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Monday, December 3, 2012

Song of the Ovulum (Children of the Bard #1) by Bryan Davis

It has been fifteen years since Billy and Bonnie Bannister helped repel the demonic assault on Heaven. Now they and Ashley Foley sit in a maximum security prison where the authorities conduct experiments on them to learn the secrets of long life. Earlier, the world’s acceptance of dragonkind crumbled, and the Enforcers took the infant twins born to Billy and Bonnie and stole Excalibur, hoping to develop a weapon to battle the dragons that are sure to try to rescue their allies. All the while, a great secret from the past is being revealed to Bonnie through a dream. Joran and Selah, teenaged children of Methuselah, have been trapped in a strange world for centuries, yet still able to manipulate certain events in our world during that time.

Walter Foley finds the Bannisters’ son and hopes to use his dragon traits to help him rescue the prisoners. In the meantime, an ancient demon locates the Bannisters’ daughter and plans to use her to help him discover the hiding place of the most powerful ovulum in the world and squelch its protective song. With that ovulum in his possession, he will be able to conquer and control both Earth and Second Eden.

The fate of two worlds now rests on the Bannisters’ two teenagers who must use their dragon traits and their innate courage to battle demons, a sorceress, and soldiers in a military compound in order to rescue parents they don’t even know.

Released: June 28th 2011             Pages:482
Publisher: Living Ink Books        Source: Library

At first, I had a huge paragraph typed out explaining how this series works, but then I realized that a list/chart would make this so much easier.  Like it says, it's best to read in the left order.  You can start with the first book in any of the series (though if you start with Eye of the Oracle or Song of the Ovulum, be sure to read the recap at the end), but for the best reading experience, I'd start with Raising Dragons.
Click the chart to see it bigger.
So, anyway, Song of the Ovulum is a continuation of one of my all-time favorite series.  I had no idea that there would be a third quartet until last summer.  I thought it was over with The Bones of Makaidos, but I'm certainly glad it's not. 
Let's go back a few years.  I read the first book of this series four, maybe even five years ago; I'm not sure.  For a year or so in early middle school I kept track of what I read in a little notebook, but it seems to have disappeared forever.  Just kidding, I found it.  (And it's soooo incredibly amusing.  I wrote 1-line reviews/comments on each of the books, and also one-line summaries.  More on this below.*)  I read the first book back in 2007. 
When you go back to a series you haven't read in a long time, there's always that fear that it's not as good as you remembered.  There's always that fear that your tastes have changed, or that you built it up so much in your mind that you don't remember any of the negatives.  (This is honestly the only reason I've been putting off a massive Pendragon reread that I kind of want to do, but kind of don't.)  I had this same fear with this book. 
Fortunately, this book mostly lived up to my old feelings for the series.  Yeah, it wasn't as good as the previous books, but I still liked it.  It just wasn't favorite-book worthy.  Good, but not amazing. 
I was so, so happy to read about some of these characters again.  Walter Foley, how I've missed you!  Ashley, and the dragons!  Even Larry!  It was, for me, a massive reunion.  I'm hoping that in the next I get to read more about some of my other favorites that we didn't see much in this one, like Sapphira Adi and Elam.   

Also, I love the entire premise of this.  All the stuff with dragons and technology is so cool.  And, there are some awesome re-imaginings of Bible stories.  Bible stories, with dragons! 

I now how two issues with this book that I didn't have when I was younger.  The first issue is with the black-and-white morality of these books.  A character is either good or evil.  A good character, even if they do wrong, is still in the right.  An evil character is inherently evil.  Life doesn't work this way.  Nobody is completely good or completely bad; everyone is somewhere in between.  Some shades of gray would add so much complexity and depth to this series, but without it, it almost feels like it's missing something.

My other issue is with all the melodramatic things that go on.  Characters are moved to tears quite often--more often than seems realistic to me.  Just like with the morality, emotions are all at extremes in this series.  There is no level of apathy whatsoever.  A person is not just moderately joyful--they are as far up on the happy spectrum as they can get.  Again, this isn't realistic. 

Still, this series is definitely worth a read.  Bryan Davis writes some compelling characters, with awesome worldbuilding and DRAGONS DRAGONS EVERYWHERE.  While I have issues with this series now that I didn't have when I was younger, it will still always have a special place among my books. 

Similar Books: It has the undisguised Christian themes of The Door Withinsome amount of world-hopping like in House of Dark Shadows (you don't want to know how many times I typed dork shadows before I got that right), has lots of dragons and dragon/human interaction, as well as a mix of sci-fi and fantasy (and is also by the same author) like Starlighter, and is, of course, a continuation of the stories of Raising Dragons (Dragons in Our Midst series), Eye of the Oracle (Oracles of Fire series).
*About my elementary school mini-reviews...LOL.  My summary for every single Warriors book was "Cats battle for clans, fall in love, etc. etc. etc.".  After about the fifth Series of Unfortunate Events book I must've gotten tired of trying to think of actual comments and just wrote "How unfortunate" for each one.  My comment for a book I didn't like was "No.  Just no."  My reviewing history started not in 2011 when the blog started, but in 2007. 
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