Review—Daughter of Prophecy

I am not a reviewer really, but there are some books I believe in and want to tell others about. One such novel is Daughter of Prophecy by Miles Owens (Realms, 2005).

Daughter of Prophecy

In Tim Frankovich’s review at Christian Fiction Review, he gave a clear, succinct summary of the story—a much better one than I could write, to be sure.

Rather than offering a poor duplication of what others have already given, I’ll focus instead on what I perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of the book.

Strengths. There are many. First, I found Owens’s writing to be engaging from the beginning. Who wouldn’t be pulled into a story with a Chapter One opening line that reads “Her home was a ruin.” Owens goes on to describe the scene with strong verbs and tight prose.

Description is probably the strongest of the strong when it comes to Daughter of Prophecy. People and places are clear and unique because the description encompasses all the senses. Consequently, the opening scene of Chapter One doesn’t just give the visual of a ruined home, it includes this mood-setting depiction: “Rising above the acrid smell of wet soot was the odor of death.”

Because Owens is a master of description, each of his characters is unique and interesting. I never felt like I was reading about two people who were alike. The protagonist’s father is tall with pale skin and graying black hair while the loreteller has a round face with heavy jowls and short, bandy legs. An important nobleman is barrel-chested with iron-gray hair. The accompanying warrior has dark hair and even darker eyes and chiseled features.

You get the idea—upon introduction each character is one of a kind. This individuation continues through the characters’ speech and action. No cardboard cutouts in this book!

Because I cared about the characters, I rooted for the protagonist during the expected plot complications. I wouldn’t say the suspense put me on the edge of my seat, but it certainly kept me engaged.

Weaknesses. I’d love to say “none,” but I think that would be misleading. While I believe Owens is a talented writer who will only improve and while I loved the book and recommend it without reservation, I thought one thing would have improved it: better pacing. There were times, occasionally in the middle of intense scenes, that the action slowed for the sake of the description.

This is one of those flip-side-of-the-coin issues. Owens gives such clarity in his description, but at times his description detracts from the story. In my opinion, when he learns to meld his particularized depictions with the action, his stories will be better.

One other thing I found interesting—not a strength or weakness, just something unique to this book. Owens created an interesting combination of traditional fantasy (similar to Lawhead) and spiritual warfare (slightly Peretti-esque). Although I am a fantasy purist, I thought he made the combination work and certainly put his own unique stamp on the genre.

In conclusion, I’d have to say, Miles Owens is an author fans of speculative fiction should look for. Daughter of Prophecy is an interesting, entertaining book—one I highly recommend.

Published in: on July 28, 2006 at 11:10 am  Comments (9)  

9 Comments

  1. Wow, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I avoided it cause it sounded ancient Celtic-ish, and that’s just not something that appeal to me. I even avoided Celtic-set medieval romances when I was hooked on historical romances.

    Dunno why.

    It’s probably why I bought LEGEND OF THE EMERALD ROSE (because of great review), but haven’t read it. I keep picking it up and putting it back down. I keep waiting for the Celtic urge to hit me.

    I’m really sorry REALMS didn’t make it. It would have been so cool to have a line of XSF in the CBA, a line just for that. Miles will feel read good about your review. I hope someone tips him off.

    Mir

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  2. I think we’re burying Realms ahead of its time. The word I got from a knowledgeable source last March was that Realms was moving toward spiritual warfare stories exclusively—not that they would cease to be. Since then, I’ve heard of more stirrings, with a possible encouraging announcement up and coming.

    As to the Celtic influence in Daughter, it is definitely there. Like you, Mir, that has put me off stories before. I was probably the last SFF reader to pick up Lawhead. Didn’t much care for it and made no plans to read the next one, either. (I don’t remember it well, but that was one that a) I didn’t like the protag at all and b) I thought there were transparent equivalents between Christian elements and the fantasy elements which made the story predictable.) But the feel of Miles’s book was much warmer than Lawhead. I don’t know how else to explain it. I’m very glad I read it.

    Becky

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  3. I like the Welsh thing Miles has going on there … but, I have some Welsh in my own background, so …

    And Realms is not dead. Don’t know if I can say anymore, but it isn’t, and neither is Miles’ series. 🙂

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  4. It’s interesting that I have that reaction to stories heavily influenced by Celtic myth since I loved Tolkien and even Lloyd Alexander. But generally if the names start with Ll or end with wyn, I’m feeling like the book is going to be more work than I really want to put out, at least in figuring out pronunciation.

    Yes, Shannon, some announcements need to wait until they are for sure, but I hope we can publish some happy tidings very soon.

    Becky

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  5. Cool cover!

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  6. I agree, Elliot. The publisher did a poor job with their proofreading—some obvious typos, too numerous for something that costs as much as they say a published book costs. But they did a fine job with the cover. Great colors. Engaging character. It piques interest.

    Becky

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  7. Quote: “And Realms is not dead. Don’t know if I can say anymore, but it isn’t, and neither is Miles’ series.”

    Yeah! But boy you guys are sure mean. 😕

    I’m glad to hear that Miles may live again, cause I had heard that his series was hanging out there waiting for another pub to pick it up. Well, I’m excited to see what the next one brings.

    As to the Celtic thing–you guys are weird. Celtic rocks! And Lawhead’s best work was the “Song of Albion Trilogy”. Awesome stuff. Couldn’t get through “Taliesin” though.

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  8. Ya know, Rachel, I might not have minded the Celtic stuff, but I never warmed up to Lawhead’s protag. So when I finished the first book, I just didn’t care enough to keep going.

    Different strokes, I know.

    Becky

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  9. […] Owens, with Daughter of Prophecy. (For a review of DoP, see what I had to say about the book at A Christian Worldview of Fiction). Not a bad accomplishment, having fantasy books win the top two […]

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