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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Liberator (Dragons of Starlight #4) by Bryan Davis

As the long-awaited invasion of human forces looms, Jason, Koren, and Elyssa struggle to alert the soldiers to an unforeseen menace on the planet of Starlight---a deadly illness has been released, one that already has Koren in its grip. Starlighter Cassabrie harbors a secret she believes can counter the devastation being unleashed by dragon king Taushin's latest maneuverings, but she can disclose little of her risky plan. As Cassabrie fights to save her people, the dragon Magnar works to move the Starlight prophecy in his favor. His actions could release an ancient race of dragon-like beings, making the plight of humans even more perilous. Wishing only to free the slaves and to bring peace, a few young warriors are poised to face three armies as they battle for control of two worlds. Can love, faith, and courage be enough? Will Cassabrie be the humans' last hope?

Released:July 10th 2012          Pages: 433
Publisher: Zondervan              Source: Bought
Sometime in the middle of Diviner, this book's predecessor, I gave up trying to understand the plot.  I just...stopped.  Now, I read the first two books of this series back last January and April, so I'd been away from the series for awhile.  But still.  I'm wondering if I didn't manage to miss an important plot element somewhere along the way, because much of what I was reading in Diviner and Liberator made me go "Um...what?"
At this point, I think not trying to understand the plot actually helped me enjoy this book.  If I had gone through and tried to piece it together, I would have been more annoyed than I already was.  Now, none of this is a good thing.  I just accepted it because the alternative was rereading the entire series.
My review of Diviner hardly covered all the issues I had with it, and most of these issues still pertain to this book.  Here are the things that annoyed me, in no particular order:
1. Many characters are so righteous and noble all the time.  ALL THE TIME.  Especially Jason and Elyssa.  This is Christian fiction--I get it.  But just because you're trying to promote Christian ideals in your book doesn't mean your characters can be better-than-ideal humans.  No, humans aren't that noble.  They make mistakes.  The point of Christianity isn't perfect people being perfect all the time.  It's imperfect people growing and becoming better people.  (For the record, there is some great Christian fiction about imperfect, human people.  Like this, this, and this [this one isn't published as a Christian fiction but it could be counted as such].)
 2. For a book with characters that have such strong morals, the morals of this book are actually pretty screwed-up in places.  Mainly, the whole thing about "Well, since the slaves have a very rational fear of being independent and therefore are skeptical about the creepy magical girl offering them liberty, they don't deserve freedom!"  What?  No.  If you had lived your whole life as a slave, the idea of "let's go to another planet and be free, whatever that means" would freak you out, too.  It would freak anybody out.  So would the odd magic and the scary dragons.  These people had reasons to be afraid, and saying they don't deserve freedom is like saying that a dog doesn't deserve to go to the vet because he's scared of it.
3.  This: "Still, with so few dragons, every male needed to find a proper mate to help populate Starlight, and only one or two intelligent females remained available."  Um...what?  All the female dragons are turning into mindless monsters?  When did that start happening?  Am I the only one who finds this more than a little concerning?
4. There's an evil dragon named Beth.  BETH.  'Nuff said.
5. The writing was disorienting.  We'd be in one scene, with a certain set of characters, in a certain place, and then suddenly more characters would appear out of nowhere.  Apparently they were there all along, but it felt to me like they popped up out of thin air. 
6. How does a society not advanced enough to have invented the microscope know to (and how to) sterilize things to not spread germs?
7. Wait...that Goodreads blurb has a typo.  It says human's where it should say humans'.  *fixes typo* this on the back of my book?  *goes to check my copy*  Oh, come on.  There's a typo on the back cover, too.  Editors, anyone?  Editors?

So, what did I like about this?  The cool setting.  I love the mix of science fiction and fantasy.  Koren's character development.  Because she was one character who seemed realistic, who had moral growth.  And because of that, I could connect to her.  Also, the relationship dynamic between Magnar and Arxad is interesting, but I wish it would've gotten more attention.

Even though this book annoyed me, I have loved some of this author's other books.  Which is why this made me happy:
Overall, this was a "meh" type of book that got on my nerves in several ways.  It's more of a 2.5 star book, but I rounded up.

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