Book Review: The Prophecy Con (Rogues of the Republic book 2), By Patrick Weekes
What you should know
Read The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic book 1) first. It introduces all of the important players and is a better book all around.
The Prophecy Con picks up in the epilogue of The Palace Job an continues to tell stories about many of the characters introduced in book 1 and re-introduced to an extent in book 2. To appreciate the full backstory and understand who the characters are completely, you have to read book 1. But that’s a good thing.
In a realm where one part of the world is governed by an empire, and the other a republic, a war is building that could determine the future of both societies, and everyone in them.
What I liked
Author Patrick Weekes proved his ability to write enjoyable dialogue in book 1. The more of that I found in The Prophecy Con the more I liked it. The Palace Job introduced us to some very interesting, humorous, multidimensional characters, who are easy to appreciate. Weekes writes about them and takes great care in keeping them consistent to their values, as he reveals more about them, and as they deal with growing challenges in their relationships, and their struggles to survive against difficult odds.
What I didn’t like
There just wasn’t enough down time for me. The author seemed obsessed with frenetic action to the point where he gave no breaks between one violent conflict after another. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Even within each fight, he kept raising the stakes, doubling and tripling down within the combat to add doubt about the outcome and heighten the intensity. The problem with doing that, I found, was that not only did it seem like the characters needed more than two arms, two legs, and one head to cope with all the simultaneous assaults, I needed to be two readers to keep up with what was happening. That, I’m afraid, didn’t happen.
I want to be fair here, but book 1 didn’t fall into that trap. I’m reading, believing that the heroes will survive each onslaught, they got through the first book didn’t they? Yet with every line Weekes seems to try to get me to believe they have to do the impossible in order to be alive in the next chapter. If I was one of the characters, I’d offer to sacrifice myself, just to avoid all the suffering I’ll have to endure in the remaining chapters. Can a brother get a breather?
Another problem with the plot is that one, or more, its hard to tell at times, of the characters has the apparent ability to disguise themselves while knowing what everyone else is doing. Sort of like the fly on the wall, or having the ability to be completely undetectable. Some not only disappear, but they disappear into other beings. It’s a problem because these characters leave the reader guessing too much. Who are they? How many are they? They were so hidden I had trouble distinguishing them from each other. What is they’re agenda? Whose side are they on anyway? These secret characters wield so much control it seems like they’re outside the story. You never get to know what rules govern these mysterious beings, certainly not the same rules that apply to the more or less human characters. So they provide mostly frustration when I think they’re supposed to be adding suspense.
Not as much fun reading.
Questions raised in The Palace Job included what separated these two major powers, and how would the future be impacted by their differences? The Prophecy Con addresses these to some degree. However, the real question the book emphasized was who were the real puppet-masters? The significant leaders in the republic and the empire did not have enough intelligence or integrity to prevent them from being manipulated by anyone with more than an adolescent level of maturity.
Recommendation: Maybe Read