Prophet of the Badlands by Matthew S. Cox
Published April 27, 2015
I was quite excited for this novel because I’ve lately found an interest in post-apocalyptic worlds and this one was definitely set in that genre. Unfortunately this book took me way too long to get into. The wordings, the tone of the book, the pace, everything just seemed off somehow in the beginning so it took me a really long time to get into the rhythm of Althea’s thoughts and her blundering experiences. In fact, there were a few times when I considered putting the book down because I just didn’t want to continue anymore. The only thing that kept me going was my review for the book.
Althea is a twelve year old girl who has some amazing powers and the one most commonly mentioned and abused by her captors was her ability to heal others. While I found her fascinating, I also found her naiveté and innocence dumbfounding and frustrating. It was incredibly difficult for me to relate to a twelve year old and understand her innocence in a lot of things. I can overlook her inability to figure out what certain modern luxuries we have now due to the post-apocalyptic nature of the book; however, I was unable to see why she would do certain things or should I say, lack thereof. There were so many times when I found her simply pathetic especially with her lack of courage or whatnot to simply run away or say no. I mean, she had the power to order people to do certain things so why not use it? And it wasn’t until she got taken away from her somewhat boyfriend and later from her sister that she really started to stand up for herself and develop some personality. What I did admire about her was her capability to still heal others even after they had hurt her – she still maintained a forgiving nature despite everything that had happened to her. In a way, yes, that was frustrating because she healed people who had not only hurt her but her friends or loved ones but at the same time, it was admirable.
The one thing I really did not like in this book was the writing style. I found it really confusing and somewhat choppy, to be perfectly honest. There were many instances where I found myself reading certain pages and then all of a sudden, I don’t know what happened – usually it was Althea being captured. Again. But regardless, I always found myself rereading certain passages again and after a while of doing the same thing over and over again, when I got lost again, I just gave up and plowed on through. I just feel that it didn’t flow well and the pacing of the book simply did not capture me. There are some books that even though the plot is very simple or that the particular scene is very mundane but the way how the author wrote the book made you enraptured. This book was not like that at all. I felt like I had to work to simply read the book.
There were also a lot of seemingly important secondary characters such as Den, Karina and Rachel; however, because the book flowed so fast and because Althea kept finding herself either captured yet again by a new band of raiders or trying to escape, those secondary characters were only around for a few short chapters and then disappeared. Den, the boy whom Althea regretted leaving behind for the first time since ever because she was captured again, was only there for about 2-3 chapters in the really beginning and then was only mildly referenced to by Althea later on. The same went for the other characters. They seemed important but the author also made them seem somewhat unimportant. It was quite disappointing because I thought that the secondary characters had some real potential and hoped to draw on them on some more.
Overall, it was a decent book but there were a lot of questions unanswered, a lot of plot holes, choppy writing and storyline, and a frustrating main character that I can honestly say that I will not be picking up the second book. I did waver for a little bit though because of literally the last two pages of the book created a cliffhanger but then I thought to myself, do I really want to read yet again another choppy 400+ page book? And the answer was a resounding no. As much as I would like to recommend this book, I really cannot. But at the same time, it seems to me that most of the reviews on Goodreads right now are positive so maybe it was just me who didn’t enjoy this book. I suppose it’ll be up to you to decide if this book is for you or not.