There Comes a Prophet is the story of Nathaniel, “good at everything but destined to fall short of greatness” and Orah, childhood friends in a post-apocalypse religious dictatorship, who approach their coming adulthood with a combination of rebellion and despair. They know something is wrong with their society, but ask themselves that age-old question, “What can we do?”
After their friend Thomas is taken by the temple for a “teaching” which sends him home a battered shadow of his former cheerful self, Nathaniel finally decides to take action. The three friends begin a quest for the lost keep, treasure trove of Ancient knowledge. Trailed by temple agents, aided by mysterious keepers, they puzzle out the clues and find themselves in the repository of all the knowledge of the 21st Century.
It is at this point that the story rises above the average dystopian fantasy in the YA market today. What happens after the quest is over is much more realistic and believable than the usual romantic dreams. Thus the final saving of the human race – I’m not telling you anything out of turn; all dystopian heroes save the human race – is perhaps less grandiose but more satisfying.
My only complaint is that, given the subject matter, this book is aimed at a readership of an age that would appreciate a bit more sexual tension between the two main characters. The chaste description of their interaction is more suited to twelve-year-olds.
This book is well written and well edited (except for an annoying habit of mixing hyphens with dashes), and a pleasure to read.
I recommend it for all YA fantasy fans, and all those adults who, statistics tell us, enjoy a quick and satisfying flight into escapism.
I have received no remuneration for this review beyond a free copy of the book.
Webpage Review Addendum
It may seem disingenuous to have a different review on my web page than on Amazon, but it’s a matter of the expectations of readership. If I was as critical on Amazon as I am in “private”, everyone would think There Comes A Prophet is terrible, which it is not. Rather it is a reasonable example of a workmanlike product, well written and fairly competently edited, and I really enjoyed it. Thus it far surpasses the usual run of dross I am asked to review. However, it lacks that basic spark of originality that lifts a work of art from the competent into the wonderful. Which is why I gave it four out of five stars.