Friday, May 30, 2008

Oracles of Fire Part 2: Enoch’s Ghost

Title: Enoch’s Ghost

Series: Oracles of Fire #2; Sequel to Dragons in Our Midst

Author: Bryan Davis

Genre: YA (10-14) Technological Fantasy

Excerpt from “Prologue” of Enoch’s Ghost:

The great dragon’s eyes glowed with bloodred luminescence, and his voice rumbled like distant thunder. “Mardon, the time is short. When will the giants awaken to bring about our final victory?”
“Soon, very soon.” Standing on the edge of a precipice, Mardon held a shining rope of gold, as taut as a harp string and almost as slender. It stretched across a chasm that lay before him, the canyon path of a magma river far below. A mere stone’s throw away, a nebulous figure held to the golden line from another precipice, too far to detect any features of form or face. The barest of glows emanated from the slow-moving river, casting reddish light and illuminating the rutted walls and jagged ceiling of their underground cavern.

“Sapphira’s latest use of her power,” Mardon continued, “has allowed me to draw Earth and Hades so close, only a mere thread of dimensional space separates them. A few more pulls should bind them as one. Even then, I cannot guess how perfectly the two dimensions will combine. The dead souls should eventually become as they were when they were alive, but we might have to wait for the merged realms to reach a state of equilibrium before everything settles.” He strained against the line again, letting out an almost inaudible grunt. “That’s why the synchronization has to be precise. The realms must not touch until the timers are ready to expire and the escape route for our giants is complete.”

Three teens, two oracles, and the son of Shem race to stop the Nephilim and a dead mastermind’s plan to unite Heaven, Earth, and Hades.

The Writing: This is probably the best of the Dragon/Oracles books thus far. For although the cast is large, most are old acquaintances by now and easy to follow (especially if you kept the characters of the first Oracle book straight, for which I recommend reading it twice before pursuing this book). Enoch’s Ghost simply fleshes those characters out, adding depth to hero and villain alike.

As for plotting, it rarely loses pace after the first page. Since there are as many as four individual plots going on simultaneously, it could be easy to release the tension as we switch from plot line to plot line. Instead, each builds on the tension created, culminating in an intense—and heart-wrenching—climax.

The Story: Just as the plotting of Enoch’s Ghost is intense, so is the content, with one of the best salvation/conversion scenes I’ve seen in a young adult book—and it only gets a little preachy right at the end! But to get there, many dark and emotionally challenging scenes exist, including the deaths of two beloved characters and a chilling chapter set by the Lake of Fire.

But the darkness is never allowed to overwhelm, and the hope and truth shines brighter for it, highlighting the surrender of gifts, sacrificial love, and as already mentioned, salvation by faith.

Summary: In many ways this is the darkest book of the Dragon and Oracles series, but it is also one of the most powerful. It makes the journey through all the books well worth the while.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

Ready to buy Enoch's Ghost? Order it here.

And don't forget to check out book 1, Eye of the Oracle, book 3, Last of the Nephilim, and the entire Dragons in Our Midst series!

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