Cover Image: Prophet


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Member Reviews

Unfortunately this book didn’t work for me and was a DNF but I am sure other readers will feel differently! Thank you for the ARC!
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I'm not sure I got a hundred percent on board with this book, but it was a really wild ride. I loved the inventiveness of the world and the characters, and they were purely stereotypes. I think this is unique, but I would hand it to weird fiction lovers and those who are happy to take their sci fi with a healthy dose of open-minded willingness to really go there. A good fit for fans of Malka Older, though it is Earth-based rather than space!
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This was such an unique read! I was hooked from the beginning, and thoroughly enjoyed the story, the characters, and the ending. It got weirder and weirder as it went, but slowly enough that as the reader I was like ok, let’s do this! 
I enjoyed the characters, the way their personalities are peeled back more and more as you go, and the jumping back in time to one of their childhoods. I loved the banter, the irreverent humor used as a mask by Rao. I’m not often a fan of stories the revolve around people who happen to be the smartest and the most talented and the best at everything; I like to see humanity. I thought the flaws and humanity of Sunil Rao’s character really balanced his identic memory and language skills and added depth, and really made the story better. Similar with Colonel Adam Rubenstein, incredible badass and lethal weapon with a troubled past. It felt like a movie I’d enjoy watching. 
The plot was pretty amazing, and came together so well. I loved the inclusion of some concepts of reality and energy, and the way a perfect memory comes into play.

The dynamic between the characters had me yelling at them OMG JUST KISS, they were driving me mad. Do they? Don’t they? I won’t spoil anything here. 

 A few things irked me a bit, including the lack of commas in many places where the meaning of a sentence became ambiguous without them. I’m not a stickler for grammar, language evolves and that’s beautiful. But in this case it really threw of the flow of reading for me a number of times, because I a had to reread to make sure I understood. I read a lot of books out of the UK and other parts of the world and I don’t think this is a regional thing, but if so I will stand corrected and attempt to get familiar. 

One character also annoyed me a bit, felt a bit convenient to include yet another super exceptional outlier, this one a clear “baddie” to play foil to the “good guys”. But overall it worked, it was fun, I ended up not wanting to put it down, and it was fairly smart but also still a brain break for me somehow; I was able to read it while super exhausted and still enjoy. 

I didn’t look up the authors until afterwards, and now knowing that this was written remotely by two writers who met on Twitter definitely makes it cooler. 

I think I’m a 4/5,  but it’s one of those “oh yes I’d crush another like this” 4s; maybe it’s 4.25. I’ve recommended to a few folks already - and now I’m recommending to you all! If you like the keywords check it out: sci-fi, thriller, suspense, queer, witty banter, weird stuff, will-they-won’t-they, spies, concept of nostalgia used in a creepy but very cool way
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This book was very good! It’s definitely an interesting concept, very unique and not anything I’d encountered before. I did Get a little bored in the middle, it’s very long and could’ve possibly been shorter. The ending was great, made up for some of it it! 

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Prophet is an interesting cross between sci-fi and spy drama meets a fun writing vibe. The pacing was off at times, but I loved how diverse the cast of characters was. This had an almost X-Files kind of file throughout.
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Prophet is a very creative look at the power of truth as it connects the mind to the real world. A no-nonsense, military-grade, strong silent type detective is paired with his apparent foil -- a hard-partying man with an innate ability to determine if statements are true or not. They need to investigate the sudden mysterious appearance of numerous nostalgic objects -- including a diner! -- and disappearances of several people.

Their evolving partnership and investigation takes many twists and turns, from mysterious past and compounds with evolving effects on people and murky research purposes.

This is a very entertaining and engaging novel, though there was also definitely some repetition in some of the stages - but excellent mix of characters and situations.
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to be brutally honest i am amazed that this was published...the storytelling is trying to go for an erin morgenstern/neil gaiman vibe but something is off. i'm just not buying into it (be it the characters, the world-building, or the dialogues). it reminds me of that time i had to write a fantasy short story for a creative writing class and it sucked so bad because it wasn't a genre i was familiar or good at. but as we all know, ymmv so give don't let my vague review put you off from giving prophet a shot.
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I ended up DNF'ing this book at 4%. While the concept is very intriguing I couldn't quite grasp the world the authors were building. I didn't realize it was a sci-fi style thriller which is not something I usually enjoy. 
Also reading other reviews made me realize I didn't want to commit to the sheer size and heft of the story. 
Thank you for the opportunity to try though.
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There is a love story hiding beneath the surface of this book. Blink and you’ll miss it. The plot here was insane at times and despite some apprehension at first I ended up enjoying the story as a whole. Lots of conspiracy, government agencies from multiple countries, spying, big corporation evil doers etc. This story has it all. And right at the center the enemy turns out to have weapon used nostalgia. Yes you read that right. Weaponized nostalgia. 

It’s terribly hard to review this without spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. Enjoy.
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When I first read the summary for this book, I was really excited to dive right into it. It wasn't what I was expecting.

I had a much harder time really getting into the story and I had to stop every now and then and start over before I finally found the right time to truly sink myself into it. The early chapters felt slow even though there were things happening on page. It was like watching a show on TV on autopilot and having what is going on not sink it. I did like the characters although it was harder to get a grasp on who they truly were.

It was much later on when the plot, the characters and the world truly gelled together and I found myself enjoying this book. The concept was great however the execution needed some work. The main characters were the shining parts of this story. There were some exciting and emotional moments but they were so few that generally it felt like a chore finishing this book.

Overall a decent read once it found is stride.

3 stars out of 5 stars.
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"A medical student called Johannes Hofer coined a term for it: 'nostalgia.' It was a kind of homesickness. From the Greek 'nostos,' meaning a return to home, and 'algos,' meaning -"
"Pain," Rao says.

Despite being described as a thriller, Prophet was an incredibly boring book. When I first came across the premise I was very excited to get my hands on this debut, as Prophet sounded like it was going to be an emotionally charged narrative centered on memory and nostalgia. I should have known this wasn't going to be my cup of tea when I saw it more recently described somewhere as "Barbie meets Oppenheimer"...what??? I think my biggest issue with Prophet was that it is very obvious from how surface level the sci fi elements are and how depthless the plot is that everything is just set dressing for the romance. I felt like the authors definitely cared most about developing the relationship between the two main characters. Which is fine except that, even by the end of the book, Adam and Rao are about as interesting as a sack of potatoes. The authors failed at breathing any sort of life into these men. Rao's personality consists of being effusive + self destructive and calling people "love." He reminded me a bit of those old bisexual stereotypes, which is not a good thing. Adam is repressed and that's it. The sarcastic banter between these two were just very cringe and also of course they both have such tragic histories.

Additionally, the narrative structure of Prophet was a huge mess, and the pacing was horrendous. By the time I got to the halfway mark I felt like we had not gotten anywhere in terms of the plot. There were so many portions of this book that could have been condensed or cut and really nothing would have been lost. In the first half of Prophet chapters would alternate between either an extended view of one of our protagonist's childhood or our main characters' time together in Afghanistan. The flashbacks heavily distracted rather than added to the main mystery, and these chapters were kind of dropped halfway through without leading anywhere significant. This is also very nitpicky and specific, but I didn't like the way the dialogue was presented. There would be whole stretches of quotes from character without any breaks in between so that sometimes we're just reading a whole page of just quotes that's meant to be a back-and-forth conversation between the characters. It all just read like amateurish writing. 

I really wanted to find any reasons to rate this book higher but I just could not think of a single aspect of Prophet that I enjoyed. If you're looking to read an engaging sci fi this is definitely not it, and I can't even recommend it to people looking for a decent romance.
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Sunil Rao is able to tell instantly whether an object is real or fake or whether a statement is a truth or a lie. Adam  Rubenstein is an intelligence officer who was partnered with Rao on an op in Kabul, that ended up with Rao in prison. Adam is the only person Rao has met that he can't get a read on and can't tell when he's lying. This caused them to be somewhat adversarial at first, though their relationship improves. Because of Rao's talents, he's been asked to investigate a strange phenomenon where objects from the past are spontaneously being created. He ends up partnered with Adam once again and together they discover a top secret project called EOS Prophet that targets people's fondest memories and weaponizes them. Between the two of them they discover they don't react to Prophet like the other test subjects and this gives them the opportunity to save victims of Prophet and to potentially stop it all together. Overall, an interesting sci-fi mystery that focuses on memory and how it can manifest, as well as on the growing relationship between Rao and Adam.
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An American diner appears in a British field. A memory come to being, as many more start to, and then the deaths follow. Prophet weaponizes the past, but no one knows how or why. Sunil Rao, who is what you'd call the unlikely choice for such a serious job is brought in for his unique ability to tell truth from lies in everything, even objects, in the present and the past. He is paired with military man Adam Rubenstein, who recommended him, someone he shares a troublesome past with. Mess and order working together so we can have a future.

Jumps right into the story with a nice way to introduce the protagonist. Different POVs pop in piquing your curiosity, amping up the mystery, making you want to figure it out as the story unfolds and clues are given.

A testament to evocative writing are the tiny details not only of the environment but of human behavior that are unexpected yet so natural, putting you in the setting of each scene. Showing us how imperfect humanity is, how flawed, how rich our life is in 'shit happens' as mentioned in the book. Philosophical ambiance and a 'the truth is blunt' quality tinge the narrative, along with Rao's sarcastic flair. A sarcastic flair that adds a bit of humor and cuts through the inevitable scary of sci-fi.

I like how Rao's ability is shown. How the author conveys the odd couple chemistry between Rao & Adam, their in-your-face attitude towards each other. Their antithesis is a source of enjoyment. There are trips down memory lane, flashbacks if you will, done properly. A heart-squeezing parallel storyline has me deeply intrigued, even though it seems mundane on the surface in regards to the main story. The way it crashes into the main story is heart-wrenching and ingenious. So many deep, enveloping thoughts in this book that stir emotions.

Does the back and forth between present and past and between POVs get whiplash? I thought it would but it didn't. There were times when I wished the authors wouldn't cut away from a scene, though I realize it just amps up my intrigue. The buildup to the finale is amazing.

The book is deeply rooted in the meaning of reality, of existence, the power of memories and our relationship with thought. Our relationship with the truth. With the props of a phenomenal sci-fi thriller, this is conspiracy theory heaven, cinematic bliss, a thinking man's fantastical journey with a seasoning of intense feelings.
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I absolutely loved this one. It’s a sort of creepy sci-fi spy thriller mixed up with a satisfying, banter-filled, slow burn romance. Overall, an absolutely wild and fun ride. 

This book is that perfect note of sci-fi lite, where it’s mostly set in our world, but something slightly strange is going on. The slightly strange being a new mysterious infectious agent called Prophet that causes people to manifest nostalgic items from their past (think GI Joe dolls or entire classic diners) and then kills them with it. The only people that could maybe save the world are Adam, a surly American military officer, and Rao, a sort of ex-MI6 spy who also functions as a human lie detector. Of course they have a sorted past, the likes of which is slowly revealed through flashbacks, but they are probably also inevitable if they can just save the world first. 

Admittedly this did take me a little bit to get into because the early jumps from past to present were a little confusing but once this took off I found it impossible to put down. The plot is rather relentless and the stakes keep ramping up as Prophet continues to spread and evolve. And the ending! Absolute perfection.

Clearly I highly recommend this one. I’m still on the fence on whether this should be the start of a series or just remain a perfect standalone, but it is such an exciting and unique novel from this new writing duo. I’d love to see what they’d write next together.

Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Who else played and loved 2019 Game of the Year <em>Control</em>? There's a very specific weird, unsettling, hilarious, eldtrichy, paranoid-espionage-tinged vibe that Prophet shares with that excellent game—but Prophet is also very romantic. What a ride! People should start optioning books for video games, because I would play the hell out of this.
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This was a delight. Feels like an episode of the X Files in terms of mashing up sci-fi with spy novel (and some will-they-or-won't-they). Has some really powerful thoughts about nostalgia as tool and weapon, using it in delightfully eerie ways. There are bits of this that feel like a fanfic someone's filed the serial number off of, but kudos to them for realizing it was its own whole story. It's a skosh baggy in the middle, but once the final act of the book kicks off, I sped all the way to the finish and was delighted with the end.
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A very interesting book and I And how the author had different themes going throughout this book. You meet a man named adam who was very strange in this book. He had a very troubling pass because of his father, and he was also gay. His friend r His friend named r a Oh. They started to connect in this book and because their shared history in the military. A lot of different things were going on with labs and stuff like that. And we'll find out what the prophecy meant. Because it was a very strange thing they did in these labs. Because of this lab, who was run by. By a woman. These 2 had a great adventure together. And they were trying to figure out who murdered somebody in this book, so they had to go a lot of backtracking.. It was interesting how the military got involved in this because they actually do. It has a really weird ending. And I think this really explains how the book came together. But explains how the book all came together.
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DNF at 20%.

This book is so confusing. I love spy stories but the writing in this book just didn't click with me. I also don't do well with slow pacing. I'm sure this book has an audience, it's just not me.
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PROPHET by Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché is a meticulously crafted sci-fi thriller that never fully pulled me into its story. As much as I wanted to like this book (I was excited to read it, having loved Macdonald's nonfiction), I found the book ultimately overwrought - each sentence was a labor to get through. The characters were equally difficult, including at least one choice of a POV character that I found difficult to read. Fans of Macdonald, or those willing to wade through the prose, will find an entertaining story.
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A sci-fi thriller mystery with X-Files vibes and a queer romance, Prophet raises interesting questions about nostalgia.

This book is so hard to review because there are some things about it that are superb, but they are surrounded by distanced prose and a somewhat meandering plotline. 

The aspect that really kept me reading was the romance subplot. This part of the novel is excellent in that it really keeps you on your toes. I loved the dynamic between the characters, the history they had together, the way the novel throws red herrings at you near the start regarding their love lives, and the passages of longing and care. I also liked the juxtaposition that these tough-as-nails military dudes are afraid to take risks in this aspect of their lives. I also love a chaotic + lawful / sunshine + grumpy dynamic. I shipped them so hard. 

The concept behind the novel is also really interesting. Along with the kind of classic X-Files feel of the mystery, it also seems to be raising a point about how clinging to nostalgia can be harmful. Yet, while Prophet has a very strong start, it starts to peter off in the middle and then ends in a way I didn’t find satisfying. 

The prose also didn’t really work for me. It kept me at a distance, and I often found there were long stretches that didn’t really say or do anything and then a few pages that went by too fast. The prose might work for some readers, but it just didn’t mesh with me. 

Yet, it was an interesting and complex sci-fi with a very robust love story. People who like the slower sci-fi thrillers, like Crighton’s Sphere, might enjoy this.
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