Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Door in the Dragon’s Throat

Title: The Door in the Dragon’s Throat

Series: The Cooper Kids Adventures #1

Author: Frank Peretti

Genre: Mid-grade Supernatural Adventure

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Door in the Dragon’s Throat:

In the arid and strife-torn Middle East, land of Bible adventures, wards, camels and kings, in the tiny, secluded, and landlocked nation of Nepur, a nation known for its strange customs and ancient mysteries, pompous President Al-Dallam, Chief Magistrate and Bearer of the Royal Sceptre, sat and fidgeted at his huge marble desk in the presidential palace.

An incredibly wealthy oil sheik, President Al-Dallam always wore a long, diamond-studded, purple robe, gold rings on his fingers, and a very impressive silk turban on his head. He loved being his country’s president, he loved being rich, he loved being powerful. Right now, his huge desk was piled with important papers and business of state that needed his official attention, but he couldn’t concentrate on any of those things. His mind was too flooded with thoughts of becoming even richer.

An archeologist and his two kids are commissioned to unlock a mysterious underground door surrounded with legend and death.

The Craft: The Door in the Dragon’s Throat doesn’t contain the best writing on the market. Head-hopping (jumping from seeing through one character’s eyes to another’s within a scene) is prevalent, the text isn’t the tightest ever written, and the storyteller’s voice, as fun as it is, tends to tell the story instead of showing it. But truthfully, this isn’t all surprising; the book was written over twenty years ago and is among some of Mr. Peretti’s earliest stories.

So the fact that this story is still readily available is a strong testimony to Mr. Peretti’s excellent ability to tell a good story. For despite the technical flaws, the story is attention-grabbing and attention-holding. It has a couple interesting twists that surprised me, and the characters are real enough to make you care what happens to them.

The Content: The Christianity is quite overt in this book as the characters openly talk about the superiority of God, the reality of evil, and the power of prayer. In a couple places, it borders on preachiness and the conversion in the middle seems a touch contrived. However, in a world where evil is increasing bolder, this book has much to offer.

One note of caution: this book deals with the very real and very strong presence of evil in a way that may frighten some 8-12 year-olds. I know if I had read it at that age, I would have probably had nightmares for several days. However, I’m easily unnerved by such things, and Mr. Peretti handles everything well, without being overly descriptive. So it will depend on the child.

Summary: A good story, though no the best writing, matched with good content makes a worthwhile read, especially for those who enjoy adventure and don’t easily scare.

Rating: Craft—2, Content—4, Overall—3.5 out of 5 stars

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