Modern Fantasy · Review · Young Adult

Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis

On the Cover: Billy, Bonnie, and Clefspeare

Raising Dragons was written by Bryan Davis. It is the first novel in the Dragons in our Midst series.

Billy Bannister is known for his super hot breath, which has earned him the nickname Dragon Breath. Trouble erupts when he accidently sets off the school’s fire sprinklers (in the boys’ restroom) while trying to stop another kid from doing so. His parents learn they have kept the secret of his heritage for too long. (He burned his mother’s cheek when he kissed her that morning.) The secret is that his father was a dragon about 1500 years ago (during the time of King Arthur). Billy feels betrayed, alien, and lost. He goes back to school the next day (to try and make up for what happened) and tries to get off on the right foot.

Bonnie Silver is an orphan and another dragon hybrid. Instead of blowing fire, she has dragon wings! She helps Billy out when Adam Lark tries to frame Billy for what happened in the restroom. Adam comes back to get revenge on Bonnie for ratting him out to the principal, Dr. Whittier. After decking him (go girl!), she is sent to the principal’s office. Dr. Whittier happens to be a dragon slayer and becomes suspicious of Bonnie when he learns why she punched Adam: he tried opening her backpack. She just failed to mention to said principal that she keeps her dragon wings in that backpack. He sets out to find out whether she’s a dragon.

The next school day, Bonnie helps Billy finish the last of his scrubbing duties. Dr. Whittier, sure that Bonnie is a dragon hybrid (mongrel in his terms), orders a backpack search to be orchestrated by one of his female followers. Billy, sensing that Bonnie was in trouble (not knowing she is also a dragon hybrid), comes to her aid. He blows super hot air on the woman’s hand, which allows Bonnie to escape. Bonnie flies back and rescues him. This is how they discover that both are dragons. They fly back to Billy’s house. Billy, Bonnie, and Mrs. Bannister pack an emergency box and an ancient book and flee in a Volkswagon. Dr. Whittier shows up shortly after with instructions for his cronies to burn down the house. Billy’s dad comes home and gets the cronies to die in the fire. Walter, Billy’s friend, relays the message: “A dark knight is coming quickly.” After another attack by Dr. Whittier, they all make it to the airport and take off in the family airplane. They can’t keep dragons from wanting to fly.

Billy’s dad explains the story of how the dragons came to be humans and Merlin’s prophecy. Billy’s dad was the dragon Clefspeare and Bonnie’s mom was the dragon Hartanna. Basically, Bonnie is the “virgin seedling” and the “orphan waif.” Billy is the “child of doubt.” Hint: Billy will be full of doubt through the entire book. Dr. Whittier (Devin) is the slayer. Billy’s father is the “dragon shorn” who rejects “Eden’s pride.” The only part of the prophecy that doesn’t get figured out is the last stanza. We are still in wait of King Arthur’s heir/replacement. I’m also wondering if Billy and Bonnie are going to be getting married in the future.

Dr. Whittier shows up again. He kidnaps Bonnie and shoots Billy’s father. Billy and his mom jump out of the plane (with a parachute) before it crashes. Billy rescues Bonnie after Dr. Whittier collects some of Bonnie’s hair and blood (creepy much?). Everyone is rescued except Billy’s dad. Billy stays at Walter’s house for a while. Walter, Billy, and Bonnie end up getting homeschooled by Professor Hamilton. Billy and his mom go in search of his dad. They find out that his father has been restored to his dragon self and is once again Clefspeare. Clefspeare declares his love for his family. He will still support Mrs. Bannister with some of his gemstone collection and will always love and protect Billy.

Bonnie goes missing. Devin (the real identity of Dr. Whittier) claims he has her, but it is a trap to lure Billy to him. Then he uses Billy to bait Clefspeare. Bonnie had been hiding from Devin’s cronies who were pretending to be police officers. Clefspeare comes to rescue his son. It takes too long for Billy to finally stop calling his dad “the dragon” and actually refer to him as Dad. Billy gets hurt and Bonnie saves Clefspeare. This fulfills every part of the prophecy except the last stanza. Devin is defeated. Billy finds himself in the hospital from his severe head injury (he is still mentally fine).

I loved that Bonnie was so faithful. It was also great that she knew quite a few Bible verses (I have come to like the Job 41 passage). God does love his dragons. Billy became a little unreal with how doubtful he was. The first two chapters annoyed me with the dialogue. It was like the author was guessing at how some people actually talk. I liked that the novel showed that the Bible can be twisted by people to satisfy their own ends, such as Devin. It’s clear though that God knew who was actually corrupted and evil, and it wasn’t the dragons.

There were some cool things that I liked about these dragons. Dragons survive on photorespiration (they need light like air, food, and water). The candlestone was different in how it was a reverse prism. It can do a lot of damage to dragons, so this creates a new weakness. The development of Billy’s fire was explained that baby dragons were in pain if they didn’t have their scales grown in before learning to breathe fire. It also makes sense that the passing of traits wouldn’t be the same in every outcome of hybrid (Bonnie getting wings and Billy breathing fire). I also like the idea of Merlin being a prophet.

This is a great read for any teen in middle school and possibly high school. It’s also a good read for any Christian. Be aware, if you read a lot of Christian fiction, you will see that it has the basic Christian fiction plot outline to an extent (faith, loss of faith, doubt, and regaining faith). It’s not bad, but it’s the usual plot for this type of religious fiction.

Genres: Adventure, Christian Fiction, Fantasy

Stars (out of 5): ****

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2 thoughts on “Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis

  1. I owned and enjoyed those books as a teen! Bonnie, though almost TOO perfect, was always my favorite character in how she helped and supported Billy and the other characters throughout the series. I wanted her faith and strong character. Have you read the related Oracles of Fire series? I never finished that series, but want to go back and read them now to see how I like them. I remember them as being more complicated than the originals. I heard he wrote a new series, also related, but I didn’t yet look into what they’re about.

    1. I have the first book of the Oracles of Fire series, but I have yet to read it. He might have wrote another series. I’ll have to check his website again.

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