Doorway to Doom

by Jim Denney
Series: Timebenders #2
163 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Lily A.

A Christian time travel story, mostly set in a fictional medieval kingdom.


Kid inventor Max McCrane and his friends are trapped in the past without their time machine, and an evil king wants to use Max’s knowledge from the future to make war. How far will Max go to protect his friends? And how will they get back home?


Good guys seek to protect life, both the lives of friends and of strangers, worry about each others’ safety, and try to encourage each other and new friends. Bad guys try to get people killed, to steal, and to ruin parties. In other words, morality is fairly black and white.

One issue which is a bit more complicated is that the bad guys’ kingdom accepts women warriors on an equal status with knights, which the one modern female present perceives as evidence of the wrongness of things, because it is “in violation of the Code of Knighthood.” Is this an attempt to idealize the past? A manifestation of the author’s understanding of Biblical gender roles? Readers’ opinions may vary on whether female warriors are a bad thing, as implied here.

Spiritual Content

Characters pray and reference God, the Bible, and faith. Someone sees a passage in the Bible and believes it was addressed to them. One person lost or abandoned their faith, and later regains it. An old chapel has been closed by the evil king. The king is implied to be a Satan-worshiper. An angel gives comfort and may manipulate events. A schoolgirl is interested in astrology.


People fall, spar, and fight. Those in authority threaten harm to various persons, either as retribution for perceived offenses or to put pressure on others to perform. A man in the past died in battle. Rockets are designed and intended for use in battle. A boy relates how seeing blood makes him faint. Someone says his family is abusive, although it’s an open question whether he tells the truth.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A number of powders and potions are kept in the castle for purposes of alchemical research. When these are spilled, they create dangerous fumes.

A man who is not present is said to get drunk.

Sexual Content

A minor character has a crush. A schoolgirl pulls somebody away by himself to try to flirt with him, although he is not interested and they don’t do anything physical.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There is no crude language.

In the gross-out department, someone makes candy meant to resemble snot for a party, and someone else puts fake eyeballs on pizza for a prank.


"Doorway to Doom" is a clean Christian book. While it does contain one or two characters who are not obviously, bluntly “good” or “evil,” it is not very nuanced in its characterization, and older readers may not connect well with the heroes. On re-reading it, I find myself wondering whether, at times, our kids from the future aren’t being patronizing towards their counterparts in the past. Its language is simple. But it has pretty good morals, action, and a brew of sci-fi and fantasy elements which kids who enjoy both may find enjoyable. I know that I and some of my friends and siblings liked this series when we were in its intended age range or a bit younger.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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