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Vendor: Scrub Jay Journeys
Publication Date: 2014
Series: Reapers Trilogy
About the Author▼▲
Bryan Davis is the author of the Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Dragons of Starlight, Tales of Starlight, and Echoes from the Edge series, contemporary/fantasy books for young adults and adults. His books have hit bestseller lists several times, including Eye of the Oracle’s #1 showing on the CBA Young Adult bestseller list in January of 2007. Bryan was born in 1958 and grew up in the eastern U.S. From the time he taught himself how to read before school age, through his seminary years and beyond, he has demonstrated a passion for the written word, reading and writing in many disciplines and genres, including theology, fiction, devotionals, poetry, and humor. Bryan and his wife, Susie, have seven children. He is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.S. in Industrial Engineering). In high school, he was valedictorian of his class and won various academic awards. He continues to expand his writing education by teaching at relevant writing conferences and conventions. Although he is now a full time writer, Bryan was a computer professional for over 20 years.
Cassidy Clayton5 Stars Out Of 5An Excellent Young Adult Christian Novel In All AspectsMarch 29, 2015Cassidy ClaytonQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Bryan Davis is one of my favorite authors, and as such I had extremely high expectations for this book. I was not disappointed in the slightest.
Content Warning: This is not a book for pansies, or people who are scared to take off their rose-colored glasses and acknowledge the word for what it actually is. Also, given the premise, perhaps not for young readers -- probably I'd rate it at about 14+ for reading age.
Reapers is a tale of bravery, sacrifice, and compassion in a dark, uncertain world. Biblical values, while subtle, form the backbone of the storyline. The characters are faced with difficult dilemmas, to be sure, but throughout it all there is a feeling that a higher power (you know, God) has the end in mind. This idea that what is seen is not all that occurs is abundantly clear by the end of the novel. Some claim that this book is 'too secular', and I wonder what on earth they could possibly be talking about. Truth is found hidden like treasured gems throughout the pages, so the only possible explanations I can come up with for those who deem it too secular are as follows: they didn't read the book, or they are incapable of understanding that just because a book does not openly preach a sermon does not mean that it does not have a Christian message or theme. And while it is certainly dark in places, let's not forget that the Bible was as well, and that light shines brightest after darkness.
(MINOR SPOILER: It wasn't a bullet to the back of the head, it was a sonic pulse. Much less messy.)
Celia Hartmann1 Stars Out Of 5Too dark, too graphic, too secularMarch 18, 2015Celia HartmannIn all honesty, I purchased this book because of the author's prior stories. My younger daughter and I have enjoyed the Dragons in Our Midst series and its sequel stories, so when I saw this new title, I added it to my order. While there are some things in the author's previous books that bothered me a tad, they were minor and I have purchased every other title he has written--many as a pre-order. This time, while the name and cover photo did make me hesitate, it was only briefly and I went ahead and pre-ordered as usual. When I received it, I decided to pre-read it before just handing it over to my daughter. I am glad I did, because now after having finished it, I really don't want her to read it.
If your children have read the Hunger Games series, the Maze, Divergent, ghost stories, and similar stories on the market these days, then you'd very likely be OK with this new series. However, if you have not allowed them to read them or to see the movies, then I suggest passing this series by as well. Those with younger children who are fans of Bryan Davis' previous series might want to save this series until their children are more mature or skip it altogether.
After finishing this book, I was left disappointed in the author and wondered if the author wrote this book strictly as a way to draw in fans of the Hunger Games and those other titles/movies. There are really no Christian themes in Reapers. The main character, Phoenix, shows compassion, and he does begin to question why society is the way it is. However, there is really nothing else remotely Christ-like.
MINOR SPOILER ALERT: This story is about young people (aged 13-33) who remove the soul of the dead, either immediately after their death or, in some cases, after they have become ghosts. This book is quite graphic in its violence. Men, women, and children are made to kneel and are killed with a single bullet to the back of the head. The reaping of the soul is portrayed as painful, especially if the person has been a ghost for awhile.
I am likely to check out the next book in the series from our local library (as opposed to outright buying it), just to see how the story continues and whether the author brings in more Godly themes. I understand that the story is not over yet, so I pray that the series will begin redeeming itself in the next title. If the final books in the trilogy do something to draw in non-Christians and then make them seek out God, then I commend the author for developing books that do that. However, if the last two books continue like the first, then I am greatly disappointed.
Overall, the whole story just felt very un-Bryan Davis like. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing; we like to see different types of stories from our favorite authors. This one, however, is just too dark and graphic for my taste and showed little in redemptive qualities. There is already a plethora of dark and graphic titles out there being marketed to our teens. As a conservative Christian and our church's librarian, I really don't want such titles for my family or in our church library.
I hate to give a favorite author a bad review, but this one left me waiting for Truth to be revealed. I hope He shows up in the next book of the series. I also hope this review helps you decide if this book is right for you or your family.
Author: Bryan Davis
Located in: Middleton, TN
Submitted: March 25, 2015
Tell us a little about yourself. I am the author of several series, including Dragons in our Midst, Echoes from the Edge, and Dragons of Starlight.
What was your motivation behind this project? I wanted to reach out to a more mainstream audience by creating a world of darkness and seeming hopelessness, which, in my perspective, is how the world really must be to those who have no understanding of God or any higher power. The first book is designed to show this dark world, thereby providing appeal to those who live in it. Then, as the series progresses, the story will provide an alternative as the light begins to break through and overcome the darkness.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? I hope readers will gain a perspective about life in a dark world and the hopelessness thereof so that they will gain an understanding of the overwhelming power of light and love in the midst of that darkness.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? My favorite author is C. S. Lewis.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: Don't be concerned about how dark and hopeless the first book appears to be. The stories that follow will bring light and hope.