Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Review: Starlighter (Bryan Davis)

In Jason Masters' world, the authorities insist that dragons are things of fable and fantasy. But there are some who believe otherwise, including Jason's family, and Jason's older brother leaves home to find the truth.

In the dragon world of Starlighter, Koren, a human slave, has questions about the procedures carried out there. A lot of things seem unknown, and Koren risks everything to find out.

What they discover instead changes their lives forever.

In the first of the Starlighter series, we are introduced to the characters and both worlds of Major Four and Starlighter. The worldbuilding is unique, as it does have a fantasy/medieval setting, but both have small traces of technology. Jason's world has little, portable tubes in which video messages can be recorded, and panels that can generate light. It felt a little out of place, but it also gave a fantasy world a unique twist.

The plot was kept suspenseful, with questions and very few answers at the start, but as Jason and Koren discover more, so do we. We're left with unanswered questions too, but it makes us want to read the next book. Some of the dialogue from a few characters felt a little out of place. Dialogue from a miner felt too grand, in a way (for lack of a better word). But it was interesting to get glimpses into the teachings of the humans' equivalent of the Bible, seeing what they believed in, and the beliefs of the underground group who refused to believe that dragons were merely myth.

The protagonists, Jason and Koren, are both very different. Koren's belief in the Holy One is firmly rooted, and she strives to put her beliefs to practice. Jason, on the other hand, is still very new in his belief. He believed, but it wasn't the fully fledged belief of his family. Until he sees it with his own eyes, he doesn't entirely believe what his brother believes, but he has a strong sense of justice.

The villains, the dragons, are all different from each other. They are slave masters over the humans, but some of them can be less cruel than others. Some are willing to be a voice of defense for humans on trial. While others are cold and heartless, seeing humans as only beasts of burden. The contrast is represented between Arxad and Magnar, respectively, and both also come with their own interesting character qualities. With Arxad, we're never quite sure whose side he's on while still avoiding too much trouble with dragons. Magnar, while stern and strict, is patient to hear out a fellow dragon, even if he's suspicious. It's an interesting trait in a villain, and it makes him intimidating, yet someone you might be able to approach to hear you out of you catch him in a fairly good mood.

Violence/gore: There is some, but it's not very gory at all. A few characters are burned via dragon fire. Someone is stabbed and has an object removed from under their skin. A character is struck by lightning, and one is shot in the back with a crossbow bolt. A dragon is killed, while it is bloody, it's not in detail. Characters get beat up a bit, handled roughly by dragons or as they fight dragons. One dragon (we don't see it) is blinded by a character's sword.

Profanity: Referenced swearing.

Other: Dragons and a certain degree of magic is prominent in this book, in case any readers feel uneasy about those aspects.

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