Monday, December 31

Prophet by R.J. Larson

Ela of Parne is only 17 years old, yet the Infinite has chosen her to be His prophet. She is the first female prophet of Parne and she knows that prophets die young. That is not exactly an encouraging thought. Ela is called to Istgard, where the people have turned away from the Infinite. In a story strongly influenced by the judges and prophets of the Old Testament, Ela must convince the people to turn from their sinful ways or be doomed.

Joining her is her younger sister, Tzana, who suffers a disease causing her to age pre-maturely. She also meets up with Kien, an ambassador from Traceland who also seeks to save his people from Istgard. Will Ela faithfully serve the Infinite, knowing it will likely lead to her death, or will her feelings win out?

It didn’t take long for me to be sucked into the story. R.J. Larson’s opening was very descriptive, and I could easily envision what was taking place. The introduction of Ela also gave me a clear picture. The dialogue was smooth, and flowed easily. Each character was fairly distinct in their speaking style, making it easy to follow the many long sections of dialogue when the speaker was not always clearly identified.

As I read further, the descriptiveness of events stayed clear, though descriptions of the world seemed muddled at times. At first I thought this was going to be set in Biblical times, but quickly found it to be a fantasy story set in a Middle Eastern-ish realm. There are several different groups of people, but at times I had a hard time understanding the full differences between them. With the exception of the horse like ‘destroyers,’ I had a hard time visualizing some of the strange creatures Larson introduces. Though a fantasy story, the world didn’t feel as if it needed brand new creatures being created.

While I always had a clear picture of the lead characters, at times they seem a bit too perfect. Ela doesn’t always understand the Infinite’s reasoning, but she still follows his commands. She also has a bit of a temper, but that tends to be underplayed, and when she is angry, it tends to be more of a righteous anger. She lacked any real flaw and any changing she went through tended to happen near the beginning, when she first became the prophet. For the rest of the book, she seems relatively unchanged. I did find Kien to be an interesting character, but he had more of a supporting role.

Though not a perfect book, Prophet did hold my interest throughout, and I liked the ties it seemed to have with the prophets and judges from the Bible. I would be interested in reading the sequel, Judge.

3/5 Stars

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