The Prophet

Companion Story (The Kota Series)

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
100 Pages
Reviewed on (not set)
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

The Prophet: Companion Story is an entry in The Kota Series by Sunshine Somerville, a dystopian novella with great and exciting characters. The dystopian setting conjures powerful, grim images. Hazen Stephenson, a man who experiences disturbing lucid dreams, sets out across the world to meet people he encounters in his dreams, and he has a lot of impact on their lives. Renny Nado has a Creative Writing Degree and has never considered what to do with it, although “The Kota” people see it as playing an important role in the greater scheme of things. Could she make Hazen see the purpose of her gifts? What role would they play in a world that is sinking, marked by political tensions, greed, and hatred?

The Prophet: Companion Story is a riveting read, one you’d complete in one sitting, not because it is short, but because it is gripping. As one reads on, one can’t help but think about the current political situation in the US. Although this is a story with powerful dystopian elements, it reflects a lot of contemporary political drama, with the greed and madness and hatred seeping through political minds. One also understands the place of gifts in the economy of life. Our gifts are meant to serve a purpose and it is wonderful to see how Renny Nado gets anxious about hers. Sunshine Somerville has crafted a beautiful story that has many lessons for humanity, a story that will make readers rethink what role they play in life in their time. The prose is beautiful and the plot follows a simple, yet gripping structure. I finished reading this one before I even remembered I started reading. It’s a delightful piece of writing, indeed.

Christian Sia

The Prophet: Companion Story (The Kota Series) by Sunshine Somerville is an engaging novella that follows the life of Hazen Stephenson, a man whose life could have been very enviable with his private jet and luxuries, but he is plagued by nightmares. In fact, he has many tattoos, and each of them is modeled after a nightmare. Now he sets out on a personal odyssey to meet some of the people in his dreams. Read on to discover the encounter with the mysterious Lhamo, the meeting with the gifted Renny Nado who lacks self-confidence and doesn’t believe that her Creative Writing Degree can’t be used for a great purpose. Discover the mystery about the Kota people and the role they play in a dying world filled with hatred and pain.

Sunshine Somerville’s novel isn’t a full-length novel, but a novella, an engaging, quick read that features very interesting characters. I was intrigued from the beginning by the introduction of the protagonist, which raises many questions in the reader’s mind about the protagonist. The setting comes out beautifully, captured in vivid and colorful descriptions. I found the dialogues interesting and natural. Readers who love short stories will have a lot to savor in this novel, including the well-thought out and captivating characters, the surprising turns in the plot, and the fascinating setting. The writing is very accessible and it flows with exceptional fluidity. This is one of those stories for readers who are into books that are purpose-driven and that feature a strong conflict with multi-dimensional characters. The Prophet: Companion Story (The Kota Series) was a delightful read.

Charles Remington

Hazen Stephenson has nightmares; disturbing, sometimes terrifying, dreams about the distant future or sometimes about tragic events that will happen imminently and which he feels an urgent compulsion to try to influence. Sometimes he succeeds, but not always; unfortunately, there is no way of telling in advance which dream scenarios are changeable and which are not, that is, until he meets Renny Nado. The Prophet by Sunshine Somerville chronicles the dramatic change in Hazen’s life as he makes the shocking discovery that Renny shares his dreams, literally having exactly the same dream at the same time.

But the fantastic difference is that Renny only shares the dreams in which the actual circumstances can be changed. This is going to make a great deal of difference to Hazen’s life, but Renny has other plans - she wants Hazen to meet with a sect called the Kota, a group deeply interested in Hazen’s dreams of the future, a group which believes his dystopian dreams are prophetic and need to be documented in order to guide future generations. This will involve travelling to the sect’s temple in Tibet and avoiding the attention of a disturbed psychopathic member of the Kota, who believes that new prophets must die in order to preserve the timeline. Working in Tibet with others who experience the same nightmare dreams, Hazen and Renny try to record a series of prophecies to assist the Kota and those who will follow, but a hunter is out there, determined that they will not succeed.

I am happy to say that Sunshine Somerville has the knack of grabbing your attention and keeping it throughout her pacey narrative. The Prophet is a short but well written novella that appears to precede her dystopian ‘Kota’ series. Unfortunately, I have not read this series, but The Prophet may serve to clarify some of the themes and precepts for those who have. Having read this prequel though, I am encouraged to give the main series a try. Ms Somerville is a talented author and sure to achieve great success in her chosen genre. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to fans of dystopian sci-fi.

Neil A White

The Prophet by Sunshine Somerville is a companion novella to the Kota Series of books and fits snugly into the Young Adult/Dystopian genre. Ms. Somerville writes with a self-assurance that keeps the storyline moving along at a brisk pace, and although she covers much ground, never leaves the reader at a loss in following the plot.

The hero of Ms. Somerville’s story is Hazen Stephenson, a man troubled by nightmares that soon become all too real. When he meets a beautiful young woman named Renny – also a vision-seer – he feels he may finally be able to answer some of the questions that haunt him. Together they travel to Tibet and work with a Buddhist-type religious sect named the Kota – please don’t call them a cult - and there, Hazen and Renny, along with a small group of other vision-seers learn the true secret to their special powers. However, a former member of the sect soon arrives to create havoc within their idyllic world. When all seems lost and true understanding of their purpose seems beyond their grasp, a strange visitor arrives that helps Hazen keep the faith of the Kota prophecies.

Ms. Somerville weaves a fascinatingly detailed tapestry of an intricate storyline that loosely melds together time travel, our world generations in the future, and the book of Revelation. For lovers of good dystopian/fantasy novels, The Prophet is for you, and will have readers searching out Ms. Somerville’s other works to delve further into the strange adventures of the monks of the Kota sect.

Jack Magnus

The Prophet: The Kota Series, A Companion Story is a dystopian novella written by Sunshine Somerville. While this novella is a companion to a continuing series, the author provides enough background information throughout the story to enable the reader to enjoy it as a standalone novella. Hazen Stephenson’s dream life was a vivid and disconcerting one. He saw things before they happened, terrible things, and he was never quite sure if he could help avert the tragedies he knew were about to happen. He hadn’t succeeded in saving his brother, Chuck, from the fatal car accident he knew would take place. Hazen had begged his brother to stay home that night, had even hidden the keys to his car, but Chuck was determined to go out, and he had died. When Hazen confided in his mother about the nature of his dreams, her reaction was to have him committed for psychiatric treatment, so, in future, he kept the dreams to himself and did what he could with the information given him. His latest rescue was the young tattoo artist who inked the drawing that Hazen recalled from his dreams on his arm. Hazen had seen him crossing the street and getting hit by a delivery truck. Through Hazen’s intervention, that man got to go home to his family that night, but Hazen couldn’t help but wish he had been able to somehow save Chuck as well.

An unwanted blind date with the pampered and self-indulgent daughter of his mother’s friend was as much as a disaster as Hazen could have anticipated, but something startling came out of it as well. Hazen met Renny there in the restaurant. She had been sitting at a nearby table and couldn’t help but speak out after something Maghen had said. When Maghen left to meet up with her boyfriend, Renny sat down and shared Hazen’s table. He was stunned to discover that she knew who, and what, he was; she even shared many of his dreams. Then she confided something that made everything better -- that there were times when he just couldn’t stop the bad things from happening. If she didn’t share a particular dream with him, that person could not be saved. And the guilt and years of second-guessing over Chuck’s death were lifted at once off Hazen’s shoulders.

Sunshine Somerville’s dystopian novella The Prophet: The Kota Series, A Companion Story is a thrilling and fast-paced story about an alienated young man who comes to realize that the dreams that have so clearly defined his and others’ lives were really something much bigger than he would ever have been able to realize on his own. Watching as he joins with the Kota and learns to harness and control his abilities is both fascinating and thought-provoking. I was unfamiliar with Somerville’s The Kota Series before reading this novella, and found, while it was complete in itself, the plot and characters made beginning The Kota series a tempting proposition. Somerville’s characters are very well defined, especially Hazen and Renny, and her plot is convincing and enjoyable. The Prophet: The Kota Series, A Companion Story is highly recommended.