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Raising Dragons
by Bryan Davis

Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

"...a rich contemporary fantasy in the spirit of The Chronicles of Narnia."

All kids go through an awkward phase as they grow up; some are too short or too tall; too “nerdy” or not smart enough; others worry about their looks, having a “bad hair day”, how their voices are changing, or what the other kids will think of their shiny and completely embarrassing braces.

Unfortunately for Billy Bannister, his concerns aren’t nearly as mundane. A “bad hair day” is a walk in the park for Billy; a “bad breath day” is more his milieu. Billy’s breath is bad--horribly, hot ... atomic, even. So hot, on his worst days he’s afraid of talking directly at his friends, or burning his mother’s cheek when he kisses her goodbye.

Like every pre-teen struggling with the embarrassing complications of adolescence, Billy does his best to hide his growing predicament--breath mints, water, and can after can of soda. Nothing seems to work, however; his breath keeps getting hotter and hotter.

Billy’s not like other kids; however, what he doesn’t know is why, and when the secret comes out, he feels amazed, shocked--and betrayed.

For you see, Billy is part dragon, son of the only remaining dragon--the last of an ancient, majestic race teetering on the brink of extinction. They’ve been forced into hiding in human form by a zealous and determined order of knights sworn to rid the Earth of dragons--the dragon slayers.

Secrets and ancient prophesies unfold as everything Billy knows to be true and holds dear unwinds and falls apart. He learns of the origins of dragons; how some fell into darkness and others served the Light, and what forced them into exile. He struggles with the awe as well as the bitterness, because up until now his life has been a fabrication, a lie. Most importantly, Billy struggles to have faith it’ll all work for good; that God will provide for both man and dragon.

Raising Dragons is the first volume of the four part series Dragons In Our Midst. It’s a rich, contemporary fantasy in the spirit of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Wrinkle In Time books by Madeleine L’ Engle. Over the years, many writers have tried to produce “Christian Fantasies” the likes of these, but none of them have done quite as well as Davis, who blends the “flight of fancy” elements of fantasy with Christian themes skillfully and smoothly.

Davis also presents a nice twist of the Arthurian Legend, presenting King Arthur and Merlin in a different, fresh light. The elements of Arthurian legend are “kid friendly”, though – easy for them to access and enjoy. Davis successfully ties off Raising Dragons as a standalone story, while leaving plenty of room for the prophecy to play itself out in the following books.

Kevin LuciaKevin Lucia Kevin Lucia writes for The Press & Sun Bulletin and The Relief Journal. His short fiction has appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner, The Relief Journal, All Hallows, Darkened Horizons Vol. 3 & 4, NexGen Pulp Magazine Issues 1 & 4, From the Shadows, Morpheus Tales Magazine, Bohemian-Alien, Shroud Publishing’s horror anthology, Abominations, and Tyndale House’s inspirational anthology Life Savors. He’s currently writing a novella for Shroud Publishing’s upcoming novella series, The Hiram Grange Chronicles. He resides in Castle Creek, New York, with his wife Abby, daughter Madison and son Zackary. He teaches high school English at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, New York; and is finishing his Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at Binghamton University. Visit him at his website and Myspace page.