It's my turn for What We're Reading again, and I believe I am falling into a rut. This is my third series review in a row that deals with dragons. But who doesn't like dragons? This week's series, the Dragons of Starlight series, is for those of you who love action, adventure, and high fantasy, but don't prioritize romance.
For years, tales of dragons
from another world kidnapping and enslaving humans
have been circulating in Jason Master's world, while for a slave girl
named Koren, the stories of a human world seem pure myth. Together,
these two teens will need to bridge two planets in order to overthrow
the draconian threat and bring the lost slaves home.
When Jason finds a cryptic message from his missing brother, he must uncover the web of lies surrounding the governor of Major Four, the human world, and the draconic masters of the distant planet Starlight. Framed for a crime he didn't commit, he is forced to escape through the dungeons in search of the portal. Along the way, he gains some important allies: and old man whose seemingly-crazy ranting turns out to be very wise, a childhood friend with magical powers, and even one of his greatest rivals. But he has no idea what he will be facing once he reaches Starlight...
Koren, a slave girl on Starlight, serves the great dragon Arxad and his family with three other slaves. Working from dawn until dusk, sweltering in the torturous heat and falling asleep every night exhausted, she dreams of a coveted Promotion. Nevertheless, she does her best to live according to the Code, and often puts herself in danger to help those less fortunate than she is. She soon discovers she is a Starlighter, a rare woman with great powers which can help or doom her and the other humans on Starlight. Meanwhile, a mysterious prophecy regarding the black dragon egg begins to be fulfilled. A new threat arises, one that could shake the foundations of Major Four and Starlight alike, and spell disaster for both dragons and humans... and it chooses Koren as its personal representative.
This is a Christian, young adult, high and portal fantasy series. Its author, Bryan Davis, is one of my favorites, and I have already reviewed another one of his sets. Unlike most other dragon books I have read, this series portrays most of them as evil, a welcome change, actually.
The setting is highly unique and memorable. It is an interesting blend of modern and medieval elements. The main characters mainly fight with swords, wear armor and tunics, and engage in other common medieval-style activities, but the main city of Mesolantrum is ruled by a governor, there are complex genetic locks, and wealthy and upper class citizens have access to advanced technology such as photo guns and video recordings.
In typical Bryan Davis style, he masterfully weaves a large cast of well-rounded and lovable characters into a complex and satisfying narrative. Jason, the chivalrous warrior, Elyssa, the highly perceptive Diviner, and the conflicted Starlighter Koren, torn between her friends' safety and her goal to rescue the humans of Starlight, drive the story down its many unexpected twists and turns. They receive help from Tibalt, a "crazy old man" that only seemed crazy to hide his great wisdom, experience, and adventurousness, Jason's older brother Adrian, the master swordfighter and spunky noblewoman Marcelle, and even some sympathetic dragons torn between family, country, and what they know is right. Other characters, such as Governor Prescott, his son Randall, the mysterious Drexel, the dragon tyrant Magnar, and the dragon in the black egg and his servant, Zena, add danger, mystery, and conflict. If the long character list is intimidating, have no fear - Mr. Davis introduces each one uniquely and memorably, and they all fit organically into the story over the course of four books.
This series is complete, and is fantastic as a standalone story, but Mr. Davis also wrote another series that takes place alongside this one. It is called Tales of Starlight. I will review that one next time I do a What We're Reading post, but I couldn't not mention it in this post. It follows Jason's older brother Adrian and his rival-turned-ally Marcelle, and is labeled as an adult book. This is only because the characters are adults. It also deals with slightly more mature topics, but it is completely appropriate and understandable for anyone who enjoyed the Dragons of Starlight series. Tales of Starlight is also completely standalone. Either series could be fully read, enjoyed, and understood without any knowledge of the other.
The books in the Dragons of Starlight series are:
If you are also interested in reading the Tales of Starlight series alongside the Dragons of Starlight, I would suggest completing Dragons of Starlight and then reading Tales of Starlight, just because it is easier to follow each series on its own without trying to juggle everything that is happening. Alternatively, if you are willing to read both series at once in order to gain a more thorough understanding of all facets of the story, this is the author's recommended reading order.
Starlighter (Dragons of Starlight book #1)
Masters & Slayers (Tales of Starlight book #1)
Warrior (Dragons of Starlight book #2)
The Third Starlighter (Tales of Starlight book #2)
Diviner (Dragons of Starlight book #3)
Liberator (Dragons of Starlight book #4)
Exodus Rising (Tales of Starlight book #3)
Do complex series like this one intrigue you and draw you into the story world, or get too confusing to follow? Do you like the variety of books we review? We tend to hover around the young adult and fantasy genres, but within those areas, our choices are quite different. Are there any particular areas you would like us to review more? Is there any particular information you would like us to include in the books we review? (For example, the levels of romance, violence, or spirituality; the specific type of fantasy; etc.) Let us know in the comments!
If you would like to see more dragons, or books with dragons, check out the posts below:
A great Beauty and the Beast retelling Elizabeth suggested, which includes the Dragon Lord as the "beast" character