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|Daughter of Prophecy
by Miles Owens
Published by Realms, 2005
Recommended by: Shannon McNear
Rated 3 (Highly Recommended) by: nobody
Daughter of Prophecy is one of the debut books of Realms, the first CBA imprint to be dedicated solely to speculative fiction. It centers around Rhiannon, a girl who, because of a prophecy spoken over her at birth, aspires to be a great warrior, riding through the land, doing spiritual battle and slaying the great winged horrors. But as she reaches adulthood, her father and guardians all conspire to make a lady out of her. When winged horrors actually do appear, she finds them much more terrifying than she reckoned for, and complicating her life is a spark of interest for a tall, young swordsman from another clan, who suddenly has eyes only for another girl. Why must life be so difficult?
Not till Rhiannon surrenders her idea of how her birth prophecy should play out to the Eternal, and bends her knee to him in complete submission, is she released to walk in that prophecy the way the Eternal intends and she finds her life entwined with the swordsman's in a way she never dreamed.
I was frankly expecting another run-of-the-mill medieval fantasy tale about a warrior maiden and dragons but Miles Owens writes with so much intimacy and warmth, I was swept away almost immediately. His account of farm life is so vivid you can smell the hay, his characters are sympathetic and well-rounded, and as a research buff myself, I was delighted to find his warfare details and swordfights accurate and real without being overly self-conscious. I also appreciated the fact that Owens doesn't try to make any kind of feminist statement with Rhiannon and her sword training, and neither is he condescending about the value of a woman's role in the family.
The story is wide open for a sequel, or more in fact, too many loose ends were left dangling for there not to be at least a second book. I look forward to reading more by this first-time author! Shannon McNear (November 2005)
Daughter of Prophecy is a fantasy tale that centers around a young maiden named Rhiannon, who was prophesied to be the Protectoress of the Covenant, the binding agreement that keeps evil out of the lands of the Faber Dynasty. Sixteen years after her birth and the prophecy a group of winged horrors, creatures of darkness, attack Rhiannon. This attack signals a weakening of the covenant, and Rhiannon must discover just what it means for her to be the Protectoress of the Covenant.
This is a fine first novel for Owens, and he does a good job of keeping this story from falling into just another warrior maiden tale or other clichés of the fantasy genre. He also weaves in strong Christian elements, especially with an emphasis on the importance and power of prayer and confession.
The forces of evil must be confronted on both the physical and the Spiritual planes if they are to be defeated. And for the prayers to be effective, a clear and unhindered connection with God is essential. Which leads the main characters to face their pasts, relinquish their dreams, and make hard decisions about their dealings. There are times when this can make the spiritual lessons a bit heavy handed, and one character's "breaking" felt a bit too abrupt, but it worked for the most part.
On the downside, I found this book's pace to be far slower than I would have liked. Much of the conflict is based on Clan politics, especially a controversial wool sale. Not exactly exciting stuff, and it dragged the story down for me early on. However, once the sale is over, the pace picks back up. There is also a tad too much telling, and I found the plot a bit to predictable at times.
Still, the action is well written, and Owens has opened the portal to a world ripe for exploring. I look forward to the sequel and discovering how Rhiannon adjusts to the path she has been set upon. Suggested by Stuart Stockton (May, 2006)
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