Books for Kids · Homeschooling · Reading

“The Door in the Dragon’s Throat” Review

“In the arid and strife-torn Middle East, land of Bible adventures, wars, 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.”

So begins The Door in the Dragon’s Throat by Frank Peretti (I must say, this sentence is not at all how I would choose to begin a kids book; but more on that later). The Door in the Dragon’s Throat is the first in a four book series, and I remember being attracted to it as a kid primarily because of the author. Peretti is better known for his adult fiction, and I cut my “reading teeth,” so to speak, on This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. They were among the first “grown-up” books I read as a child and I loved them.

In brief, this is the story about archeologist/adventurer Dr. Jake Cooper and his two kids, Jay and Lila, who are invited to explore a mysterious and deadly cavern in the middle of the Nepurian desert. Far beneath the sands stands an enormous door, mired in superstition and ancient curses and watched through the centuries by a string of pagan shamans. The President of Nepur believes the door hides an ancient treasure and has tasked the Coopers with getting it out. In their exploration, the family, who are all very strong, Biblical Christians, discover that the door does not hide treasure at all, but instead an ancient evil eager to be let loose on the world.

My pre-teen brain was certainly not skilled enough to judge Peretti’s writing style, but my memories and this book make me wonder if adult fiction is really more his strength. Don’t get me wrong: this is a fine adventure story – my kids really enjoyed it – and is not at all painful to read, but the writing and dialogue seemed a bit clunky to me at times (see the overlong first sentence as a prime example). The bigger concern, as it sometimes is with his adult books, is how Peretti chooses to bring the realities of the spiritual world into the physical.

This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness featured angelic and demonic characters interacting with humans in a cosmic battle. This, of course, is Biblical. Peretti, in bringing his story to life, inevitably builds upon what we do know with speculation and has received some criticism for how his stories might form conceptions of the spiritual world that do not necessarily match with reality (as cool as it was to see the angel Tal – muscle bound and hair flowing like a spiritual version of Aragorn – cutting through hoards of monster-like demons…). In The Door in the Dragon’s Throat, a similar complaint could be made: an ancient bronzed door holding back a demonic host that can be rebuked in Jesus name might have connections to some passages in Revelation, but it certainly stretches what might be Biblically possible in the real world.

I’m not sure how much of a problem I see with these complaints – in fact, it could be argued that Peretti helps us to remember that spiritual realities are…realities – but just be aware of them. The book got a thumbs-up from the kids and I’m not sorry we read it.

Profanity

1

Violence

2

There are some punches thrown and a few explosions.

Sex/Romantic Themes

1

Miscellaneous

See the note above on supernatural themes.

NOTE: As always, my content notes are for informational purposes, not judgmental ones. For a full explanation of my Content Notes and the scale, click here. 

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