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Forsaken Kingdom: City of Prophecy Hardcover – November 11, 2008
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Having said this, I really liked this book and cannot imagine why he does not have a publisher yet. For me, it is all about the characters and Dudek does a very good job in this area. There are many that I loved. They are not overly complex, but they are likable and inspiring. The only slight downside in this area is that there is a huge cast and even at the end of the book, I still found myself asking "Now who is this guy?", so he could have done a better job with adding gentle reminders of the characters connections to help his readers remember.
The world he has created is also very interesting. He has really thought through the history, and I found myself always wanting to know more of the land and its story.
On the negative side, I found Dudek's writing style fairly simple and not very engrossing, but he does such a good job with the characters, the world-building, and the plot pacing that I still found myself wanting to read more. Also, on Dudek's blog, he states that he has already completed the second book in the series but is not releasing it yet since he is looking for a publisher. This is another negative since it means it will most likely be years before we get to read the next installment in the series. I have no doubt that he will find a publisher, because the book is very good, but once the first book is released the publisher will take years to milk the first one for all its worth before they allow him to release the second.
Overall, if you enjoy the fantasy genre and want something that is Christian based with symbolism and imagery that will stir your imagination towards God, then get this book immediately! There were several (not one but many) moments where my heart was greatly stirred up to love and follow the King. The book can be a little intense. It is not Narnia, and there are some pretty scary scenes/images, so I would not recommend it for young readers. It should be fine for young adults/teens though.
It is a well-written and exciting tale of prophecies, monsters, and good-vs-evil--but not at all cliche. I was especially impressed by how Mr. Dudek handled the spiritual symbolism; it is woven so naturally into the fabric of the story that it doesn't come across as shallow or preachy.
In some ways this book has the feel of Lord of the Rings, though it doesn't involve elves or dwarves or magic rings. There are lots of characters, but they are all well-developed and believable.
Be prepared for a cliff-hanger ending! The book is the first of a trilogy, and it ends rather abruptly.
Overall, a very enjoyable read and a good piece of Christian fantasy.
"City of Prophecy" had elements that reminded me of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Ted Dekker's Circle series, Harry Potter, and Chuck Black's The Knights of Arrethtrae series. Basically, this means "City of Prophecy" fits well within the fantasy genre.
On top of a fascinating story that kept me guessing, Dudek's strength lies in his descriptions. Some authors go completely overboard in describing their characters and settings; others don't explain enough, and the reader has difficulty comprehending the author's world. Also, when the story features elements not present in our world, "seeing" them as a reader can be especially difficult. Dudek was able to take the picture in his mind and translate it into words in a way that I could quite easily grasp. I could see what Tarin saw; I could feel what Sarky felt.
City of Prophecy's biggest flaw is that Dudek introduces so many characters in such a short amount of time that I had difficulty remembering who was who. This was compounded by the fact that most characters had "odd" names that didn't easily stick in my mind. A character list that briefly explained the characters and showed how they were related to one another would have been invaluable! (And Dudek is planning a list for future editions.)
If you read it, you should be aware that it's planned as a trilogy, so don't expect things to wrap up neatly. In fact, it ends at a place where you really want to know what's going to happen next!