The Infinite's vision caused her to faint; the suffering and death beyond comprehension. But this vision is just the beginning of Ela's journey as a servant of the Infinite--a journey that will take her to three different countries to plead with them to return to the Infinite. However, Ela has little hope of returning to her home and living a long life. After all, there's a faithful saying in Parne, "A silver-haired prophet has failed." By accepting the Infinite's offer, she knows her task will be difficult and that she'll face ridicule and suffering along the way, but despite the hardships facing her, the thought of living without his presence is unbearable. In a captivating tale, reminiscent of Old Testament history, Prophet vividly portrays the story of a young woman seeking to fulfill her role as a servant of the Infinite.
Let me just start off by saying I love this book. It grabbed my attention from the very start and held it all the way to the end. This is a relatively short book at only 250 pages, but within these pages is excellent action and a beautiful display of a prophet's courageous service. While reading Prophet, it isn't difficult to imagine Ela walking a path similar to Jeremiah or the antagonists she faces being the kings of Israel.
Prophet is listed as an adult fantasy novel, but it'll easy appeal to a much broader audience. With its young heroine and light descriptions, the story moves at the rapid pace found in many young adult novels. Those who like bible fiction will enjoy the strong Old Testament feel while readers of speculative and supernatural books will most likely find Prophet enjoyable for the strong interaction between Ela, the Infinite, and the spiritual beings. This is a very versatile book, with wide appeal, but instead of feeling as though it is undecided on a genre, it embodies many genres.
While I enjoyed the story being told, what hooked me was the interplay between Ela and the Infinite. It brought to mind the relationship between Thomas and Elyon in Ted Dekker's Circle books. I adored Ela and the Infinite's dialog as well as Ela learning that she might not want an answer to every question that pops into her head. I was hopelessly drawn to the Infinite's voice, finding it easy to imagine his word being God's words. The tone and inflection in the Infinite's dialog fit with what is easily imagined in scripture and I looked forward to reading more of their interaction.
My only complaint is truly a personal quirk. While Ela is obedient to God and I admire her compassion, I really felt like she should have agreed with God's judgment rather than continuing to dislike it. In our culture God is often portrayed as an angry, jealous, demanding, cruel God and many people point to the Old Testament for their ideas. He is blamed for all that is wrong in this world though we're given freewill and make our own decisions. While I think Larson does a nice job of showing the Infinite's willingness to extend mercy until the last minute, what the reader never get, is Ela truly being `okay' with the Infinite's judgment. She wants them to repent, which should be our attitude. However, I really wanted Ela to accept God's judgment in a less grudging manner. Of course, this is the first book in this series and perhaps I should be more patient and wait for her character to evolve.
Over all, I loved this book. It is highly engaging, moves at a nice pace, imaginative, and spiritually beautiful. The Old Testament feel is well executed and easily reminds the reader of Israel's monarchy/prophet relationship. Prophet is the first book in the Books of the Infinite series and I can't wait for the next one!
Review copy provided courtesy of Bethany House