Review ~ There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack

 
Title: There Comes a Prophet
Author: David Litwack
Release date: September 25th 2012
Pages: 282
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy
Source: Kindle copy for review 
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars


~ Synopsis ~

"But what are we without dreams?"

A thousand years ago the Darkness came - a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with "temple magic" and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

A restless dreamer, Nathaniel has always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for something more but unwilling to challenge the unbending status quo. When his friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his "teaching" - the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light - Nathaniel can barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. 

And when the beautiful Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel knows he must somehow save her. But in the prisons of Temple City he discovers a terrible secret that launches the three of them on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in dire jeopardy. For a truth awaits them there that threatens the foundation of the Temple. But if they reveal that truth the words of the book of light might come to pass:

"If there comes among you a prophet saying 'Let us return to the darkness,' you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light."

~ My Thoughts ~ 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the Read It & Reap program through the Shut Up & Read group on Goodreads.

I was blown away by Mr. Litwack's writing and imagination! I'm planning on reading all of his books, and as a matter of fact, I have another book of his, Along the Watchtower, all set to read.

This was a fantastic story about three childhood friends, Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas, who set out to change their world. The odds are stacked against them, but they're much more resourceful than their oppressors realize. They live in a small village governed by a group of people called vicars, who are of the "Temple of Light." These vicars have been in power for a thousand years, claiming to have brought the people out of the darkness to the light. They're a religious governing body with people worshiping the "light" as though it's a god and strict rules the people must follow.

One of these strict rules is that one in every three young people who come of age are called for a "teaching." They're shown ultimate darkness in order to scare them into serving the light and fighting the darkness from returning. The three friends, Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas, are shocked when Thomas is called for a teaching. They're all too familiar with the aftereffects - when someone comes back from a teaching, he or she returns with a broken spirit and ends up withdrawing from family and friends, never to be the same again.

Orah was called for a teaching right after Thomas returned home from his, and I think this was a turning point for Nathaniel where he switched over from dreaming about change to actively seeking a way to make that change happen. Nathaniel and Orah have always been the dreamers of the trio, while Thomas is grounded in reality, not completely happy with the way things are but not wanting to rock the boat either. While Thomas wasn't my favorite character, I still liked him and understood where he was coming from.

Nathaniel is brave and has always dreamed of a life of greatness where he frees his village from the Temple of Light's tyranny. Orah has a fierceness and determination about her that sometimes rivals Nathaniel's bravery. She's intelligent and said to be the smartest person in the village. She thinks outside the box and comes up with creative solutions to the most difficult of problems. Thomas might seem apathetic, cowardly, and lazy, but I saw underneath all of that to what makes him tick. He'd rather go back to the life he once had before his teaching without trying to change something he sees as unchangeable.

There Comes a Prophet is a creative mix of dystopia, science fiction, and fantasy with an epic journey that made me think fondly of The Talisman by Stephen King. I loved this book and the main characters. I loved the world building and what Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas set out to do. The elements of the story came together in an intriguing and unique way. I'm excited to see more from David Litwack!

~ Purchase Links ~ 

~ About the Author ~ 

The urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic. 

Using two fingers and lost of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

There Comes a Prophet was the first novel in this new stage of life. His second, Along the Watchtower, will be published in June 2013.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor. 

~ Author Links ~ 

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