Liberator Paperback – Aug 3 2012
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About the Author
Bryan Davis is the author of the bestselling fantasy series Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire and Echoes from the Edge. He and his wife, Susie, have seven children and live in western Tennessee where he continues to cook up his imaginative blend of fantasy and inspiration.
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"It will never happen. You prophecy impossibilities to appease my anger. No human would acquiesce."
"Perhaps you are right. In any case, we will soon learn if a Starlighter will pass the test."
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 14 and up
Subjects: Faith and Doubt, Sacrifice, Love, Loss
Summary: The climax has come. The disease is spreading to all the humans and the dragons are killing those infected in hopes of preventing its spread to the last of those not infected yet. Cassabrie and Koren, the Starlights, know it is time for them to make choices about who to trust and what actions to take. Both girls know of Alaph's prophecy and since both have risen from the dead, they know a sacrifice is required of them, but what does that sacrifice look like? What will it truly take to save the slaves?
Notes: As with the others in this series, it's a very confusing plot line to wrestle through. It's hard to keep track of who everyone is and what all is happening. But also as with the others, there is an honest wrestling with truth. Koren and Cassabrie have very different ideas of what this sacrifice might look like. Both are willing to suffer, but when possible opportunities are presented to them they find it hard to know what to trust. All of the good guys in the story are truly good guys, longing for what's right, longing to serve the Creator, longing to heal the hurt. But what that means is very difficult to figure out. It means questioning, doubting, checking and double checking their hearts, their motives, even whether or not they're even in control of their own thoughts or perhaps could have fallen under enchantment. It's easy to relate to the characters as they struggle to not let doubt gain the upper hand. This is the fourth in the Dragons of Starlight series - I highly recommend not reading this until you have read the first three and perhaps the first in the Master's and Slayers series as well - the companion series focused on the same situation, but from a different character's point of view.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Overall Quality Recommendation Scale: 5/5
James 1:2-6 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Thank you to Zondervan for providing me with a free review copy of this book.
There are spiritual truths sprinkled throughout this fantasy story about heroes and villains, hope and despair, sacrifice and risk. In chapter 5, a wise dragon speaks about idolatry:
"For some, their idol is a grudge that is nursed and prepared for the day of wrath. For others it is an end to suffering, or a beloved person, or perhaps the idea of love itself Any idol is able to turn a mind from the Creator, so they must all be purged by choice or smashed through trials, and only then will darkness turn to light."
In chapter 9, a father comforts his daughter with these words when she questioned why the innocent sometimes suffer:
"...although you suffered as an innocent babe, you were still in heaven's embrace. no one is born alienated from the Creator. Alienation results from a choice to serve evil. Although we both wept and wailed in the throes of disease, this truth brought comfort: Suffering is measured by days or weeks or months, but heaven lasts for an eternity. "
I found myself highlighting great quotes throughout the book, as the characters struggled to free the slaves, cure disease, live up to their individual callings, determine who could be trusted, and ultimately, reconcile their worlds with the Creator who designed them. This is a complicated series with a lot happening on different levels, and this last book will keep you on your toes as you follow the exciting adventures.
Find more details about this book in my review, at [...]
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, courtesy of netGalley.com.
Finishing a series is always a little bittersweet. On the one hand I'm always glad to know how it ends, but on the other, I hate leaving characters that I've grown to love. Such is the case with Liberator. It's a good conclusion to the series, but I'm certainly sad to say good-bye to the humans and dragons that have made up this tale.
I ultimately enjoyed Liberator, but it did take some time to really get back into the story. It has been almost a year since I finished Diviner and given my memory issues, it took some time for me to remember where all the characters were in the story. As a result, the first part felt a bit slow as I struggled to remember the objective of each character. Additionally, the large cast of characters is divided into groups and there are quite a few to keep track of. As a result, it took a while to feel a part of the story.
I love books with multiple, complex storylines, and this series has definitely excelled at adding and developing new plots. However, in this book, the numerous storylines become a bit of a distraction and a couple dropped off towards the end. Though it is obvious that each plot is coming towards a specific destination, each one is not treated equally, which makes parts of the book feel spread too thin and others given too much page time.
With all the different characters and plots, there is action galore. It feels as though someone is constantly facing attack or repelling attack. The dragons are in a battle for their life as are the humans. But with all the combat and action, there seems to be little focus on new story elements. For example, the Benefile dragons emerge as pivotal characters, but there isn't a lot of information or background provided for them. I really want to know more about them as they seem very intriguing. I also missed some of the interesting background information that Davis included in the earlier books. While I'm all for non-stop action and tense suspense, I equally enjoy creative stories and I feel like a bit of that was missing in this book.
One area that Liberator (and this entire series) excels is with the presentation of spiritual themes. The underlining stories of freedom and choice, mercy and justice, and love and service are all beautifully incorporated into this series. Some of Davis' best writing is between Alaph and Koren as she seeks to understand while resisting the path that's been offered to her. Equally well presented are the ideas of justice and mercy and God working with our mistakes and poor choices. Though the fictional story is very entertaining, the spiritual themes are equally impressive.
I have very much enjoyed the Dragons of Starlight series. While I don't think Liberator is quite as good as Warrior and Diviner, it's a great conclusion to the series. With the excellent spiritual themes and non-stop action, fans of this series will be very pleased with this final book.
Review title provided courtesy of Zondervan
Dragons of Starlight Book 4
By Bryan Davis
Starlight is about to change forever. The disease unleashed by Exodus is striking down the slaves. Jason and Elyssa are heading north to warn the soldiers of Major 4 of the deadly new threat.
The usurper dragon king Taushin has a plan that will bring one of the Starlighters under his power. Who will succomb to his treachery Koren or Cassabrie?
When Magnar crosses the border of the Northlands to aid the soldiers the Benefile are released to exact justice upon the dragons of the Southlands. But when the Benefile realize that the slaves are carrying a deadly disease that could kill the soldiers they begin freezing the slaves. But how far will justice go before it is satisfied? And will mercy have no say in the battle?
The liberation of Starlight comes at a great cost to all, but who will prevail in the end? And who is the true Liberator?
Liberator is an exciting conclusion to the Dragons of Starlight series. The various efforts come to a head as loyalties are tested and alliances are formed. Will the Masters family ever be brought together again or will they forever be separated by the dragons of Starlight? Will the treachery of Orion be discovered?
Mercy is the greatest gift that anyone can give? But can the lesson be learned and accept in time?
I received a copy of this book through the Z Street Team program. All opinions expressed are my own.
Although it took me a while to really get into the story, due to the complexity of the plot and all the events that transpired with each character, I definitely found it full of excitement and mystery. Many of the questions that I asked myself throughout the series were answered, although many new questions arose as I read the book. Even now, I still have questions that were not answered. However, Bryan Davis has also written a companion series that I'm sure provides many answers.
This aside, I love how Mr. Davis entwines many different moral attributes into the plot. Love is clearly defined throughout the series, as well as the definition of true liberty. The characters often sacrifice themselves for those they love.
The conclusion of this series was bittersweet. Although Dragons of Starlight was not my favorite series that Bryan Davis has written, it is certainly a very gripping and enjoyable read. I did not expect many of the things that transpired at the end, and I was surprised at some of the relationships between the characters. Thank you again, Mr. Davis! I look forward to reading more of your excellent books and rereading these books in the future!
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