There Comes A Prophet
Title : There Comes A Prophet
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
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.”
|“May the light bless our shelter…Not the light the Temple claims to own, but the true light that burns in our hearts.” p.30
Nathaniel, a coming-of-age boy who lives in a Little Pond, one of cities under Temple City’s authority, always hopes to be a part of something big. He is always curious of the world outside Little Pond, outside Temple City. Though his surrounding people often asks him to stop thinking about that, he cannot stop his mind from dreaming. It is forbidden to leave that city without Temple City’s Leader, Grand Vicar’s knowledge because it is stated as one of rebellion acts against ‘The Light’. Even, to have such curiosity is not welcome there.
“First, we can no longer have illusions. We have to let them fade into the thin air from which they came. Second, we have to make choices. And that will be the hardest.” p. 41
Until one day, at annual festival celebrated in Little Pond, a vicar, the junior one, pays a visit and asks the elders whoever kids have come of age and deserved a teaching. Teaching is defined as an activity held by Temple City to give a deep knowledge to the chosen one about ‘the darkness’ or ‘the dark age’ which ever filled their realm thousand years ago and what impacts it had caused them, and thus, able to prevent the chosen one to follow the darkness and be loyal to only light. The dark age is the era in which people did so many evil things and caused suffer to others. Every year every city of Temple City, including Little Pond, has to give one kid but Little Pond has given non for some years. This year, the elders should give one or else, their kids should be taken to receive the teaching.
Why do they avoid the teaching so much? Seemingly, the teaching gives a desirable impact the Temple City Leaders want, but it really leaves scars to those who receive it. They changed after the teaching, had an odd fear that leads them not to dare challenge and question any rules. The teaching affected the life of the receiver so badly.
“The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.” p.80
That is why finally the elders choose a newly coming-of-age boy, named Thomas, one of Nathaniel best friend. He is then brought to Temple City and receives teaching there. The teaching is so painful; he sees visions of people from the dark age dancing in dark place to the electric musics played there. He also sees some evil acts (sorry I forgot) that he can’t bear anymore and thus, pleads for the vicar to stop it. But the vicar wants some names who apparently are potential to rebel against the light; having dreams, questioning rules, anything similar. As it can give him freedom, he finally gives his best friend’s names, Nathaniel, whom he knows always hopes for an adventure and Orah, who is so knowledgeable of rules and obeying The Light. He then goes back to Little Pond with an unease and fear, leading to a behavioral change that affects his relationship with both of his friends.
“Eventually, the bad outweighed the good. There was a revolt against unfettered thought, and the wonders of that age were destroyed.”p.103
Nathaniel cannot feel calm seeing his friend so anxious after coming home. He knows what Thomas did and understands why. Though it will make him a main target for the next teaching, he worries more about Thomas and tries to ensure him that everything is alright. But fearing that the teaching will change himself also disturbs quite much that he chooses to disappear for a while when the vicar pays a second visit to take one more coming-of-age kid to a teaching. Unexpectedly, the vicar takes Orah. Fear of losing one more of his friend, Nathaniel chooses to come to Temple City to set Orah free and make him the one to receive it.
Well, it’s not as easy as it seems. The Temple City Leaders deliberate about this while making him a guest of them, who lives in a dark room nearly like a prison. In fact, it is actually a prison. There is also a room near his inhabiting by an old man named Simon, who’s been a lifetime prisoner due to a rebellion act against Temple City. The old Simon tells Nathaniel about the hidden secret of Temple City; that it’s not the darkness that The Temple City Leaders want to prevent. That there are so many good things actually existed in the age called the dark age but being kept by The Leaders only to maintain control and uniformity. And for these things to stop, Simon begs for Nathaniel’s help to restore the things that it used to be, to help improve the world and take down the control of Temple City.
“I know what they show in teachings-yes, it’s evil and true. But I also know what they don’t show, the good they’ve erased. Like a foolish parent, to save us from wickedness, they’ve given us a world of limits and not a world of possibilities. Do you understand what I’m saying?” p.63
And this is the beginning of Nathaniel’s dreaming adventure, along with his two best friends, Orah, and Thomas.
I got this novel from one of groups that I join in Goodreads, YA-Dystopian book club. They offered some free ebooks, and There Comes A Prophet was one of them. I should have finished reading and reviewing this novel within three weeks, but for some reasons I failed and I am really sorry. T.T
Honestly, I can’t say I had a good time reading this book. This book is not bad, I like the premise and how the author tried to focus on Nathaniel’s adventure and makes the love story between him and Orah only as an additional flavor. The world building is understandable and clear for me. The words, especially ones in characters’ conversation, sounds beautiful and quotable. But I could not connect with everything, like feeling the fear of Thomas, the fluttering feeling Nathaniel shares when he is about to decide to start his adventure, even I didn’t develop any tense feeling, which I think I must have because the plot is set for it. I also happened to feel confused of why Thomas tells that Orah is one of potential rebels. Or am I mistaken?
The characters are well-developed and in some way inspires me. Like Nathaniel with his indomitable efforts to be optimistic and encourages his friends to be when situations doesn’t seem nice to them, also his bravery to take risk for what he believes in. Orah with her smart brain and wise thought which helps those three friends to solve any problems in their way and thus leads them to achieve their destination, and Thomas, though he is naturally a coward and only thinks about fear and staying in his comfort zone, finally chooses to get rid of it for reaching a betterment of other people. But yeah, it stops there. I don’t feel any emotional attachment to them. They are just like a smoke who is blown by the wind in my mind.
And those three remind me a lot of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I mean, each of them kinda has similar roles with those HP characters.
What bothers me most is the ending. There is a twist in the middle of the story and the pace runs smoothly fast. It makes me genuinely interested and expects for more interesting acts, like a rebellion movement by all people in Temple City. It happened, but ended soooo disappointing for me. I don’t want to share any (more) spoilers so I’d better ask you to read this Litwack’s masterpiece your self.
And oh, by the way, I was quite mislead by the title. Though there does mention about a prophet and anything related to him, I don’t think this story is about the prophet. I don’t know, I might be mistaken. Well, just my personal opinion =).
For final statement, this is a light dystopian story and interesting enough for reading in your spare time. But don’t think it will be full of action scenes like in Hunger Games or Divergent. And anyway, I like the advanced technologies created in this story. I hope someday those things will really exist. Lol
PS : I wrote this review in present tense on purpose, because I like how sentences in present tense sound hehe. But when I explained about the moment I read this book, I used past tense. =)
This is the debut of David Litwack. Though I am still far from satisfied of this, I still have a willingness to read his other masterpieces. The second book of his is more of suspense, I heard. Perhaps, I should give it a try =). Hopefully, he can be more well-known, especially in my country.
Rating : 3/5