Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Book Review of Raising Dragons Graphic Novel by Bryan Davis & Illustrated by James Art Ville



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A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever. The kids at school call Billy "Dragon Breath" for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn't the normal, morning mouth bad; it's the hot as fire, "don't-you-dare-get-near-me" bad. And hearing "Dragon Breath" ringing in his ears, he constantly tries to cool his oral volcano.

Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys' restroom at school, and his parents learn that they've kept their secret for too long. Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that's a piece of news a guy doesn't deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When his father reverts to his dragon form, and they're both chased by dragon slayers, he learns to trust his father again, battling the slayers with weapons of steel and spirit.

Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to love her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity, her dragon wings, inherited from her now dead dragon mother. She discovers that her love for others and her faith in a Creator hold the answers he is looking for. Raising dragons is a contemporary fantasy graphic novel that inspires young people to dig deep with in to find their God-given strengths and use them to over come any obstacle. 


Series: Dragons in Our Midst Graphic Novels

Genre: YA Fantasy Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scrub Jay Journeys (March 1, 2015)
Page Count: 150 pages

I read the Raising Dragons novel years ago. It's the one book I've read in just two days. I'd never read a book that drew me so close to the characters and I knew that I had to learn how to write like that. This began my journey to becoming friends with the author and going to my first writers conference. Basically, this book was paramount to my writing life. When I found out Mr. Davis and James were turning this novel into a graphic novel I knew I had to get in on that. I became a participator for the graphic novel kickstarter and a few years later I received the book! A few months ago I finally got to reading the book and it's one big nostalgia kick.

The Plot: The storyline is identical to the original novel, full of draconic legends and insane slayers. A few scenes or dialogue had to be cut, but most of the book is the same. It has the same twists I remember as a teenager and most of my favorite scenes. I love being able to actually see the scenes in illustration. It's almost like seeing them in a film! 


The Characters: My favorite part about this graphic novel is to be able to see the Raising Dragons characters as Mr. Davis pictured them. I love seeing brave Billy's reddish hair and his firebreath. I liked seeing Bonnie's special dress and her beautiful dragon wings. Prof's bushy eyebrows were a welcome sight and Walter in his toboggan. The only thing I didn't like about the character designs is Clefspeare's. His dragon form didn't have as much muscular bulk as I imagined. Also some of the character's expressions seemed a bit off at some points. 



The Setting: Another cool thing about this being illustrated is all of the settings are right before you! You get to actually see the beautiful Virginia mountains, the dragon's cave, and the school. It's very cool and nostalgic. 


Epic Things: Uh dragons? Hello? Dragons + King Arthur = Even more epicness! Plus I love Bonnie and her dragon wings. Dragon wings are awesome. 

The Theme: I feel like the graphic novel doesn't touch as much on the themes as in depth as in the novel, but there are many themes of sacrifice, love, and appreciating our God given gifts no matter what form they take. 

Content Cautions: There isn't any swearing, but there is some blood and violence. Nothing is excessively gory, but there are some blood pools from various wounds. 



What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) Taking a Spin on Legends Worked - One of the coolest things about the Dragons in Our Midst series is that it's a spin on Arthurian legend. In this version, King Arthur is protector of the dragons, Merlin is a prophet, Morgan le Fay has demonic connections, and so on. It's a neat twist on how to spin this into having more Christian origins. It's one of my favorite elements of the series. Another cool element is how Mr. Davis came up with the reason why dragons need gold and gems is because of the reflective light they need for nourishment. I thought that was clever.

How this can be applied to writing: Can you take a spin on a legend and turn it into something original? How about taking a commonly known creature trait and taking a twist on it?




Conclusion: You won't get the full novel experience from this graphic novel version, but fans of the series will be elated to see their characters illustrated. Four stars!


About the Author:

Bryan Davis is the author of the following young adult fantasy series: Dragons in our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Echoes from the Edge, and Dragons of Starlight. He also wrote I Know Why the Angels dance, a contemporary novel for adults.

After laboring as a computer geek for 20 years, Bryan followed a dream to become an author. He began by writing a story to motivate his seven children to gain some excitement about writing, and that story grew into a novel. After spending the next eight years learning the craft and enduring more than 200 rejections from publishers and agents, he broke through with his best-selling series Dragons in our Midst. He is now a full-time author and lives with his wife, Susie, and their children in western Tennessee.

You can find him on FacebookTwitterGoodreads and his website! I also have an interview with him I had on the blog!

I've reviewed several other books by this author:




If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!


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