Prophet, by R.J. Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: 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. Determined to hear the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R.J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women's Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman's Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.
SERIES: Books of the Infinite, Book 1
MY OPINIONS: A young lady in the days of horses, chariots, swords, and kings, makes an unlikely prophet. Her little sister Tzana, a fragile child with a debilitating disease, makes an unlikely traveling companion. The huge war-horse that is anything but gentle, makes an unlikely protector for the two girls. But they journey to wherever their god, the Infinite, sends them on His official business.
Throughout this fantasy tale of God sending a prophet to call kingdoms back to Him, threads of the connection between the Creator and his creation are woven. The Infinite speaks to and through the horse, the wild animals, the rulers, and the common people.
(I have to tell you, as someone who has a huge soft spot for handicapped children, Tzana's prominence in this story really touched me. Seeing the importance God places on these little ones and how Tzana is used by Him is refreshing.)
As Ela completes various missions for God, we see what happens when the listener responds to the Creator's voice and turns to Him, and what happens when he rejects God. Despite that this story is set in a time and place very different from our world today, I am reminded in reading it that God has a place and a plan for each of us, and that His mercies are great toward us.
As the main plot is a prophet turning people back to God, this book is overtly Christian. However, it is not preachy or cheesy. The heroes are real people struggling with their humanity, and not every character runs to turn to the Lord.
The plot isn't at all predictable, and the story ends with most things resolved but new adventures lurking for certain characters. The author has no quirks like repeated sentence patterns or pet phrases, nothing that calls attention to the writing instead of the story.
This is one of those books that I run across once in a while, where I totally lose myself and forget I am only reading. I loved it!
PARENTAL RATING: PG-13. This story involves battles, prison, peril, and suspense, so it may be inappropriate for some children. There were a couple of love plots, handled very appropriately. I will be adding this book to my girls' bookshelf and looking forward to the discussions that will ensue, of friendship, loyalty, love, obedience, and God's infinite grace.