For more information about Bryan Davis, some links to his blog and book sites, and an AWESOME GIVEAWAY opportunity, stay tuned after the post for the information at the bottom!
I encountered my first book by Bryan Davis, Raising Dragons, while in a young author’s club. We were in the midst of crafting a story about four teens who go to exotic locations (think Stonehenge, Transylvania, and the Bermuda Triangle) in order to piece back together a set of ancient artifacts from Atlantis. And in the midst of writing a Christian fiction novel, I encountered the Dragons in Our Midst series: a labyrinth of supernatural and “ordinary” characters, fascinating twists, deep spiritual references, complex plot twists, and poetic language.
The poetic language found in Bryan Davis’ books is the main point that I would like to focus on–in particular, the language he creates as the voice of main character Bonnie Conner in the book Eye of the Oracle.
Davis uses poetry and poetic language across several of his books, so the presence of it is nothing new. For example, throughout the Dragons in our Midst series, poetry is used to convey prophecies. On the other hand, in the book Beyond the Reflection’s Edge, poetic language is snapshotted and italicized in certain segments when the main character reflects back on the words of his late father.
However, the poetic language that Bonnie Conner uses in Eye of the Oracle is unique. First of all, it is used to reflect key points of her character. When Bonnie is writing this segment, she is in bed scribbling down her thoughts after hours of reflecting on the tension between her and her father (Davis, 568). The act of journaling and the simple bedroom setting show Bonnie’s simplicity, while the words themselves give this quiet girl a voice to talk about her traitorous father and her deepest pain. She is humanized in that she is doing something ordinary. However, the words that flow from her are not ordinary:
As I leaned over the precipice, the joy of beholding danger with unflinching eyes flooded my soul. I have an anchor. I have a sure hold in the land of promise. My father would never let me go. (569)
One of the most powerful things that Bonnie does in order to actualize her relational pain with her father is create images. She identifies with the fragility of the precipice; she calms herself with the surety of an anchor (569). These images become even more intense when they turn violent in the next paragraph:
Yet he did let me go. Nay, he pushed me over the side. And now I fall, staring up at him as he coldly walks away. The wind chills my heart, and the certainty of eternal torment rushes at me with no savior in sight. (569)
Bonnie could have eclipsed her pain accurately by saying My father betrayed my trust, and his rejection has broken my heart. However, the pictures and stories that she creates open up her heart. They show the reader what it is like to be betrayed–it is like falling, like being pushed, like cold air and screaming into an empty nightmare.
Now that Bonnie has created this powerful drama of her own pain, she matches it with a description of God that is even more powerful than the image of an earthly father:
God of wonders, catch me now in your loving hands. Fly down on your stallion and rescue me from this plunge into despair. Let us ride together, buoyed by wings of faith and energized by the love that delivered your only begotten son, for he is the king who catches his falling sparrows (569).
Here, in a subtle but powerful way, Bonnie uses poetic language to compare her father’s betrayal with the salvation of her Heavenly Father. These images hearken back to the Psalms. Over and over again, David remembers his enemies, his torment, his hopelessness. However, in the same breath, he recounts God’s faithfulness, not through simply stating his promises one by one, but by imagery. Why does he do this? Likely for the same reasons that Bonnie has done it–for power of expression and clarity.
Davis actually uses a segment of the Psalms a few pages earlier, and this makes the point about imagery even clearer. It also reminds the readers of the poetic language of the Bible:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. (Davis, 555, taken from Psalm 139)
This has been what has meant so much about Bryan Davis’ books to me. I love his use of poetic language, but I love it even more when he uses that language to reveal both human suffering and the greatness of the One who saves us. I love it when he draws similarities between Scripture and his story. I love when he captures readers’ attention with imagery and then points them back to the Bible. This–the poetic language and how it relates to the soul–is one of the greatest strengths of Eye of the Oracle and Bryan Davis’ other books. Thus, I could only hope and expect to see some of this language in his new book: Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World. 🙂
Davis, Bryan. Eye of the Oracle. Chattanooga: Living Ink Books. 2006. Print.
Bryan Davis is the author of the Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Children of the Bard, the Reapers Trilogy, Dragons of Starlight, Tales of Starlight, and the Time Echoes Trilogy, fantasy/science fiction/dystopian novels for youth and adults. His first novel, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004, and several books in that series have hit various bestseller lists, including Eye of the Oracle, which hit number one on the CBA Young Adult best-seller 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 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 was also a member of the National Honor Society and voted Most Likely to Succeed.
Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.
Website – www.daviscrossing.com
Book Purchase site – http://www.theauthorschair.com/shopping/
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/BryanDavis.Fans
Author writing blog – www.theauthorschair.com
Blog Tour Links:
Wednesday, September 20th
Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair
Book Spotlight @ Backing Books
Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books
Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf
Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings
Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows
Thursday, September 21st
Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering
Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict
Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified
Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways
Book Review @ Ashley Bogner
Book Review @ The Page Dreamer
Friday, September 22nd
Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire
Book Review @ Inkwell
Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher
Book Review @ writinganyone
Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons
Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum
Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight
Saturday, September 23rd
Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author
Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life
Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews
Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite
Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen
Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits
There will be two contests:
The first contest’s giveaway is the winner’s choice of any Bryan Davis book, plus a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World T-Shirt and bookmark.
The second contest holds the Grand Prize – the items from the first giveaway PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series of the winner’s choice or a $50 Amazon gift card.
For this post, the special number that you need to remember is underlined in the body of the post. Find the number, write it down, and then go to Bryan Davis’ blog (The Author’s Chair )for additional instructions on how to finish completing the steps of the contest.
After you have done that, here is the Rafflecopter link so you can enter to win! – https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a793459e2/
[…] Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified […]
Thank you for this post. I’m so glad you like my poetic side. I greatly enjoy writing those portions. It’s gratifying that some readers “get it.”
This part of the book in particular really touched me and stuck with me, and the verses from Psalm 139 that I discovered for the first time in your book have gotten me through some hard times. That’s why I chose to write about this part–in addition to the fact that I love your use of language! Thanks for letting me be a part of this blog tour and for all of your wonderful stories! 🙂
Beautiful post! Bonnie’s words (among those of other characters) have stuck with me for years, particularly that reference to Psalm 139. Bryan Davis’s writing has a way of penetrating the heart and staying there. ^_^
Exactly!! Thanks for reading! 🙂