You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

My Photo
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Prophecy Forgotten

I bought a copy of A Prophecy Forgotten, by M. B. Weston, from the author at Dragon*Con. It's a fantasy about a nation of guardian angels called cherubians. The main characters are Gabriella, a young cherubian on her first tour of duty as a guardian angel; Tommy, a seven-year-old boy who is her charge; and Davian, a member of the elite RSO, the group of cherubians that explores enemy territory and takes on dangerous missions.

Tommy is a rambunctious boy who causes Gabriella a lot of trouble. He has to deal with a mother who sees him a way to get child support and kids who beat him up at school. Gabriella fights off mornachts, the enemies of the cherubians who try to take over humans who have gone hard and given up hope. The cherubian country of Elysia has been fighting a war against the mornachts for three thousand years.

When Tommy visits his father for Christmas, Gabriella has to turn into a human to save him after he falls into a river. Then she falls and hits her head, losing her memory, and stays with Tommy's father Jim and his family for a few days. The family is amazed at her attachment to Tommy and her ability to keep him safe, neither of which she can explain.

Meanwhile, Davian, who is leading a team into mornacht territory, gets a message that he needs to return to the city. As he returns, his team is attacked by mornachts and sabers, giant tigers. They barely escape on unicorns, though they lose one of his team. Davian is sent to watch over Tommy, where he soon finds Gabriella under attack from mysterious cherubians, including Picante, Tommy's temporary guardian, and Snead, one of Davian's men. Snead ends up dead, and Picante ends up escaping, and Gabriella ends up with her memory back and turning back into a cherubian.

When Davian returns to Elysia, he finds that the Souther Command Tower has been attacked by mysterious foes, leaving the southern front open to attack. Back at the capital of Ezzer City, he finds that the army has been sent elsewhere due to rumors of another attack. Davian deals with treachery and loss, but finally manages to save the city. Unfortunately, he has to fight his friend Eric, who betrays him and the city.

There is more to the plot, but it is mostly pretty simple. It is known that there is some sort of treachery or secret from the beginning. The identity of the traitor is a big surprise, but there's no preparation of it, so it seems unrealistic. In a way, that's an unfair charge, because you don't want to telegraph your surprises, but you have to make them believable at the same time. That was one of the problems I had with the Harry Potter books, that the identity of the bad guys was often a total surprise, so that it was kind of a cheat. But it is hard to buy the main character's protege would turn traitor. Especially for the nebulous reason that he and the others don't want to keep protecting humans but want to go for an all-out war that they see the politicians as too weak to fight for.

Another problem I had is that the characters are too one-dimensional and just too good. Davian is a great warrior and the best at everything he does. He has no negatives. Likewise, Gabriella is a great archer and a great protector. The only character who has any depth is Salla, the nemesis of Davian and his boss Zephor, who takes antagonistic positions against the two of them and supports Picante, but who turns out to be a good guy. I also thought the dialog was pretty stiff and unoriginal for the most part. The joking often seems fake and stilted, and there are some blatant infodumps. But there are spots where it works pretty well.

The concept is original, and I thought it had potential. It faces the same problem Milton had, heavenly beings fighting a war. However, the cherubians and mornacts can harm each other, and many cherubians die. The idea of watching what guardian angels actually do, and how they relate to each other (for they must if most people have one), is interesting and challenging. Some of it worked, but it general I found the style a little flat and plain. The world, which has a little depth, is mostly full of cliches. It's not nearly as full a world as it could be. One doesn't get the sense of history, even though there are conversations about the past of the city and the ancient prophecy. (The ancient prophecy involves a child that will put an end to the three thousand year war, and Davian believes Tommy is that child.) The most interesting parts of the story are the parts between Tommy and his father Jim and Gabriella. The rest of it, though it should be exciting, don't summon any enthusiasm. I'll give the author a B-, for the effort, and the great concept.


Post a Comment

<< Home