The Prophecy by Erin Albert Rhew
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love getting lost in a story. I can happily let hours slip by as I experience the lives of new friends and foes in exotic, unfamiliar worlds. I journey with them, experiencing their struggles and their triumphs, as they progress on epic adventures. A great storyteller will seize and hold my attention, make me happy or sad, excited or angry, all with the press of a key on their laptop.
Erin Rhew wields such super powers. From the first word in the first chapter, her book captured my attention. Her debut novel, The Prophecy, enveloped me in a new and unique universe created by a very powerful imagination. Through its pages I lived and experienced the adventures of Layla, Samson, Grant, Nash, Wil, and a host of other relatable, complex characters. Chapter by chapter time sailed by and I found myself excited for my favorites' victories and angry at their treatment in the hands of their enemies.
The only problem? The book ends in a cliffhanger and I, along with the rest of the world, am frustratingly forced to wait until the next segment, The Outlanders, is released to know what happens. Sigh.
That, my friends, is fantastic storytelling.
The tale starts up with 17 year old Layla Givens on her way to her town's annual celebration. Her people observe The Day of Dawning, a festive holiday that honors the First Ones--the founders of their religion. The city of Medlin is brightly decorated and a myriad of fun activities are in progress when the religious sect, the Ecclesiastics, arrive. Every year they perform the religious part of the ceremony, only this time things are different.
The leader of the group, Elder Werrick, orders all the town decorations removed and the activities canceled, claiming these things are not a "proper honoring" of the First Ones. As the town decor is disassembled he meets Layla. Almost instantly he declares her the Fulfillment, the young woman foretold in their sacred scripts that would bring about peace between the different kingdoms.
Layla is a Vanguard, a kingdom of fierce warriors that possess supernatural physical strength, and betrothed to Samson, another Vanguard. She is told by Werrick she will marry the Prince of the Ethereals, a kingdom of people that have the power to alter minds: the ability to both project images and remove memories. These two countries are sworn enemies of one another and have been warring for centuries. She tries to fight this declaration and her capture. Only the Ecclesiastics have imprisoned Samson and other members of her family and are threatening them to ensure her cooperation. Thus setting the scene that creates unlikely allies, hidden dangers, romance, anguish, and many epic battles.
The tale is told in a strong, formal voice, like nothing I've ever read before, and have come to think of as the Erin Rhew Style. Filled with noble princes and princesses; deep and complex characters; manipulative, merciless antagonists; and plot twist after plot twist, The Prophecy will keep you guessing.
Then of course there is the cliffhanger ending. But I digress.
Come on book two!!!!
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