Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Propheticus by Emma Daley

Title: Propheticus: The Mangitori de Sangue
Author: Emma Daley
Pages: 282
Published: 20th November 2010

"There is something frightening about the way a hateful, unknown creature looks back at you. The way its beady red eyes snarl at you, and it's cheek curls with a hiss to reveal the greedy canines beneath. It is one thing to dream of this beastly creature, and it is another to have it inches from your face, its warm ungodly breath on your cheek, and its pallid gray bones reaching to devour you. My name is Aniah, and once my world was safe. But like many others throughout the universe-and here on the planet Delucia-fate would have me meet with the Mangitori de Sangue; an ancient army of blood-lusting creatures who have been frightening and devouring the inhabitants of the universe for decades. My fate brings me deep into their world. In fact, it is written somewhere-and the stories have been told long before I was ever born-of a prophecy wherein a young woman with the heart and soul of an angel will lead the universe in a victory against the Mangitori de Sangue. I am that woman. I just have to stay alive long enough to figure out how." (Goodreads)

From the very first page of Propheticus I felt like I had been whisked away into another world - namely, the planet of Delucia. There was something about Emma Daley's writing; she was somehow able to paint a distinct atmosphere and setting with her words that I was easily able to immerse myself into.

Propheticus opens with Aniah, our main character, and her mother on the long and treacherous trek across the harsh Kohosh desert that they must make every month in order to collect enough 'Eskerberries' to sustain the 'Questerian' tribe, with whom they live, a tribe of over one hundred and fifty people. For some reason, these Eskerberries are vital for the tribe's survival during the 'Dark Months' - a three month long period of darkness when food is scarce and must be rationed.

It is here in the Kohosh desert that Aniah and her mother come across Novell, a young man on the brink of death, weak and starving.They bring him back to their home and tend him back to health.Novell has travelled all over the planet of Delucia and he tells Aniah stories from his travels, about the many exotic places that he has visited. One of my favourite places he described was 'Oceania,' home to the 'Aquaterian' tribe, a land that "overflowed with waterfalls and ponds that sparkled like a million Jetta crystals"  and where "the smell of the Crisper trees filled the air like sweet nectar, which succeeded the scent of the cool, mossy stones that lined the bottoms of the waterfalls." It was described so vividly that I could picture its stunning beauty in my mind, and felt almost as if I was there.

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that Propheticus was told from two persepectives - alternating between the narrations of Aniah and Novell. I felt this was nice as it gave you a chance to see into the minds of both characters, and see what both were thinking and feeling.

However, although I enjoyed the beginning of Propheticus, and overall it was a pleasant enough read, things did begin to become a little tedious. I think the main problem I had with Propheticus was its pacing. Only about two thirds of the way through - TWO THIRDS, as in closer to the end than the beginning! - was the first substantial seed of storyline/mystery properly sown. And there really was hardly any action...until right at THE VERY END. Kind of a long time to actually get into the story, don't you think? TOO long.

In fact, on reflection, I can't actually remember much that actually happened in Propheticus. It was mostly Aniah and Novell talking, or just pining about their love for one another, or wondering if the other felt the same way as they did... Maybe it's just me and my memory, but now that I think about it, I really can't remember much at all happening.

Another problem I had was with the characters. Although the world-building in Propheticus was very good, the character-building fell short for me. Aniah and Novell were nice enough characters but they didn't feel real to me, and their relationship was one of those 'fell-in-love-at-first-sight' kind of ones, which I just wasn't feeling.

Propheticus seemed more like a prequel to a story rather than an actual story - I felt the plot only actually really began right at the very end; the rest of the book seemed only semi-necessary world-building and background-painting. This gives me a little hope, however, that maybe the action will actually start in the sequel, which will hopefully hold some sort of storyline, and that it will be better than the first book now that all the background story is out of the way.


  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy this book very much! :( I agree, action until right at the end makes so sense at all. But I love books where it tells the story from different character's point of view - it's really effective when you see it from two perspectives. Thanks for the great review, Catherine! :) xx

  2. Great review! I'm glad you really liked the world-building, but I also get super annoyed sometimes over characters, pacing, and then the fact that it was more like a prequel is really annoying. I'm sorry you didn't like it too much! :( I haven't heard of this book before, but I think I'll probably end up passing on it.


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