February 1, 2000

Diviner, by Bryan Davis

Diviner, by Bryan Davis, is the third book in the Dragons of Starlight series.  In the first two books, a few brave heroes leave their planet to travel to a world where they seek to free people who have been cruelly enslaved by dragons.  They meet up with other humans and a few dragons who are working toward the same goal, and find that some from both worlds have special powers.  While learning how and when to use these powers, various wrong choices are made, leading to more and more trouble along the way and separation of the team.  We find our team of heroes coming back together in Diviner, but still not sure of each other or of their powers.  They must rely on each other, but complications over romantic feelings, competition, and mistrust could threaten their mission. 

The spiritual implications of this book are very strong.  Just like those who are enslaved to sin and don’t even realize life could be different, the slaves on this dark planet seem oblivious to the freedom they could experience.  As the warriors work out plans to end the slavery, they find that the slaves themselves aren’t on board with a fight for their liberation.  Fear of the unknown, of possible failure, of not knowing how to survive without their cruel taskmasters—all this keeps them from rising up to break their chains.  One of the characters sums it up this way on page 333,
 “How could someone who had never known freedom understand the reality of living without chains?”
There are also similarities between the well-meaning members of the team and modern-day Christians.  These fighters are warring against an unseen evil, something that goes deeper than the shackles and whips that control the slaves, just as we war against powers and principalities.  They lose sight of this often, though, and engage in battle against specific people, or more often, dragons.  Their hearts are in the right place, but misguided attempts to do the right thing without seeking guidance from the Creator ends up hurting people in the process of trying to save them.   I was reminded of how many times this happens to us in the modern world. 

Even though this is geared towards teens, it’s an enticingly complicated book (and series) that kept me turning pages in the wee hours of the night.  It is written for ages 13-16, according to Zondervan, but I’d advise caution if your teen is sensitive to violence.  Several people are burned by the dragons, and the depiction of the cruelty the slaves endure is pretty graphic.  You also won’t want to read this one without having read the first two, or you’ll be lost from page one.  If you feel your young reader is up to the challenge, this would be a great book for parents to read around the same time, as the themes touched on could lead to some very good discussions.  And if this sort of high-paced adventure interests you, check out the companion series written for adults, Tales of Starlight.  

**NOTE:  Thank you, Zondervan and NetGalley, for providing a free e-copy of this book to me for review.

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