Sunday, July 11, 2010

Arty -- The Prophecy by Dawn Miller

Forgotten memories and terrible childhoods. Angels and odd abilities. Supernatural enemies and... the St. Louis Arch?

Sam and Jonah, Jenna, J, and Carly are best friends. Then, some horrible accident tore them apart. The only thing is, they can't remember what that accident was. They can barely remember any of their childhoods.

Seven years later, Sam, now nineteen, is having strange dreams. He wakes up to find he's created paintings he couldn't have possibly painted. He can barely sleep for the nightmares. He sees his old friends in those dreams, so he calls them all - now living in various places across the country - and asks them to meet in St. Louis. What he can't know - but somehow does - is that they're having those dreams too.

Meanwhile, a secret society known as the Alliance is beginning to put its finishing touches on its plan to join their supernatural allies in strength. What's in their way? Sam and his friends, of course. Which is why another secret society, the Resistance, wants to find those five teens in a hurry.

I'll admit it - I mostly bought the book for the cover and the promise of angels. In that way I was disappointed. Angels only really come into play, except for short 'cutscenes,' at the very end. And it's still not a huge role.

What The Prophecy doesn't lack is conflict. Internal or external, there's always something going on. That's what kept me reading - the question of what in the world can this author do next?

And there were some amazing twists in the plot, mostly related to Jonah (by far the best character in the book, except for perhaps Sam and Mikey). The book is a complex one. However, this can sometimes work against it. Especially at the beginning, it's hard to understand exactly what's going on. Be prepared to read some pages three or four times before you kind of get the action.

Another confusing thing - Miller obviously knows her angel and demon characters very well. Much better than we know them. She drops names and statuses like Girgori, MazziKim, and Irinim without really telling us what they are. This isn't a bad thing, except when the context makes it difficult to decode the meaning. Most of the time, this is the case.

Another thing I should mention - the action in this first book in the Watchers Chronicles is mostly build-up. Until the end, the characters don't really know what's going on. This makes the book seem to move slowly.

An impatient reader would probably get tired of waiting for the action to pick up. (In which case, I would recommend the Dragons In Our Midst series by Bryan Davis, an excellent series with some similar aspects, beginning with Raising Dragons.) A more persistent one would reach the exciting climax of a book that could be the beginning of a great series.

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