"Close your eyes, Ela of Parne. Close your eyes and you will see." Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified, bad tempered, and only 17 - not to mention that no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as the elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young. "Istgard has turned their back on Me. See the evil they do." Yet after experiencing His presence, she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to follow 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. Here she meets Kien, a young Traceland ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela must surrender to her destiny... and determine how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite. "Will you accept the branch and speak My will? Will you be My prophet?"
©2012 R. J. Larson (P)2012 Oasis
This was an excellent read! Written as if it were talking about something happening today without any religious stigmas. I enjoyed it very much.
Definitely at the top of the list.
The story is an interesting journey of excitement, love, action, and devotion. Yes, would make an excellent movie.
Perfect voice for the book.
No extreme reaction however, it is different from any that I have read.
This book tries to create a sort of historical type fiction for Christians who want to see some of the Old Testament come alive in a believable way. The author creates a prophet character who is most similar to Elijah. The prophet converses with the god of a fictional world and He guides her in delivering his message to various leaders who are embroiled in conflicts in a setting that closely resembles the ancient near East of our world. The god of this world is known as the Infinite, and the reader is to basically read the story as if this Infinite is just like the God of the Bible.
The problem with the story is that while the character resembles Elijah rather closely... I did not think that the 'Infinite' interacted with the prophet in any way resembling the way God interacts with His prophets in scripture. Additionally the author has created dialogue between the Prophet and the Infinite... and I think there are some inherit difficulties in writing lines for a god who is supposed to be analagous to YHWH.
Additionally the narration was difficult to accept particularly when the main character was crying out to the Infinite. She sounded whiny, and fearful most of the time.
The plot has two distinct external conflicts which are loosely related. Both conflicts are resolved in similar fashion. I do not think the author was trying to create a grand mystery. The purpose of the book is to demonstrate that the God of scripture is faithful in doing what He says He will do. In this way we see the Infinite fulfilling the prophecies of Ella in due course.The major difference between this book and the God of the Bible is that the prophecies in this book are all wrapped up during the course of a few months. There are no long-term prophecies. (perhaps another reason the Infinite does not seem to be as awesome as YHWH)
The characteristics of the Infinite are interesting. The author tries to debunk some of the false notions people have about God by having the prophet character grow through her own misconceptions and the Infinite corrects her as she goes.
I also think it is good that the author shows a variety of unbelievers / skeptics who are good characters and are open to listening to the prophet in spite of their skepticism about the god she is telling them about. The author avoids the cliche of making all believers good, and all unbelievers bad.
The narration is my chief complaint with this book. The narrator really put a lot of effort into making the main character's despair come to life. (This means there was a lot of whining coming at me through my earbuds) The voice for the Infinite was steady and quiet... the voice for the prophet was sometimes loud and shrill. Not a good combination.
Good concept, but the main problem with the story is the use of dialogue between this god and the believer. I am not sure if there is a good solution here. The only other time I have read a book where the author creatres dialogue for a god who is analagous to God is CS Lewis' Narnia books. I never had a problem with Azlan speaking and revealing certain aspects of the real God... but this book seems different. The author throws the reader right into the middle of the prayer dialogues between the god and the prophet and these interactions are just bizarre. Azlan was never simply at the beck and call of the Narnia children in the way that the Infinite is to Ella.
I think the author does a good job a creating a character who performs signs and miracles similar to what we see in scripture (particularly with Elijah/Elishah) And I think that the characteristics of this Infinite are basically consistent with the God of the Bible.
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