Starlighter tells a vivid tale of two groups of people on different planets destined to find each other. One group, The Lost Ones, are slaves on a planet taken over by dragons. The dragons have enslaved them for so many generations that they are unaware that they come from a different planet where humans rule and dragons are considered mythical.
The story starts out with the character, Jason, defeating Randall, son of the governor, in a sword fighting challenge. Soon after they find themselves running for their lives, fighting talking bears and laser fire. There's upheaval in their country's leadership and Jason has been framed for murder. They rescue Elyssa from prison, gain a new friend, Tibault and continue on the run until they find the entrance to the dragon world. The four of them work to open the portal to the other world to rescue the Lost Ones they've heard tales about.
Meanwhile, Koren, is a slave in the lost world who possesses the ability to hypnotize dragons with her storytelling. She is working to rescue her friend, Natalla, from her "promotion" by the dragons. They never know if the dragons are killing their promoted ones or truly setting them free. Koren has a close relationship with the dragon she serves, Arxad, who helps her deceive the other dragons without them thinking he's on her side. Koren has been tested and declared a Starlighter, someone who can see the future and speak with the unhatched dragon prince. When Koren and Natalla escape with the help of Arxad, they run to the mines where Jason's group meets up with them . The story reaches it's peak intensity here....Do they make it to the safe world? Do they stay in the dragon world and have Jason and Randall protect them? Will the slaves even believe another world exists or turn them over to the dragons to spare their own lives?
"Koren, you must gather your wits. it is imperative that we fly immediately. If you are found out, I can no longer protect you."My first impression was COVER-LOVE! The yellow dragon eyes peering over the redhaired girl, who is peering over a large black egg implore you to start wondering. Her eyes challenge you to ask what is she going to do with this egg? The intensity of the cover is delivered in the story. It winds several story lines together, action, some violence, colorful characters, original ideas and adventure all in one. I loved reading Koren's moments when the powerful dragons would be mesmerized by her storytelling. Also towards the end of the book the characters suddenly start referring to their Creator, comparing how loving and merciful he was in opposition to being forced to love the dragon prince in it's egg shell.
In the midst of the swirling lights, a dragon's face orbited with them. She murmured, "Found out?"
"You are a Starlighter, and you are far more powerful than the one Magnar expected."
"How..." She licked her dry lips. Her throat felt parched. "How do you know?"
"You made Darksphere brighten and come to life. The previous Starlighter did the same, but she revealed the humans' origins with only a little detail."
"You mean, you knew we came from Darksphere?"
"Of course I knew, but the tale you told differs greatly from Magnar's version."
"If you are able, you must climb on my back. I will take you to the Northlands. There lives someone who might be able to help."
"The Northlands?" A shot of excitement worked to focus Koren's brain. "So there really is such a place? Promoted humans really go there?"
"There is such a place." Arxad lowered his head. "Now mount quickly."
Magnar's growl deepened. "we will follow you to the ends of Starlight. You would never have a moment's peace. And when the prince hatches, what will you do? Will you murder him: or will you, like most humans, consider his life more valuable once you can see him?This story had so much going on in the beginning, that I was a little confused when I got to the middle. There were so many characters to follow. However, I loved the original imagery Bryan Davis put into the story. After reading the scenes where the characters fly on Arxad, I actually dreamt that I was flying on him! Wow! The third portion of the book is intense and even a little edgy, but riddled with compassion, survival, and personal sacrifice. The last portion of the book mentions the character's belief in her creator and how he loves with mercy as opposed to the dragon prince forcing her to love him. I would have liked the characters to have mentioned their beliefs earlier on in the story, more as a continuous thread since it has a lot of bearing on the way the story plays out at the end.
This is a great story for an older middle grade reader, a young adult, as well as an adult young at heart. For the Christian reader that enjoys stories of dragons without all the sorcery, this one keeps it to a minimum. It's a clean book, although some strong imagery makes it more appropriate for older kids.
Starlighter is the first in the Dragons of Starlight Series and is available at Amazon here. Be watching for book two Warrior in January 2011!
I give this book **** (four stars!)