Riddle me this. What if God asked you to leave your family, all that you know and become his prophet- to bring truth and prophecy to people that really don't want to hear it, don't want to obey it and oh yeah, the kicker, being in His service will mean that your life will be cut short. It doesn't sound like a job that most would sign up for. But Ela Roeh of Parne a young 17 year old girl somehow with her close relationship with "the Infinite" just can't refuse. She is a most remarkable girl with many of the insecurities of most 17 year old girls feeling inadequate and unworthy of the task ahead of her most of the time. Yet Ela perseveres and gets better and better throughout the story in hearing the Infinite's voice, seeking Him at every turn and doing what He tells her to do.
Along the way she meets a young handsome Traceland ambassador named Kien who is seeking justice and help for his downtrodden people. Ela and Kien's paths cross and the Infinite is working in both of their lives to bring about His plans for all people involved in this war filled time. In Ela's mind, Kien can't be a part of her future because she is a prophet for the Infinite. And yet they are thrown together time after time. Could the Infinite's plans for them both be different than what she thought?
This story does well by the Christian Fantasy genre and it is fun to see a new face on the scene in R J Larson. I thought the characters were engaging and relatable and enjoyed the addition of the trusty steed "Scythe" of "Pet" and the humor that he brought to the story. I liked the pacing with Kien being a total non-believer at the beginning of the novel, but as the story progresses and he starts seeking out the Infinite, how He is finally able to hear his voice. It wasn't instantaneous and I like that, it had a ring of truth to it. I am looking forward to the next book in the series titled Judge.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review- all opinions expressed are honest and my own.
Although I ended up enjoying R. J. Larson's Prophet, it took me a while to get into it. Many events, particularly in the beginning, just happened too quickly without any build-up, and seemed to unfold a little too simply. However, it did get interesting, and I enjoyed the ending.
One aspect I liked about this book was that it made me think of how the Lord speaks to me in my life, and how easily I listen to Him. Ela, when speaking with the Infinite, either gets a clear, plain verbal answer right away, or the Infinite stays silent for the time being. While I don't think it's that clear all the time, I think that perhaps I make my communication with the Lord more complex than it needs to be. Since reading the book I have been more reflective of what the Lord expects of me in my life.
Overall, I would recommend the book to young readers who appreciate adventure while trying to understand their relationship with God. A more mature reader may not appreciate this book as much, but I would like to read the second book in this series and I hope the author continues to refine her writing style with practice and time. I appreciate Bethany Publishers for providing a free copy for review, which did not affect my opinion expressed here.
The first thing that catches the readers attention and draws them in is the beautiful cover design. It is extremely well-done! And the cover design is only the beginning of a rich and action-packed adventure that is full of biblical allusions and full of imagination.
Larson does an amazing job writing "Prophet". He uses fantasy to not only grab his readers attention and keep them enthralled, but he use the biblical allusions to bring out truths of God, Spiritual Warfare, and godly character traits. The main character Ela, along with her younger sister, Tzana, and other characters, are beautifully flawed with struggles and hardships that enable the reader to feel a bit of themselves in each character and find encouragement and a purpose through struggles and hardships. In this story, the reader is able to see that God is refining us and has a purpose in all things, even when we mess up and make mistakes...He still uses it for His purpose and His good.
"Prophet" is well-written with many deep and hidden truths and messages within this fantasy adventure that continually makes you feel as though you, the reader, is right there in the story. It is extremely difficult to put it down and return to reality while you are reading this story. "Prophet" is a book worth buying and reading not just once, but several times. I really look forward to the following books in this series.
I really enjoyed the book once I got into it. I just had a little trouble getting into it.
Ela is the prophet of the Infinite. The synopsis says she's undignified and hot-tempered, but I didn't see that in the beginning (although I did see it later on). All I saw was good-little-girl Ela making the right decision and following the Infinite, no matter the cost. I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying I wish it had gone slower. I'm kind of curious about what Ela's relationship with the Infinite was like before.
I did find it a little annoying that the Infinite told Ela that she would die young if she became a prophet, but Ela hardly hesitated. There was no inner conflict - "Do I follow the Infinite or do I live to a ripe old age?" She just did the right thing immediately.
Later on in the book, after there'd been some time to flesh out Ela's personality, I liked her much better. I just think R. J. Larson jumped into the whole prophet thing too fast.
I connected better with Kien than Ela in the beginning. Kien was just a fun character. I loved how he could be optimistic and witty even when he's in prison. He was the kind of person I'd like to hang out with. (I'd say more, but that would involve spoilers.)
I'm glad Tzana wasn't a really major character. She was sweet, but she was a little too perfect to be a relatable character. (Tzana is pronounced TSAW-nah. I'm also glad of the pronunciation guide in the front.)
The plot was highly reminiscent of Old Testament prophets, but I enjoyed it, just the same. It had enough battles and political intrigue and assassination attempts to satisfy adventure-loving me, while enough of Ela's relationship with the Infinite to make me wish my relationship with God was like that.
Overall, what I'm trying to say is, despite the fact that I didn't connect with Ela at first, I really enjoyed the book. And I plan to read JUDGE, the next book in the series, when it comes out in November.
I received a copy of PROPHET for review from Bethany House publishers. Their generosity did not influence, or seek to influence, my opinion of this book.
I enjoyed this book and I can hardly stand the idea of waiting until October for the next one. The story was enthralling, and as I finished I was compelled to read the prophets in the Bible, to see with new eyes the challenges and difficulties those called of God faced. The kings who were blind to their own failings, the servants of the Most High who refused to back down, knowing that their God was (and is!) greater than any human He created.
I was also intrigued by the concept of a woman prophet. I could think of only one in Scripture - Isaiah's wife, who is referred to only as "the prophetess", but who is obedient to God in raising her children and naming them for the prophecies God decreed. Prophet also echoes themes from Jeremiah, as the main character, Ela, feels deeply the rejection of God that the people continue to avow, even as she provides example after example of what that rejection means.
Elijah, too, is seen in broad strokes in the story. The kings and queens who worship idols are condemned by their actions, their poor leadership, and their continued pride. God's judgment is repeatedly foretold, and the hard hearted continually persist in selfishness and foolishness. The beauty of this book is that while it can be read as a stand-alone work and enjoyed, it is far better with an in-depth review of the Old Testament prophets - because both are much more colorful for the parallels and insight.
I recommend this book. Anyone who wants to get a clearer understanding of what it truly means to surrender to God, to live as His servant to the nth degree, will be well served by reading the story R.J. Larson provides. If, as you read, you too are compelled to revisit your Old Testament, all the better. God's love never changes, His compassion never ceases, and His faithfulness is great.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255