Review of The Prophecy of the Heron

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Elle R McTiph
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Review of The Prophecy of the Heron

Post by Elle R McTiph »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Prophecy of the Heron" by Craig W. Stanfill.]
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4 out of 5 stars
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The Prophecy of the Heron by Craig W. Stanfill is just one of those books that might be unusual but also very exciting to read. The novel is set in a depressingly dystopian world that is run by AI. They control every aspect of life, from how you conduct yourself to going as far as to dictate what you eat. Free will might as well be a foreign concept. However, those AI are slaves to the mega-corporations that truly run the world. The protagonist is an obstinate youth named Kim who has been exiled to the vicious outer districts after being caught committing the crime of “unsanctioned intimacy” with her partner Shan. Kim finds herself in the midst of a rebellion, hunted and struggling for survival in a brutal world she does not want to be a part of. She might very well die, but she has no intention of laying down to do so.

I have to start by saying that despite the spectacularly dark themes, this was an incredibly entertaining book to read. It felt like Stanfill just wrote whatever fun, creative, and exciting idea came to him. This book is Fahrenheit 451 meets The Hunger Games meets The Matrix and a handful of other distinct pieces of fiction, yet somehow it all still feels cohesive. That is my favorite part: watching how the different flavors interact with each other to create such a beautifully written piece. It is the second book in a series of novels, but it is perfectly capable of standing on its own.

Aside from that, there is also Stanfill’s character work and pacing. The characters, especially Kim herself, were very emotionally engaging and felt like they could be real people. There were certain aspects of Kim’s arc that I heavily related to, and I’m sure others would as well. What’s better is the fact that the arc and the entire book don’t drag on longer than they need to. Stanfill has written a fast, punchy, and to-the-point book that gives you everything you need from it in one or two sittings.

I especially like the subtle twist on the usual setting trope. The fact that the AIs are slaves rather than oppressors of their own volition just adds an interesting new layer that changes the playing field of the entire story. The cyberpunk tropes were also very welcome. I am always a fan of great world-building.

One thing did put me off, however, and that was the dialogue. It sometimes delves into the “uncanny valley,” where you as the reader can understand that something is off and that what you’re reading is not quite how real people talk, but you can’t exactly place what’s wrong. This issue, while being a minor one, did take me out of the story sometimes. That being said, I have to give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

This is one of the better novels I’ve read in recent times. A little polish to the story here and there could turn it into something truly amazing. I would recommend this to lovers of science fiction who don’t mind some fantastical elements being sprinkled into the story. I think they will find it worthwhile.

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The Prophecy of the Heron
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Mercy Sos
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Post by Mercy Sos »

It isn't really a book I would want to read. But your review is amazing. Thanks for the honest review
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Amy Luman
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Post by Amy Luman »

I am currently reading “Terms of Service”, which must be a prequel to this one. It is very good too. I am very interested in a world run by AIs. This one shows the bad side.
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Kavita Shah
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Post by Kavita Shah »

Thank yo for the candid review. I really like the description of the book and the combo of different books in one. Well done!
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FunkyFlowerLady
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Post by FunkyFlowerLady »

The book by Stanfill is brief, snappy, and to the point; I love that you can finish it in one or two sittings and get what you need from it. You successfully captured the essence of the book in your review. Congrats!
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