Bryan Davis is a Christian fantasy author especially known for the Dragons in Our Midst and the Oracles of Fire series. He is one of the foremost Christian fantasy authors of this generation—in fact, I’ve found his books in local libraries from Arkansas to Asia.
Below, I’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of his work that I found when reading the Dragons in our Midst and Oracles of Fire series (I haven’t read any of his other works yet, so none of the comments below apply to them).
o One of the best things about these stories is the strong Christian themes found in each story. I love that Davis upholds the Christian ideas of redemption, sacrifice, sin, prayer, repentance, and so forth. He provides an excellent example of strong Christian elements yet exciting fantasy worlds and characters.
o Davis’ Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire series contain a fascinating interpretive history of the earth spanning from creation through the modern age. I was enthralled and captivated by the creative ways in which Davis chose to weave events in our history—like King Arthur, the account of the Genesis flood, and Nimrod from the Old Testament—with his stories of dragons.
o While I found some of his earliest writing (Raising Dragons, for example) a trifle stiff and plain, I have really enjoyed reading Davis’ progression as a writer into much more subtle and complex grounds in his later works.
o The stories may feel “pushy” to non-Christians, since they overtly advocate such activities as prayer and trust in God. However, since these books were written for a primarily Christian audience, this may not be a real issue.
o As with all interpretive stories, Davis’ theology can be contended. For example, in Circles of Seven, the hero must travel through the seven “levels” of hell and be the human savior of the dragon race. While Davis does explain this in the story, some may feel rather squeamish about spiritual liberties taken therein.
o For myself personally, I was not always satisfied with Davis’ writing style and with the plot of the stories themselves. Several times, I felt that the climaxes were forced by characters’ stupidity rather than their conscious choices. In addition, I disliked how some of the female characters felt like damsels-in-distress without much individual personality.
On the whole, despite the flaws mentioned above, I enjoyed Davis’ work and I would recommend it. As Christian fantasy writers, it’s important for us to see what others are doing well, and seek to imitate them. It’s also important to discuss them, so here’s a few questions to get you thinking:
If you’ve read any of Davis’ books, what did you think of them? Do you agree with the pros and cons I wrote above, or do you have some of your own to contribute? What elements in his stories make them “Christian” fantasy, and have you used any of these in your own writing?
If you haven’t read any of his books, then, without further ado, I point you in the direction of your local library: go get ‘em! (Don't let their size--or their dragons--intimidate you. They're worth the read.) Then come back and join the discussion :)