Hey, all! So last week, I went on a Kindle search through my archives upon archives to see if I had any Christian fiction hidden somewhere in the murky depths (felt like getting back into that). And lo and behold, I stumbled across Prophet by R. J. Larson, a sort of Old-Testament-style Christian fantasy.
Am I ever glad that I did.
“A silver-haired prophet has failed.”
~~The Sages of Parne
Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she’s much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne’s elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.
Yet she can’t imagine living without Him.
One thing in particular that I found interesting about this plot was how complex it was—it wasn’t complicated, but layered, like it was several shorter stories compiled into one. From the many places Ela goes to the things she’s able to do, the events she witnesses and the people she speaks to, it all unfolds in a way that’s very like real life, or a possible real life, in the sense that you don’t really know where you’re going to end up and it’s hard to predict how things are going to unfold—but then the next step does and the next step does and you just keep going. I don’t know that that style always works, but it definitely did for Prophet, and it was really neat to see the characters, their journey, and development being what tied the high concept together, rather than the high concept leading the characters. I mean, I do like it the other way around, but as a huge fan of character-centered stories, I was pretty into this way too. 😉
Plot: 4 stars out of 5
As aforementioned, these characters were very good. Admittedly, it took me a little to get into some of them, but by the end, I quite loved this cast. Ela is so sweet and kind and real and courageous to be willing to endure everything that she did for the cause of her Lord. It was so revealing to see her in her own POV, her turmoil as she struggled to be the prophet she thought she ought to be, and then Kien, the boy, seeing her on his side as this lovely, strange, even a little feisty young woman. It made it even more encouraging to watch her difficulties, decisions, and developments, because it gave a such a full and, again, layered picture of her character.
As for the others, Tzana, Ela’s little sister, was adorable; Kien was cool (and cute) from the very beginning, and also, I’mma need me a destroyer (enormous horses who eat everything that tries to touch their pledged masters) because they are AWESOME, thank.
Honestly, though, even the minor characters deserve a major thumbs up: each of them clearly had their own story going on, lives and aspirations of their own that just happened to spin into the orbit of the mains’. I love what the author did with the other believer charries (spoilers, sorry, but it was good), and I can’t wait to see more of Tsir Aun, Tek Lara, Beka, and John in future books.
Characters: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Both the writing and setting were solid. The writing developed the story and the characters in the absolute best style for this story, and the setting constantly hinted at a very full and realized world. The different countries and classes of countries, the politics within and between the nations, all of that was so there and it made me feel like this world they were in could’ve been a very real place. Granted, individual settings weren’t quite as clear to me, but my imagination had no trouble fleshing them out to match the sweeping overall landscape they were a part of.
Writing Style/Setting: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
So, what’s been on your reading list lately? Read any fantasy or retelling styles of interest? Let me know in the comment section! Can’t wait to hear from you all!