I'm really getting hooked on this series (Books of the Infinite). It's like ï»¿reading Jeremiah--only Jeremiah is a young woman, the prophet called Ela. And the setting is in areas totally unknown to us. Sorta like Jeremiah meets Jonah meets Braveheart. Lots of action, lots of tight scrapes, a cup or two of heartache, and a dash of romance.
Ela Roeh has a friend named Kien Lantek who would like to be more than a friend. Oh, but she wishes the Infinite would allow her to live long enough to marry Kien. The trouble is, everyone knows prophets die young. She's fairly certain that when she tells her own people over and over again to stop worshiping other gods and follow only the Infinite, they will kill her.
Kien is beginning to think prophets' friends die young too. Especially after a big fish swallows him and then regurgitates him on the shore of the land he's supposed to judge. All the Infinite will tell the now very smelly and acid-burned Kien is that he has to tell the people to repent or die.
I don't read a lot fantasy, instead picking and choosing the few authors that I truly like. R.J. Larson is one of those that I REALLY like! I first heard about The Books Of The Infinite series about a year or so ago. The first book (Prophet) looked interesting but I didn't pursue reading it until I found out that the author had written one of my favorite series of Biblical Fiction, under another name. I read Prophet and really enjoyed it. I had been excitedly awaiting the next book, Judge, and believe me it didn't disappoint!
Aah, where to start? Prophecies, sacrifice, betrayal, a little romance, adventure, battles, destiny, and a little fencing match, all pointing to the Creator. What more could you want in a book? The author packs a lot of story into 350+ pages and all of it well worth the time spent reading.
One of the things I look for in an author's writing is, not only the attention to detail, but also how descriptive they are of settings without going overkill. I love authors that can paint an entire scene in a few simple words, a scene that is like watching a movie in your mind, almost as if you are there. R.J. Larson has it down to a 'T' in this book.
The world of The Books Of The Infinite is imaginative and well thought out. The reader is drawn in and at least for a time becomes a part of that world.
I loved the nod to the Biblical story of Jonah. Who would have thought that the story would be just as thought-provoking in a medieval/otherworld setting? Other Biblical stories and themes make their appearance and many readers will readily recognize them.
I enjoyed reacquainting myself with characters from Prophet, they seemed like old friends. Ela, Kien, Tzana, Beka, Ela's parents Dan and Kalme, and not the least Scythe or Pet as he is also called much to his chagrin. Triumph and tragedy will change the lives of all involved.
Not only is this an entertaining story but there are many lessons slipped into the pages that are well worth learning. Themes of following God's leading no matter what, repentance and forgiveness, trust, love, kindness, all shine through in such a way that it doesn't come across as preaching or a Sunday School lesson.
I sincerely enjoyed this book and I am happy to say that I have the next book, King, waiting for me on my shelf. I can't wait to dive back into The Books Of The Infinite!
(I purchased this book and am in no way obligated to write a review. All opinions are my own.)
You know an author is good when a book arrives at my house and my wife and I immediately start battling to see who can read it first. Such was the case with "Judge" by R.J. Larson, especially shocking because my wife doesn't even usually like fantasy fiction! However, both of us were absolutely mesmerized by the first book in the series, "Prophet", and couldn't wait to return to the story of Ela of Parne and Kien Lantec. We were certainly not disappointed. From the first page, the story pulses with energy and moves along quickly, following the story of both Ela and Kien as the Infinite sends them in opposite directions to proclaim his longing for people to turn to him. The conclusion is suspenseful and climatic, and both my wife and I found it extremely difficult to put the book down. Larson's writing is poetic, a pleasure to read, and yet absolutely entertaining at the same time. As with the first book, I also found my faith challenged and tested by reading this fiction book set in a fantasy world, as I saw all too many similarities to the world around us as the reader encounters a people and societies bent on their own pleasure, ignoring the divine.
R.J. Larson continues to impress me with her writing ability and also the fantastic world and stories she has created in this series. "Judge" is a worthy read, and sure to appeal to readers who usually are drawn to fantasy books, but also to readers who normally wouldn't give such books a try. I urge you to pick up this book - you won't be disappointed! 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Judge is the second book in the Books of the Infinite series and is as exciting and well written as Prophet.
Kien Lantec has just returned home on military leave when the Infinite tells him to go to ToronSea to warn the faithful against the Siphran worshipers of Atea to whom they have offered refuge.
Meanwhile Ela receives a vision that Parne is about to be judged for their idol worship. Parne's fall was not sudden, but Ela had been unaware of the Atean worshipers as she grew-up.
As Ela and Tzana return to Parne, Jon and Beka Thel accompany them to ascertain the true situation in Parne and to provide protection along the way. But Parne tries to refuse their Prophet admittance, so the Infinite opens the gates for the travelers from the Tracelands.
Kien's mission in ToronSea doesn't go as he imagined and as a result he is given a second mission by the Infinite. Can Kien suceed in Adar-iyr or will he again fail the Infinite?
But the citizens of Parne have been deceived by the Adversary's shadow servants and the Chacens. As Ela tries turn the hearts and souls of Parne she is met with anger and derision. Are these truly her people?
Parne is about to be found wanting and judgment is at hand. Will the faithful stand firm in their belief as their world crumbles around them? Who will Parne choose? Will Ela now see the end of her life as she has foreseen?
Throughout Judge one can see glimpses of Jonah, Samuel, Eli and Eli's sons. Judge is a story of trust, trust in the Infinite and allowing Him to lead one on the paths of life that are placed before us. Judge is a fabulous sequel to Prophet and will leave you in anticipation of book 3 King (excerpt found in back of Judge). This is one book you'll want to re-read and to share!
I received a copy of this title from the publisher Bethany House as part of their reviewer program.
No expectations were placed on this review and all opinions expressed are my own.
I loved this book, maybe even more than I loved PR
January 7, 2013
Age: Under 18
In JUDGE, Kien had the central story, where in PROPHET, Ela's was more central. I liked Kien in PROPHET, but I loved him in JUDGE. This book built upon what I knew of him from PROPHET, and got into his head - showing all his hopes and fears, dreams and frustrations. And it cemented the fact that Kien is my favorite character.
That's not to say I didn't like Ela - I did. But even though she was a point-of-view character, the story was really Kien's more than hers, and it didn't get into her head nearly as much. I enjoyed following her around, and she was a fine character, but she wasn't the most interesting character of the bunch.
As for the plot...in PROPHET, the plot was slightly reminiscent of Old Testament prophets. JUDGE was more than reminiscent. Off the top of my head, I can think of two different scenes that were almost exactly the same as two Bible stories.
That wasn't a problem for me, though. Quite the contrary - I enjoyed trying to figure out if R.J. Larson made up such-and-such a scene or if it was based on a prophet from the Bible. Between Kien's adventures at ToronSea and Adar-iyr and judgement on Parne (in the form of an invading army), I was totally enthralled.
I also enjoyed the romance angle, even if most of it was in the form of Kien worrying about Ela. I keep wanting to yell at Ela, "Stop protesting and agree to marry him, already!" I can't wait to see how that turns out.
I loved this book, maybe even more than I loved PROPHET. I can't wait until the third book, KING, comes out in June.
*I received a review copy of JUDGE from Bethany House Publishers. Their generosity did not influence, or seek to influence, this review.*