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Review: Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2) by Kat Ross

Nazafareen, her bonded, and her friends have a mission. They must find the Prophet and somehow learn the secret to release the bonding cuffs the daevas wear. But there is a creeping fear rising in her, both of her feelings for Darius and for the frightening abilities she has started to tap into. Once the group forms a plan to free the Prophet and bring him to Alexander they are set on a path that will bring them to the attention of hidden forces in the city. The Numerators are engaging in a purge of the magi, and the dark queen Neblis is hoping to gain the Prophet for herself.

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What is Blood of the Prophet about?

In the second book of her Fourth Element series, Kat Ross builds on the story previously set in which a kingdom exists full of daeva and humans alike. From the first book, we are introduced to Nazafareen, a clan girl with the “spark” which allows her to be bonded to a daeva named Darius. Nazafareen and Darius have grown close since the events in the first novel, and are deeply attracted to one another though they struggle with the power imbalance the bond creates between them. As they work towards the freedom of the daeva–wrongly imprisoned selfishly by the Prophet centuries ago–they work against the forces of Araxas and Balthazar, the other main perspectives of this novel. Araxas is a Numerator charged with flushing out the Followers, who believe the Prophet still lives, and are correct. Balthazar is an anti-magi or necromancer sent by Queen Neblis to find the Prophet, Darius, and any other useful informants he can.

Genre: Fantasy

As I discovered in the first book of this series, this is a purely fantasy story though there are tinges of real history there. Alexander the Great, for example, is a side character. However, this is very much a fictionalized version of history in which daevas and undead demons are equally real and acknowledged.

Tropes: An Unexpected Surprise (a few of them)

This book really threw a lot at me, though it feels like it wasn’t nearly as much as the first book. Probably due to less scenery changes but I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, there were a lot of revelations that felt like surprises but were foreshadowed.

Plot: Everybody has the same goals

Everybody is hunting for the Prophet. Zarathustra–a fictional prophet whose contributions to his religion include imprisoning the daeva–has been living under the city for nearly two hundred years. Now that the Numerators have their hands on him, they want to dispose of him. Queen Neblis wants him for herself, and Darius and Nazafareen are searching for him to bring to Alexander.

The Good

I find Kat Ross’s storytelling to be compelling, absorbing, and beautiful. I love the way she adopts pieces of real history into the fictional world she’s created, and the magic system has expanded in this book in such an interesting way. I’m definitely invested in finding out more now that the Prophet has been introduced as a character! I also enjoyed the choices in POV characters for this book, as Araxa and Balthazar gave some very interesting insight into what was happening around Nazafareen’s plot.

The Okay

I feel as though I didn’t get a firm grasp on how Nazafareen was really feeling about so much of what happened. She discusses her feelings in this book in a semi-detached manner as she is constantly refusing so many of them. Her feelings for Darius, carried over from the previous book, are left by the wayside for the majority of the book. Her guilt, her fear, her anger, and so many of the things that made her an interesting character are merely mentioned to make room for the plot. I can understand that choice but I felt as though Nazafareen’s narrative was hurt by it.

The Bad

I didn’t entirely understand the goals of…well most everyone. Aside from wanting control of the Prophet, which felt pretty self explanatory, there were a lot of “well things didn’t go our way in the end but who cares” feelings towards the end of the novel. Nazafareen and Darius are desperately trying to buy more time before Alexander’s invasion, but ultimately fail and accept the burning of the city. Neblis wants Darius but just shrugs her shoulders and moves on when she doesn’t obtain him. Most of the characters had concrete goals going into this book, but are thwarted and just somewhat accept this. It felt like a bit of “let’s move the plot along” was happening in that way.

Final Thoughts

Though I did enjoy this installment in the series, I think it’s suffering a little bit from “second book move the plot along” moments. At times it felt slower than the first–the first book covers a lot more time passing–and at the same time it felt as though significantly less happened to move things along. Nevertheless, Nazafareen remains one of the most interesting characters I’ve read the perspective of and the world Kat Ross is creating was expanded in such an interesting way. I found the chapters from Balthazar’s perspective most interesting, as they touch on the hidden parts of the world such as the Gloaming and Neblis’s rise to power. I also enjoyed the Prophet–and the Prophet and Balthazar traveling together was easily the funniest part of the story. The Prophet is a little cunning and a little crazy and I love that combination, I hope we get to see more of his character as the story progresses.

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By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

One reply on “Review: Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2) by Kat Ross”

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