Amazon’s recommendations coupled with an extremely low price sent the young adult fantasy Prophet by R. J. Larson into my shopping cart and onto my Kindle.
What could it hurt? It was a novel in my genre. Good writers read voraciously and they select titles written by peers. Success on all counts!
The title compelled me. I hoped for something allegorical without a preachy undertone (or overtone). The fact it was the first book in a series didn’t hurt. If I love it, I know where to find more books I’ll enjoy.
Ela, nearly 18, is an atypical girl in her society. She’s dedicated to the Infinite (deity) and subject to the will of her parents.
The Infinite speaks directly into her mind. She also has visions. When given the choice to serve as his prophet, even though “all true prophets died young,” she accepts. After all, she can’t imagine a life without hearing his voice.
She gets sent into the desert in a scene reminiscent of Elijah after his battle with the prophets of Baal. Afterwards, she’s sent to deliver a scathing message to a king who has viciously destroyed an innocent city.
Of course, she is imprisoned. Attempts are made on her life. She meets a man. There is an intense battle and her eyes are opened to the spiritual battle around it. This haling back to Elisha praying for the eyes of his servant to be opened and see the host of the Lord encamped around the city.
Just when she finds a place she loves, she is kidnapped and then directed to deliver another message. This time the recipient is an evil queen – a regular Jezebel.
I enjoyed the writing and the quick-moving plot in this book. It held my interest from the beginning.
The story problem is vague and generalized. This won’t be a problem for readers. There is a problem and events escalate until it is resolved.
In this story, the romance isn’t a central part of the plot. It does add conflict for Ela and makes her character arc more interesting. It also adds some happiness to an otherwise dismal existence for the main character.
I considered purchasing the next book in the series. It adds a minor character from this book as a major point of view character. From the blurb, it sounded like more doomsday prophecies for Ela to deliver with an overarching problem for one of the other characters to solve.
It’s on my “to be read” list. I think I can learn much as a writer from the style of Larson. I have a feeling the resolution I want for Ela won’t be forthcoming and so I’m avoiding being my own sort of prophet by not reading the entire series.
I gave it four stars on Goodreads and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It didn’t get the highest marks from me because of the problems I saw with the structure.
If you like allegory and a fast-paced story, you’ll find Prophet well worth the time investment.