Literature / Dragons in Our Midst
Dragons in Our Midst
is a series of four novels written by author Bryan Davis
. The series follows the adventures of two teens, Billy Bannister and Bonnie Silver. Billy is devastated to find that his father is in fact a dragon disguised in human skin to hide from a centuries-old dragon slayer and his squire. Bonnie has known that her mother was a dragon for years. Both teens carry on traits from their dragon heritage. Bonnie has wings that she keeps hidden in a large hiking backpack, while Billy can breathe fire. When they are found and attacked by a slayer, they must fight for their lives.Dragons in Our Midst
was followed by another four-book series, titled Oracles of Fire
. The first book, Eye of the Oracle
, was a prequel to the DioM series, while the three others, Enoch's Ghost
, Last of the Nephilim
and The Bones of Makaidos
, were all sequels to DioM. This series shifts its focus to other characters that were mostly in the background in the first series, such as Walter, Billy's best friend, and Ashley, an anthrozil (half-dragon, half-human) with a mind far more intelligent than a normal human. It also introduced several new characters, such as Sapphira Adi and Elam, the centuries-old teenagers
. It also introduced several new villains, such as Goliath (a dragon, not the biblical giant), Mardon and Semiramis.
A third series, titled Children of the Bard
, began in 2011, starring Billy and Bonnie's twin children.
A graphic novel of the first book is due in 2014. A Kickstarter project for it is underway.
These series provide examples of:
- The Ageless: Anyone who eats the fruit of the tree that grew from the seed Morgan stole from Eden's Tree of Life. Notably: Morgan herself, Naamah, Sapphira, and Elam.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Most villains who aren't the above mentioned Big Bad.
- Bittersweet Ending: Just about all of them, but especially Tears of a Dragon and The Bones of Makaidos.
- Blessed with Suck: Billy and Bonnie's anthrozil powers don't necessarily endear them to people. Billy accidentally sets off the school fire alarm when his fire breath is first developing and is subsequently framed for smoking, and Bonnie is mistaken for a monster while escaping from the school (with Billy in tow).
- Of course, their abilities eventually are turned around to be Cursed with Awesome, though both tropes are played back and forth throughout the series, depending on the situation they’re in.
- Break the Cutie: Walter was a fun-loving boy scout in the first book. Just about everything goes downhill for him for a long, long time. He turned out pretty well in the end, though.
- Karen and Paili also fit this trope rather well.
- Cast Herd: The first series cast was large, but manageable. The second series added entire hordes of new characters.
- Catch-Phrase: Ashley's "Too much information can make your brain choke".
- Also a Meaningful Echo of sorts for the audience when the prequel, Eye of the Oracle, reveals Ashley's mother Thigocia saying "Too much information can be taxing on our brains", several thousand years before Ashley was even born.
- Thigocia also repeats the Catch-Phrase verbatim while cradling the newborn Ashley.
- Cell Phones Are Useless: Justified: dimension hopping equals horrible reception.
- Cool Gate: Sapphira has the ability to create portals in space and across dimensions via her abilities as an Oracle of Fire.
- Cool Teacher: Professor Charles Hamilton. Why did I never learn about King Arthur in high school?
- Cursed with Awesome
- This trope swaps places with Blessed with Suck back and forth throughout the series, depending on when/where/with whom the characters find themselves.
- Damsel out of Distress: Bonnie. She's in peril a lot, but it doesn't stop her from doing her best to thwart the bad guys and help Billy save her (sometimes, she even saves him).
- David vs. Goliath: Whenever any of the kids are fighting, but especially when the Watchers and Nephilim show up.
- Death Is Cheap: Which made Karen's death even more of a punch to the gut.
- Designated Victim: Bonnie, especially in the first few books. To be fair, this doesn't stop her from getting her moments.
- Easy Evangelism: Subverted. If anyone converts to Christianity, there is going to be a LOT of work to get them to that point.
- Fingore: Shiloh loses a finger while trapped in the sixth circle. It very briefly becomes a source of romantic angst early on in her relationship with Gabriel.
- Foster Kid: Bonnie. At first. Also Matt (Charlie) and Lauren (Karen).
- Gambit Pileup: It can get pretty confusing, with Morgan, Devin, Mardon, Semiramis, possessed Arramos, Valcor, Merlin, the Professor, and a few others all contributing.
- Generation Xerox: The Prof looks a LOT like his distant ancestor, Merlin, to the point that several of the dragons (notably Clefspeare) think he is his ancestor when they first meet him.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Inverted. Bonnie has leathery draconic wings, while the Watchers have more typically angelic wings.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: In Tears of a Dragon, Billy and Bonnie arrive in Dragons’ Rest only to find that all the former dragons have been living identical versions of a single day over and over again, but without any memory or realization of anything beyond the given day they’re currently in.
- Happily Married: Marilyn and Jared Bannister, Carl and Catherine Foley, dragons Makaidos and Thigocia, eventually Ashley and Walter Foley, Billy and Bonnie Bannister, Elam and Sapphira, and Shiloh and Gabriel Drake.
- Healing Hands: Not really healing “hands” so much as “wings”, but a few of the dragons and anthrozils (most notably Thigocia and Ashley) have the ability to heal others under the right conditions.
- King Arthur: There are heaps of references to the myths, considering that Billy is the second coming of Arthur, but Arthur himself also appears in person during the period of Eye of the Oracle that covers medieval Britain and the transformation of the dragons.
- Like Brother and Sister: Makaidos tries to invoke this with Thigocia to get out of the Adam and Eve Plot (see above). Subverted eventually when they become deeply in love and devoted to one another.
- Love Redeems: This trope is played with quite a bit.
- One really interesting inversion of this trope occurs when Naamah is saved by Elam. She tried to seduce him when she was evil, and it is only after she gives up on trying to make him love her and begs him for genuine forgiveness that she is redeemed.
- Made a Slave: Elam, by Morgan, after being kidnapped from his family. This is the series’ explanation for why the Biblical character vanished from record.
- Official Couple: A whole slew of them by the end of The Bones of Makaidos: Bonnie and Billy, Ashley and Walter, Sapphira and Elam, Gabriel and Shiloh, to name a few.
- Out of Focus: Billy and Bonnie are rarely mentioned in most of the Oracles of Fire.
- Playing with Fire: Sapphira and Acacia can make it, Billy breathes it. And of course, any of the dragons in their native form can also breathe fire.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Walter Foley, especially in the first four books. Not as much in Oracles of Fire, but he definitely has his moments.
Walter: So we have... Me, Elam, Billy, Bonnie, Valiant, Candle, Yereq, Sir Barlow, and Sapphira. That's nine of us and the dragons. [whistles] I don't know about you, but if we're facing hundreds of crazed warriors trained to kill, I'd like at least ten.
- Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: There are loads of these.
- Rage Against the Heavens: What most of the villains are doing, though their methods and time frames all vary. None of them are ultimately successful.
- Raised by Grandparents: Ashley, who was raised by her grandfather Isaac Stalworth after her parents' deaths. Subverted in that we learn Isaac Stalworth is not actually her grandfather, but just a family friend.
- Red Shirts: Most of Devin's underlings, no matter what century.
- Second Coming: The main character, Billy Bannister, is the second coming of King Arthur.
- Sibling Team: Acacia and Sapphira, whenever they're actually in the same place at the same time.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Twins Valcor and Hartanna definitely show shades of this.
- She's All Grown Up: Paili, who took on a human name, grew up in the real world, and got married and had a kid.
- Slave Mooks: Many in the first act of Eye of the Oracle, both underborns and kidnapped humans who were Made a Slave.
- Spider-Sense: Billy and the dragons have an ability to sense immediate danger.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Between Bonnie and Shiloh, who are cousins. This becomes very plot relevant.
- Take That!: Against the entire human race, courtesy of the possessed Arramos.
- A Taste of the Lash: Nabal uses this on many of Morgan’s underborns, specifically Mara (albeit very briefly) and Elam’s fellow brick-maker (who died from the experience).
- Team Hand-Stack: Billy, Walter, Ashley, and Bonnie have one of these in The Bones of Makaidos before the final battle.
- Walter, Billy, and Ashley also have one at the end of The Last of the Nephilim.
- Tempting Apple: Morgan produces fruit that is essentially identical to that of the Tree of Life in the original Garden of Eden.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Interestingly subverted: a lot of emphasis is put on killing honorably (through fair fights) instead of dishonorably (ambushes, back stabbing, etc.), but this doesn't stop several of the heroes from having a fairly high kill count, especially the dragons.
- Through His Stomach: Though she wasn’t setting out to win his heart originally, Sapphira befriended Elam by feeding him through a hole in the wall when they were slaves. Later, they often refer back to this event (with the wiggling fingers gesture) as shorthand for “I love you.” Elam also says that he would devote his life to “the girl who risked her life to feed me."
- Tower of Babel: The Eye of the Oracle features the actual Biblical story—now with dragons and inter-dimensional science.
- Unexplained Recovery: Several different people. Doctor Conner, Roxil, Goliath, any dragon who ended up in Dragons Rest, the original ten female dragons who became human, Arramos (sort of), Billy, Bonnie... the list goes on.) It would actually probably be easier to list the subversions.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Morgan had some limited uses of this power in her backstory, as seen in early chapters of Eye of the Oracle when she transformed into a raven.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Walter proposes to Ashley by building a snowman kneeling in front of a snowwoman on the roof of a greenhouse. He rigs the hand of the snowman to melt, revealing an actual engagement ring it is presenting to the snowwoman. He then goes on to make a dramatic speech in true Walter style.
- Weddings for Everyone: This occurs at the end of The Bones of Makaidos with the triple wedding ceremony of Walter and Ashley, Elam and Sapphira, and Billy and Bonnie.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Sapphira, Acacia, and Elam all go through bouts of feeling like this during the several-thousand-year period of waiting in Eye of the Oracle. Considering they were almost totally isolated for much of that period, it’s impressive that they didn’t suffer serious psychological issues.
- Wild Mass Guessing: The forums would always be most active a few weeks before the book came out. One of the biggest topics was about Palin, specifically why he didn't kill Bonnie.
- When a member guessed that Palin had a daughter at one point and couldn't bring himself to kill someone else's little girl, Davis's response was that the member was "sowing a fertile field" .
- Winged Humanoid: Bonnie, the Watchers, Gabriel.
- Also, it's implied in the epilogue for The Bones of Makaidos that one of Billy and Bonnie's twins will grow a pair of wings when he or she gets older.
- World Tree: Morgan’s “tree of life” is a smaller version, planted from seeds of the original.