Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski | Re:View

Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski is the tale of angry teen, Nick, and his path through reading a book handed down from his descendants that ultimately teaches the folly of pride and the reality of spiritual warfare.

I appreciated the reality of drawing attention to spiritual warfare in this book. Yes! It is so important for all of us (no matter our age) to be aware. I also thought that Mr. Machowski did a great job of pointing out the error (a grave one at that) of pride. It corrupts, taints all things, and separates us from God.

I also enjoyed Mr. Machowski's explanation of the dragon as representative of the devil's fall from heaven. His alterations to fit "the dragon" into Biblical stories was intriguing and created an interesting story to follow along to.

I think where this book began to break down for me was its intended audience. It's labeled as Young Adult and I therefore assume it's written for teens. The trouble for me upon first starting the book was the fact that it starts out in the mother's point of view. If I were still a teen, that would be very off-putting for me. How do I identify with a mom? Not to mention the fact that the "angry teen", Nick, is then portrayed as just that: an angry teen.

In my experience with youth ministry, the way to relate to teens is not by showing them exaggerated examples of themselves, but to establish common ground and then gently, lovingly, point out where there are issues. You build a relationship and then maneuver to the difficult subjects.

On that note, I also had trouble accepting the characters motivations and interactions with one another. I found it difficult to believe Martha would act as she did toward her friend Mia. I also was distracted by the head-hopping (switching from one characters POV to another within the same scene). I assume this was written in omniscient POV but it was distracting to me personally.

I did, however, really enjoy the "The Antidote" section of the book. A practical, 12-day devotional that would work well for a small group or Bible study.

All in all, I would say that this book could be useful to teens who already have an understanding of the Bible and are part of church culture so they would have some context to the story. I would be hesitant to hand this over to a teen who had no affiliation with Christianity. To me, Nick's character is described exactly how a parent would characterize him (at least initially) not as a teen a teen could relate to. He's angry, misunderstood, and volatile without reason (again, initially). Yes, I realize that is how teens act, but to a teen reading that, I think it could feel trite or off-putting. 

Rating: 3.5
Purchase: Dragon Seed

Book Description
(from Amazon)
An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background. Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. Tempted to run away after yet another argument with his mom, Nick receives a handwritten, leather-bound copy of an old book a family legend passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book, called Dragon Seed, leads Nick deep into his family s history and introduces him to another angry young man who lived in the shadows (the shadows of the tombs). Like Nick, you ll be shocked to discover where he fits in this story of epic proportions! This page-turning, young adult fiction story invites older children and teens into the real-life struggles of Nick. But it also ushers them into an imaginative exploration of the life of the young man Jesus saved as he wandered through the tombs. Best-selling author Marty Machowski uses both stories to introduce the reality of spiritual warfare and how its shadows affect and change us. Machowski, a trusted teacher for children of all ages, presents a thoroughly biblical view of spiritual warfare that emphasizes the importance of humility and dangers of pride. Teens will be drawn to the story of Nick and his struggles and will learn, as they read, to also identify the shadows in their own life and turn from them. While the biblical teaching is evident throughout the narrative of Dragon Seed, Machowski also includes a twelve-lesson Bible study at the end of the book to help teens ground their understanding of spiritual warfare on biblical principles. Youth pastors, leaders, and parents will also want to explore with teens the small group study at the end of the book with its unique take on spiritual warfare that emphasizes the biblical theme of humility. This is a perfect book to read with a group and discuss together the implications of Nick s struggles for their lives.

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I received this book for free but was under no obligation to post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.