Okay, I am biased but I will write as much of an unbiased review that I can. In the sense of disclosure, I have been one of Ryan’s part time/freelance editors for about a year now. I loved Progeny and when I had the opportunity to help tidy up Prophecy I felt honored and excited. I will do my best to write a spoiler free review so you need not fear reading on!
War has overtaken the Oaken duchies and it falls to our heroes to prepare defenses against the advancing horde of Sudashians. Shaped by battles and diplomacy Nik, Jak and Kenders aren’t mere children anymore. Nik has grown into his powers and Kenders has been honing her own control over magic by apprenticing under one of Terrene’s most powerful mages. Jak has been making great strides of his own while training with the Shadow Manes soldiers. In this newest book, they all face trials of the mind, heart, and arms as the tale weaves about multiple plots.
Prophecy is more complex than Progeny was in so many ways. The stage has shifted from a single duchy to all of them and more. Our heroes we fell in love with in Progeny are all back with a couple new ones thrown in for good measure. Within Prophecy, a clever reader is made more aware of what motivates the “evil” gods of the Cabal and their plans to return. We also become cognizant of the ulterior motives of the “good” and neutral gods and begin to question everyone’s goals. There are even a few new races we meet throughout the adventures within Prophecy’s pages. And for Kaelin’s biggest fans, Prophecy is loaded with references to the short stories Ryan has written and given away for free on his website.
Prophecy was a lot of fun to read and continues the epic tale set forth by Progeny. One of the things I loved about both Progeny and Prophecy was that none of the characters were predefined by the sides they belong to or their races – there were even parts in Prophecy where I came to sympathize with the ultimate bad guy. For you romantics, you will watch as a couple relationships blossom within Prophecy and a couple others come to an end. The slow buildup approach Ryan takes leaves the tale believable and the amount of backstory is enough to give any epic fantasy reader the sense that his (or her) money was well spent. But mostly it is Ryan’s characters that make both Progeny and Prophecy such great books.
For those who haven’t read Progeny, of all the fantasy series I’ve read (more than a few) Progeny and Prophecy remind me most of the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon) by Christopher Paolini. They are not the same tales, but the elegances found in those books are found in these ones too. The cleanliness of the worlds and the use of typical fantasy tropes in original ways make both worlds comfortable and fresh to any reader, new or old.
I am pleased to give this book five stars and I look forward to reading the next novel in this epic fantasy series. Ryan is destined for greatness, so do yourself a favor and pick up both Progeny and Prophecy now so you can look back one day and say “I knew him when …”.
You can buy it here (Available September 25, 2012): http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-Children-White-Lions-Volume/dp/0615678858/