"King" is the third and final book in the fantasy series "The Books of the Infinite" by R.J. Larson. I am truly sad to have finished the series because I really love all the characters. Throughout this series the author strives to bring Old Testament prophets to life in a fresh, understandable way. I found myself understanding many of the Old Testament stories better after reading these books. Also, I was challenged to pray and talk to my God, my Creator, more often than I do.
"King" was very well written, the author definitely improved her writing style by the third book. Of all three, I don't think I could choose a favorite because they were each so different, and wonderful. I loved how Kien and Ela's relationship blossoms, they are the sweetest fictional couple I have ever met, and I love the faith they had in their Creator to carry them through difficulties.
But the real focus in this story is Akabe, King of Siphra. In many ways He reminds me of King David in the Bible. Akabe is a nobody, who becomes king and desires to rebuild the Infinite's temple. His zeal for rebuilding becomes pride, and Akabe begins to make poor decisions based on his impulses, not the Infinite's leading. Akabe reminds me of David because he truly wanted to seek God's will, was a man after God's own heart, but made foolish choices. This story tells how our choices have consequences, but God is merciful and will always love us and forgive us when we go our own way.
Another leading character in this story is Akabe's wife, Caitria. She is from a family who follows a false goddess Atea, and she denies the existence of the Infinite. Akabe marries her for the sake of rebuilding the temple but trouble escalates when Caitria's family, Atea worshipers, seek to kill Akabe and destroy the temple. Her story is how she finds love from her Creator, and how her mistakes also have consequences. Caitria is an interesting character, although I feel that her story was the least developed. The plot for Akabe and Caitria was weak, in my opinion. It could have been much stronger if it had unraveled over two more books (like Ela and Kien). It felt like a rushed, lacking romance and a quick conversion from Atean to the Infinite. However, the story was still good, but just not as strong as the previous two books.
All in all I would still highly recommend this series, whether you enjoy fantasy or not, this series was tastefully done to still be believable. I look forward to more books by this author, and I will greatly miss these characters. I think I will someday revisit these old "friends".
I received this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
First, let me say that I seldom read YA fictionâ€”and never speculative. However, R.J. Larson's ability to weave Old Testament tales with imaginary kingdoms and lovable monster-horses has been an incredible journey that I've enjoyed immensely.
Book #1 of the series, Prophet, introduced us to Ela of Parne, a young girl charged with the huge task of speaking the Infinite's message to whomever whenever He commanded. Also in that first offering, we met Kien Lantec, a spoiled and brash nobleman who matured through suffering and became the main character of Judge, Book #2 of the series. Now, in Book #3, we meet a friend of both Kien and Ela's, King Akabe, who finds himself in a circumstance similar to that of one of the Old Testament kings. Akabe of Siphra never wanted to be king in the first place.
QUICK! Can you think of an Old Testament king that was crowned unwillingly? Give up? Check out 1 Samuel 10, and there may be others.
Prophet, Judge, and King use subtle Old Testament inferences to keep Bible-lovers alert for golden threads of biblical stories woven throughout. Each book is a biblical treasure hunt, challenging the reader to apply scriptural truths in a make-believe world that then translates meaning into our daily lives.
Why make-believe? Why fantasy? Larson's kingdoms of Siphra and Parne seem quite Victorian, and though some of the woodland and desert "creatures" are most definitely speculative, they're used appropriately for the lessons being taught and learned. The best reason I've discovered for reading speculative fiction? Because when I see a concept at its barest level, without real life complications, I can then apply it more effectively to my life. Applying biblical principles to a completely fictional circumstance allows me to focus more keenly on the principle.
Here's one example: As the book description says, Akabe of Siphrah doesn't want to be king, but because the Infinite commands it, he obeys. A young princess, Kien Lantec, and Ela of Parne are similarly reluctant in areas of their livesâ€”facing choices between their will or God's will. As the story plays out, I can assess each character's struggle to obey or disobey with utmost objectivity because I'll never be a king, a princess, a warrior, or a prophet. I'll never fight scalns, be held captive in a dungeon, or bring down an empire. ïŠ But I WILL be called to obey my God, and this utterly fantastic story taught me more about obedience.
Akabe, King of Siphra has two choices before him as he tries to rebuild the Infinite's temple: he can either marry a foreign wife in exchanged for the temple's land, or he can build the temple elsewhere. He chooses to marry Caitria Theanfall and receive her dowry, the temple land.
Meanwhile, Ela Roeh and Kien Lantec (Of Larson's former books Prophet and Judge), have been married. They have just begun managing their estate when the king calls them to court. Because of his marriage to Caitria, there are many plots to take both the king and the queen's life. So Ela, Kien, Akabe, Caitria, and a few guards set off to hide as part of a plot to discover who the would-be assassins really are. However, even in hiding there are still dangers.
This was a wonderful book. I had never read the first two books and I was still able to pick up on the story line fairly quickly. It was really well written and had a great plotline. I would highly recommend this book.
I received a free e-book copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
I've just come home from a long weekend at the lake. When I wasn't in or on the water, I was often found reading this fantastic book. I received King from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. (For the government man.) ~smile~
Prophet and Judge were such magnificent stories, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the latest novel in the Books of the Infinite series, King by R.J. Larson.
Time seemed to stand still as I lost myself in these pages. The emotions, struggles and intrigue woven into the personal lives of the prophet Ela, Kien, Akabe, and Caitria are magnified as their stories and futures intertwine into one. King's ancient setting was a welcome respite from the twentieth century. ~smile~ I love Christian allegories, and Larson is a master storyteller. This is the best book series I've read in ages. As I finished the last sentence of King, I found myself sad that it was the end. The narrative and the characters were that compelling.
The thing that made this series so valuable to me is the way it made me think about God, my Infinite. There was something about calling Him Infinite that made me take notice, to be aware of Him, in a way I might not otherwise have thought about Him. No wonder He calls Himself "I AM".
I strongly suggest reading this series in order, beginning with the story of Ela of Parne, The Prophet followed by Judge. It just makes more sense to read them in order.
Once again R.J. Larson has crafted a story that tells Biblical truths and even Bible stories in such an entertaining manner that the reader doesn't feel preached at.
I absolutely enjoyed the hints of Job and many other stories that I recognized from Sunday School and my own Bible reading. In many ways King convicted me about praying while awaiting God's direction and following it to the letter when it does come. In some ways this book reminded of the song Smell The Color 9, even if God doesn't speak to you with a burning bush, or in this case a vine wood branch, he will still take you where you need to be. Akabe doesn't exactly wait on God patiently and thus he learns another equally important fact: God can use even our mistakes for our greater good, and even that of others.
This book is packed with vivid settings and imagery. I felt like I was there watching the sword fights, seeing the damage done to a certain enemy's palace, you could feel the characters fear, and Ela's pain at the continued rebellion against the Infinite. Each of your senses along with your emotions will be engaged in this thrilling book
Just as well written and page turning as it's predecessors, King is a book that will entertain and teach at the same time. I, honestly, could hardly put it down. I just HAD to know what was going to happen next. Even now several days after I finished reading it I am still thinking off an on about the characters or something I learned.
I sincerely hope that R.J. Larson continues writing more of this style of book, either continuing the series or possible writing another one. Fantasy isn't my top choice in genres but R.J.'s books have been and will continue to be at the top of my wishlist!
(I received this book from BethanyHouse in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.)