Jun 26, 2012

Review: The Sword and The Prophet by Missy LaRae

ebook: 104 pages
Published March 27 2012
Source: review copy from the author
My rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads Summary: Fifteen year old twins Lily and Tyler are on a mission. Escape from their abusive mother, hop a train to Charleston, South Carolina, and don't get caught. They've been kept in virtual seclusion their entire lives, and in one night make a break for it and succeed. However, something isn't right with their new Aunt and Uncle, and they realize they've escaped one nightmare and stumbled into something even far more sinister and deadly.

Lily and Tyler both feel the call of the moon, and the first night she's able to go outside and feel it on her skin, Lily dramatically changes into something that both fascinates and scares her. Desperate to escape their Aunt and Uncle the twins devise a plan, but are thwarted at the last second.

With time running out they finally manage to escape, and find help in the form of a smooth talking teenager named Talon with fire in his hands and an otherworldly aura.

Just who are they, and where are they from? Are they even human? They must rely on one another if they're going to find out and manage to survive.


Missy LaRae delivers a fresh and unique sci-fi YA novel with a very interesting world building and Syren lore. It was great to read about something that hadn't been done to death already in YA, no matter how interesting a spin the author puts on it. The world of LaRae's making is teeming with possibilities, even though the first book just sets the stage for what I hope will grow into an epic space battle in the books to come.

The Sword and The Prophet captures your heart early on. The beginning of the book is heartbreaking. Two kids are escaping the "home" in which they were subjected to various forms of abuse and humiliation by their Mama. The author provides an explanation for her cruel deeds later on to show how targeted that abuse was. Missy has found a way to give details without overdoing it or dumping too much information. The abuse is often referred to many times later as well, and this way it gains more weight and gives more depth to the characters. 

The story picks up pace after the kids escape and from that moment on, I was glued to the screen to the action-packed (and sad) finale. We are introduced to the basics as we watch the world unfold through the eyes of the main characters, Lily and Tyler. We meet many new characters, all of them interested in seizing Lily and Tyler, but for very different reasons. The connection between Lily and Tyler is very strong; to each other they are all they have in the world. The love they share, and the love they find later was overwhelming. Syrens can communicate feelings by touching each other. Needless to say, there are places in the book that are exploding with emotion, and Missy does a great job capturing those moments.

It is a book about twins and the new abilities they discover in themselves, but the spotlight is mainly on Lily. I liked her as a character. Though deeply wounded by the treatment she received from her Mama, she remains strong-willed and able to give and receive love. Still, I would have liked to see more of Tyler's thoughts.

The POV shifts frequently without identifying the speaker. It is confusing at places, but nothing that would detract too much from my general impression of the book.  

I feel like Missy didn't use all the potential of her story. I wanted to see more of the villain, not just a fleeting name or one close(er) encounter. I love well-formed, complex villains in fiction, because good villains make for a good conflict. And the Sa'Chaelle...well, it was not one of them for me, mainly because all I got from it is a weak, generic motivation: "I want them for their powers." 

Overall, I liked the book, but feel like it could be much more (and Missy certainly has the talent it takes). I imagine the series will only get better and will be on the lookout for the sequel.

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