Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.
Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?
Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.
When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.
Hello again, young adult fiction, I haven’t had the best of luck with you recently, have I? Frozen was a mess, The Pretenders was unfinished and The Collector was generic with a protagonist whose popularity I still can’t wrap my mind around. So how did The Prophecy, a recent entrant into the YA fantasy ring fare?
Not too bad, actually.
On the one hand, a lot of my qualms with YA fiction (genre fare in general) are still present. I’m only going to call out two here.
First, the world building is lacking. We learn of what the Prophecy is rather quickly, but we never learn of the religion behind it, or why everyone believes in it, what these trials are or why they are so fatal. We know nothing of the power they are to possess or how they can heal a nation. There is no rhyme or reason to it, so the emphasis on the black hair and purple eyes doesn’t really seem to mean much. For all the detail we’re given, it’s basically a proclamation. That’s a problem, because when a twist at the end of the book comes, it leaves you less shocked and more like “okay, and why should we believe in her any more than we believe what we’ve already seen?” Basically, if you’re going to premise your ENTIRE book around a religious concept, then show your readers this religion. As it stands, it’s a flimsy premise. On an unrelated note, the Etheral’s are said to have the ability to control minds. The whole King’s Right concept? Kinda gimmicky. What if there’s a coup? Is this ability tied to the family? The throne? Would it jump if a new King were to claim it? It’s a little too convenient for my taste. Also too convenient, the ease with which Nash accomplishes his task towards the end of the book, but I promised I’d keep the complaints short this time.
My other complaint is there are an awful lot of one dimensional characters here. Both the King of Ethereal and Prince of Vanguard seem awfully close to Evil because the plot demands it. At one point the novel speculates that Prince Wilhelm is the true King of Ethereal because he’s so good of heart while the current “malignant” king rules, that kind of thing. It undermines a book when characters just dive off the deep end to service the plot.
So now that I’ve complained about some rather basic building blocks, why did I say this fared decently? Again, two reasons here.
First, the characters, while a bit flat, are enjoyable. I’m a particular fan of Vespa, though all of the “good guys” are quite likable. You wouldn’t mind seeing Layla end up with either one of them, and all around there is a genuine sense of nobility to them, which is great to see. It also creates an actually enjoyable love triangle (and it’s an actual triangle, she is legitimately torn between the brothers and both have a chance at her heart. Refreshing) which is a nice change of pace. More in its favor though, the book didn’t end up quite as predictable as I thought it first would, and I have to give the author props for that.
Finally, this book is just fun. It’s a light, breezy read that should satisfy fans of the genre. It’s not groundbreaking by any means, but as far as the genre goes in its current state, it’s one of the better ones to come out recently.
Verdict: Borrow It. Genre fans should enjoy it for it is, it just won’t leave a lasting impression on you.