Book Review: The Last Martin by Jonathan Friesen

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I recently met the author of this book, Jonathan Friesen, at a conference in Minneapolis and he graciously gave me this book to read.

I was not sure what to expect…but I loved it!

The Last Martin is a quirky story about a boy named, Martin.  His mother is neurotic in the very best sense and his father is somewhat disengaged.  Martin has a sister named Lani who, as little sister’s go, isn’t so bad.  Let’s throw in a hick Uncle and a very pregnant Aunt and Martin’s life is over before it even started.  How, you ask?  Well finding out that answer makes the story even more fun!  I digress, let me get back to the beginning.

Martin is afraid of just about everything thanks to his Mother being “overly” protective.  Martin is sanitized, steamed and cleaned just about every second of the day.  He cannot get dirty without breaking out in a sweat worrying about germs and microbes.  Sigh.  What a life for a kid, right?

Martin lives in a fantasy world and his main character, the White Knight is a savior.  He battles the Dark Knight and their story starts to parallel what is happening in real life to Martin

What happens next is an interesting mix of friendship, a prune fight, hilarity and of course, the curse.

Martin realizes that with the birth of his new cousin, a boy also to be named Martin, that he will die…because there can only be one Martin in the family.

Martin is now on quest.  Break the curse, get the girl, make some friends and well…live like he is dying.

The only challenges I had with this book was continuity, within the story within the story.  You will get what I mean gentle reader when you get to the end of the book.

I actually laughed reading certain parts of this book, which normally does not happen.  I greatly enjoyed it and I would recommend to anyone…young and old alike.

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Review: “Prophet” by R.J. Larson

I received my second book Prophet by R.J. Larson from Bethany House Publishers, and I was not sure that I would totally like it.  In fact, I thought at first that this book was not going to grab me.

I WAS TOTALLY WRONG!!!

Prophet is about a young woman named Ela Roeh.  Ela has an incredible image about a village that is being destroyed.  She finds out that the “Infinite” or her area’s God has decided that she is going to be His next prophet.  She is very concerned because her village, Parne, has never had a prophet who lived into old age.

Ela embarks on a journey with her younger sister, Tzana.  They manage to make very few friends but many enemies as Ela follows the Infinite’s guidance.  Ela meets a man in prison named Kien and through a period of time they become friends and eventually they fall in love with one another. 

Ela faces many trials, condemnation and hardship.  She is outcast, beat up, attacked, censored and ignored.  Being a prophet does not pay.  She is tasked with spreading the Word of the Infinite as well as trying to help countries who have given over their way of life to worshipping idols made of sand and stone.  (Sounds somewhat familiar, right?)  If she can convince them to turn back to the Infinite, their Creator, they will be saved.  But the Infinite warns her that her task will be futile, but He will save them to their last breath.  The Infinite speaks to Ela, but not all the time, and He gives her visions to let her know what is going to happen if the people do not repent, turn from their blasphemous ways and acknowledge Him as their one true God.

This book held me in thrall.  I loved how the R. J. Larson took stories from the Old Testament of the Bible and reworked them into a futuristic story set in another world.  The Infinite is a God I can relate to since He is fashioned after mine.  The writing makes it easy to discuss the prophet themes from the Bible as well as look at how false Gods, however they may be brought up, can easily destroy civilizations.  I enjoyed how well rounded the characters are and the pace of the story is very good.

My favorite character has to be the warhorse or “destroyer” named “Pet”.  It’s funny how the horse has become an integral part of the story, but he adds comic relief when the theme and tone get heavy.

I cannot wait for the second book to come out and I look forward to sharing this book with my 12-year-old daughter.  This book was written for young adult, sci-fi readers…but I also think people like me (30 somethings who love a good story) will like it too.  It definitely gives you something to think about and the parallels as to what is going on in our society today, as well as what has happened in the past, cannot be ignored.  It will bring up good discussions in the near future!  Prophet by R.J. Larson is a great read!