reed, a fellow believer in the Realm. Aidan soon forges a bond of friendship with the young woman, as he finds himself telling her about the realm. In contrast to the previous novel, where Aidan was doing all the learning about the Realm, here he is one who teaches. Comparing the two novels, Batson is showing good, plausible growth in Aidan.
One of the things about Batson’s second novel that surprised me was how much it didn’t focus on Aidan. On one hand, this could be seen as a retread in that Batson revisited the Realm in the same manner as he did in the first novel, only with a different character. However, in this new book he explored different facets of the Realm, as well as different angles to the struggles presented in the first novel. Additionally, with Antoinette Reed, Batson provides a character with a different perspective, so the Realm may be perceived a bit differently.
As in the first novel, Batson continues to tell a story with themes of faith, belief, and virtue. While these are Biblical themes, in one sense, Batson doesn’t use a heavy hand in expounding these themes and virtues. There are obvious parallels to Christian theology, but readers who found C.S. Lewis’s work a bit heavy-handed might be pleasantly surprised with Batson’s handling of such similar themes.
Readers who enjoyed The Door Within will enjoy Rise of the Wyrm Lord; however, if they are expecting the story to solely focus on Aidan Thomas readers may be disappointed. That said, Batson delivers another character in Antoinette Reed who they will likely enjoy. Rise of the Wyrm Lord ends on much more of a cliffhanger than the first book; Batson keeps the narrative moving along well enough that readers will want the concluding volume, The Final Storm, as soon as they finish Rise of the Wyrm Lord.
© 2006 Rob H. Bedford