The cult of an evil god threatens to take over the land, in a world where channeling priests can perform great feats of magic. A boy, Marak, is raised in the cult but is saved when the initial uprising is defeated. He is remarkably talented and shows great promise… if only he weren’t tainted by the god that he served. He tries to shake loose his youth in the cult, but must overcome prejudice and heritage to find a place in a society that spurns him.
Listened to the audiobook with Frank Rigter. The reader wasn’t this book’s problem.
Before I launch into this review, it is important to know something about the Dutch-language adult (as in, not children’s) fantasy market, and that is that it is virtually non-existent. My guess is that that is probably the case because most people that would be interested in reading fantasy in the Netherlands are more than happy to do so in English.
Despite the adverse market conditions, Ad van Tiggelen (pen name: Adrian Stone) has managed to get himself published – which is quite a feat, both because he is to my knowledge the only Dutch fantasy author with some level of commercial success, and also because of the deep mediocrity of his debut novel.
Profeet van de Duivel is set in a run-of-the-mill fantasy world, though the story’s set up – the boy rescued from the cult but marked by his membership and spurned by his peers – is not that bad. The actual story, however, is. It is a string of poorly re-used tropes and clichés, with flimsy worldbuilding, shallow characters, non-existent mystery and mediocre prose. Most names in the book sound like Italian desserts or Milanese fashion brands. The ‘twist’ at the end of the book is both highly predictable and entirely un-foreshadowed (remarkable, isn’t it?).
One of the book’s worst aspects is its treatment of female characters: within the first sentence of introduction of literally every female character, you know whether or not she is pretty, which seems to be the only aspect of any female character that matters. Armana, supposedy one of the main characters, is so damn sexy that literally every male character that comes in contact with her, wants to have sex with her. That is also about the extent of her influence on the plot – she makes the male characters in the party dislike each other because one of them got into her pants, and the others didn’t.
A star-and-a-half-rating might seem harsh, and maybe it is. Profeet van de Duivel is not absolute trash. It is functional, as a fantasy book. That is about as far as I am willing to go. I tend to be able to find some merit in most of the books I dislike – original settings, strong prose, an interesting character here and there. Often, I can see why, even though a book is not for me, it might be a recommendation for others.
Profeet van de Duivel has none of those redeeming factors. It is just mediocre in every aspect. I would recommend literally no one to read Profeet van de Duivel.
I would not even recommend it to Dutch readers interested in reading something Made in Holland. If you want that, try Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX, which is original and actually features some delightful Dutchness.
Sorry Ad – but everyone, give Profeet van de Duivel a miss.