Reviews for Candlestone : Dragons in Our Mist
VOYA Reviews 2005 October
In Raising Dragons, the start of the Dragons in Our Midst series, Billy's first clue that life is about to change is when he starts breathing fire. As it turns out, he is half-dragon-although his father Jared has neglected to mention it. So is his new friend, bewinged and motherless Bonnie. As Jared finally explains, 1,500 years ago God's grace transformed the last good dragons into humans, saving them from the genocidal jihad of dragon slayers. The slayers, however, crusaded on, and now the most vicious slayer has found the last living dragon-Jared. During the ensuing pursuit, "Sir" Devin pulls out all the stops to slaughter the dragon-blooded in the name of God. Whose faith will triumph The second book, The Candlestone, turns science-fantasy. When Bonnie's devious father lures her away by claiming her dragon mother still lives, a suspicious Billy and his Merlin-esque mentor soon follow. They bring Excalibur, freshly pulled from a stone by Billy. What follows is an adventure in a hidden mountain lab, involving immortality experiments, "transluminated" people getting trapped in the mysterious candlestone (with Sir Devin), ancient prophecies fulfilled, and tests of faith, chivalry, courage, and ethics. And if the good guys win-pizza The third and best book, Circles of Seven, is most likely to appeal to mainstream readers. Called to England, the white hats-including Arthurian heir Billy, angelic Bonnie, and scientific genius Ashley-attempt to foil the world-ruling plans of Morgan le Fay and her cohorts-fallen angels called Nephilim. Billy and Bonnie traverse the seven circles of Hades, where they must-in a ploy familiar to gamers everywhere-find clues, solve enigmas, and defeat evil before progressing. Their friends follow and help through Ashley's supercomputer, and interdimensional device, Apollo (no magic for the Godly). When tragedy strikes, though, will Billy be able to fulfill his quest? Book four, Tears of a Dragon, is due in 2005 Most of this lively fantasy is enthralling, if entirely unsubtle. It features nonstop action, uncompromisingly evil villains, mind-twisting (though unbelievable) science, vivid descriptions, and light-breathing dragons. The lack of subtlety, however, creates drawbacks. Many are short-term irritants: stilted dialogue, forced emotions, tiresome "humor," and disturbing violence. Others, such as underdeveloped characters, loom larger. The most significant drawback of the first two books, however, is that faith, instead of being woven into the world and characters, feels like an overt add-on, unconvincingly piggybacked onto Arthurian legend. Also as the background of the characters' faith remains unexplored, their belief seems arbitrary, and their rapturous fervency will put off mainstream readers. Book three works better overall, although characters' beliefs still feel arbitrary. Buy where there is a need for Christian fantasy, but do not discard your Chronicles of Narnia.-Rebecca C. Moore 3Q 2P M J Copyright 2005 Voya Reviews.