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The Reluctant Prophet by [O'Rourke, Gillian]
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The Reluctant Prophet Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Length: 414 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1192 KB
  • Print Length: 414 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1909845183
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books; 1 edition (31 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EX6BC5O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #775,390 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Reluctant Prophet is an interesting journey of emotion and intensity. Esther's journey is one the reader can't help but invest in. She is nice, generous and caring, but get's caught up in a savage world as a result of her 'gift' to see the future. Her experiences create so much sympathy for her that as a reader you want to know if there is any ray of sunshine in her own future. This emotional attachment to Esther is definitely the stories greatest strength. As always I'll briefly cover a few technical aspects of the story in an attempt to give a good overview of the story.

Pace- The Reluctant Prophet is paced well and easy to read. There are parts that give detailed accounts of Esther's emotions and reactions to her circumstance that may feel slow to some people, but these are important for the emotional attachment that develops between the reader and Esther.

World Building- The world is certainly detailed enough to be believable. It's clear there could have been a lot more detail, but the balance of just enough detail was important for this story as too much would have suffocated Esther's story. We see the world as Esther sees it, on her journey, and this is important. The places, events, reactions and social structure were all portrayed well.

Characters- Esther is a very normal character in her personality, acting and reacting the way most good people would in her position. However, it is the extraordinary events that surround her that make her interesting, and the pains she goes through are what make the reader care for her. This is done very well. I really did care for her.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Gillian O'Rourke's debut novel follows the story of Esther, who runs away from home at the age of twelve to follow her religious calling and to escape from her drunken, abusive father. She becomes a Priestess of the Order, a follower of the three Gods, and she hopes she can use her rare talent as a seer to help people, enduring trial after trial in the name of her faith. But the Gods are capricious, and cruel. They have their own plans for Esther, who is betrayed by both the seniors in her order, and by her inability to see her own fate.

Esther lives in a harsh world, and it seems the world and its malevolent gods are out to get her. Her gift is both a blessing and a curse, especially when it shows her divergent futures, and reveals that the future of the world hinges on the terrible choices she must make. Gillian O'Rourke's gift is that she really makes us feel for Esther, swamped beneath a relentless barrage of suffering, unable to escape her god-dictated fate no matter how she twists and turns. Yet still she remains strong in spirit and good of heart, under punishments that would have broken many characters, and the reader is rooting for her on every step of her difficult journey.

The book deals with some serious themes; religious oppression, class conflict, and the corruption brought about by the all-consuming desire for power, in the form of cold-hearted Superior Mirren and her guardian, the bully Placida, who look down on Esther as a peasant and seek to use her unique gifts to further both their own ambitions and those of the callous trio of Goddesses. How Esther rises about their machinations to find some sort of peace and freedom, even at the cost of a great sacrifice she must make, is to be celebrated.
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In this novel Gillian has created a well-realised world based on many of the standard fantasy tropes - a world with fantasy elements removed from actual history but which can be aligned to a concept of Europe, an unwitting heroine with unwanted powers and a story that is both self-contained and open for further development. The hopes, fears and struggles of the central character give her a dimensionality often missing from books of this type, and it's a welcome contribution to the canon of women's fantasy writing, providing a central female character who avoids most of the cliches of female characters in fantasy. I'll be very interested to see where this character and world go from here.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Gillian O'Rourke's The Reluctant Prophet is a tough, unflinching examination of prophecies, visions, and the lengths to which people will go to ensure that they come to pass.

Novice Esther, newly accepted in an order devoted to the trinity of gods Lo, Era and Tyrus, also possesses the gift of foresight. But while that gift could benefit the entire kingdom, her superiors have their own, more personal plans. And though Esther cannot foretell her own future, others in her order can. The gods work in mysterious and inhuman ways...

Avoiding spoilers, Esther's journey is not an easy or a pleasant one to follow. There isn't a lot of light relief, and that is compounded by the single viewpoint in first person. That limitation slows the pace too, but when the plot really takes off and Esther's superiors make an unconscionable decision, O'Rourke's viewpoint choice places the reader right at the heart of Esther's struggle, and that choice pays off.

At its heart, despite the violence, The Reluctant Prophet is a romance as well as a pinning down of gods and prophecies. Poor Esther doesn't dare dream of this sort of future in the first half of the book, but in the second half it's almost the only thing that gives her any kind of hope. Her own faith is as much a weapon to be used against her as it is a crutch; O'Rourke plays out the heartfelt struggle deftly and gives the story a good two-fingers-to-the-gods conclusion that sits well with Esther's physical and emotional wounds.

If any one thing could have been done better, I'd have wished for a few different word choices in places, but the story is definitely told in Esther's voice. A quick note for the cover art too - Evelinn Enoksen's portrait of Esther is a wonderful stand-out. A grim fantasy that doesn't rely on brawn and battles but instead places women at the heart of the intrigue, The Reluctant Prophet is a promise of greater things still to come from Gillian O'Rourke.
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