Song of the Ovulum, by Bryan Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book of the "Children of the Bard" series. It continues the saga of humans, dragons, demons, and all sorts of other creatures that began with the 4 books of the "Dragons in our Midst" series and continued with the "Oracles of Fire" series, also 4 books. Although a summary of those 8 books is provided in an appendix, the story is very, very complicated and almost impossible to follow without having read at least a few of the preceding volumes. I had read four of the eight, began with the summary, and was still confused throughout much of this book.
The confusion is in part due to the fact that there is no one stable element in any of the setting. The story takes place in various worlds and references even more. The beginning chapter opens near the time of the Great Flood, instantly transports the characters forward quite a large span, and ends in current time. Much of the book involves flashbacks and visions that are virtually indistinguishable as past, present, or future. Add to this the fact that most of the characters have died and been resurrected at some point. As a result of this, they sometimes changed state (dragon to human, human to wraith, human to dragon—you get the picture) and often took on new names, too. My head was spinning to keep up.
I gave a quick rundown of the plot in Song of the Ovulum to my teen-aged daughter, and she had no trouble following what I was talking about. She had read one more book in the series than I had, and apparently this was a key book in grasping some of the significant characters.
Apart from that, there is a powerful message of forgiveness and mercy in this story. The characters have to make peace with wrongs they’ve done and wrongs that have been done to them, especially as they understand the consequences of allowing bitterness to take root within them. Love among family members is shown in a very strong light, and God—-referred to as Elohim-—is recognized as the Supreme Being. The main heroes are brave teenagers with special powers, with plenty of help from adults and dragons. All look to Elohim for guidance and strength, and the acknowledge that it’s He who teaches them the all-important mercy song. Their journey is one of discovering who they are, what their purposes are in the grand scheme, and battling the forces that seek to destroy their worlds.
I’m interested in continuing this series, but I think I may go back and fill in the blanks by reading the books I missed. I would recommend Song of the Ovulum to teens who like the fantasy genre, or as a family read-aloud with children (CAUTION: Occasionally dragon fire burns an enemy, sometimes resulting in death.) It’s also a good read for adults, but be aware that you will need to study the appendix and understand the general story before beginning this one.
**NOTE: This book was provided to me as a free review copy from netGalley.