Welcome to Fantasy Friday!
I recently read Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis. This first volume in the bestselling Dragons in our Midst series blends elements of fantasy with normal, teenage high school experiences, all presented from a Christian worldview.
A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome evil, a slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.
The kids at school call Billy “Dragon Breath” for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn’t the normal, morning-mouth bad; it’s the hot-as-fire, “don’t-you-dare-get-near-me” bad. Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys’ restroom at school, and his parents learn that they’ve kept their secret for too long.
Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that’s a piece of news a guy doesn’t deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When the dragon slayer traps him on a cold mountaintop in West Virginia, Billy learns to battle with weapons of steel and spirit while relying on a power he doesn’t understand, a power that helps him learn to trust again.
Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to love her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity. But this unusual feature becomes a life-saving attribute as she discovers that her love for others and her faith in a creator hold the answers she’s looking for.
Raising Dragons is a delightful story with intricate world-building, engaging characters, and a unique twist on the dragon legend. Knights as bad guys and dragons as good? What a role reversal!
I must admit, it took me a while to connect with the main character. That probably owed more to my mood or the character’s age than the writing. Fortunately, I’d just read Eye of the Oracle, which is a prequel, or to quote Lion King 1-1/2, an “in-between-quel”, of the Dragon’s in our Midst universe. That book was so well-crafted and intriguing, I had to keep going to discover all the connections between the stories.
I think what captivated me most is the unique and thoroughly-defined story world. This book hints at a long and detailed history just enough to intrigue and not get boring. The “rules” governing the dragons’ power and their secret weakness are so fascinating and well thought out, even this fellow author is tempted to ask that old annoying question, “where did the idea come from?” Without giving anything away, I’ll just say it all involves light, a theme which, as readers of this blog can attest, is dear to my own heart and writing.
The Christian elements in this book are clear, by not preachy. This is the best example I’ve read so far of characters quoting Scripture—when doing so actually seems a natural part of the plot and an authentic action for that character to take under the circumstances. The verses quoted were such a compelling part of the story, I had to stop reading and look them up. A first for me while reading fiction.
Recommended? Yes, especially for middle grade and young adult readers.