Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: The First Prophet by Kay Hooper

Ohhh, my poor neglected blog! :( Sigh. So what's my latest excuse? Well I've been sick :( Down with a cold... or perhaps the flu, but I think more a cold, since Valentine's Day. Seriously, this has been a rough beginning of 2013 for me. I just can't seem to get into a reading and blogging rhythm. Whenever I start getting into a routine, something will come up and disrupt it. Very annoying. So if you've been wondering where I've been, let just say I've been feeling off...

Anyway, enough whining. For now, I'm just happy I had this review up and I hope I can get on a new streak. Going to try to make it for the TBR challenge tomorrow... but more importantly, I need to blog hop! In the meantime, enjoy this review!

The First Prophet by Kay Hooper
published by Berkley in November 2012
Within the FBI, there exists a team of psychics whose powers cannot be denied. But these agents are feared—by a cabal of conspirators with only one weapon: to blind the psychics to the evils all around them.

Months ago Sarah Gallagher woke from a coma with psychic abilities she couldn’t control. They changed her life and cost her the man she loved. And now, someone is playing games with Sarah’s mind.

It begins with Sarah’s home being destroyed by fire—an act of arson that draws novelist Tucker Mackenzie into Sarah’s confidence. But he has other reasons for pursuing a woman who can see what others can’t. So does a mysterious enemy intent on eliminating Sarah, and everyone she cares about. Because it’s only a matter of time before her visions lead her and Tucker to a secret many will kill to hide. Only then will they begin to discover the scope of a terrifying conspiracy so deep and complex they can trust almost no one.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Series: Bishop Files, Book #1

The Story: Tucker Mackenzie is a successful author. Throughout his career, he's been on the look-out for genuine psychics, someone who could answer his questions. His latest search leads him to Sarah Gallagher. Sarah was in an accident a few months ago and after waking up from a coma, started having visions and dreams. She wants to deny her abilities, but after some of her visions have come true, it's hard to.

What Sarah also knows is that she is being watched... and when her house burns down, well it seems they are doing more than watching. Tucker wants to protect Sarah, but she is not sure it is worth as she's seen how it ends. However, when Sarah is shown that the future can actually change, that it is not set in stone, she decides to fight for her life... Except the people after Sarah have a very long reach and wherever Sarah and Tucker run, there seems to be no escape.

Unbeknownst to Sarah and Tucker, there is a group of people trying to help them, to keep the bad people at bay... In a battle of good vs. evil, who will prevail?

My Opinion: It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Ms Hooper, especially her FBI SCU series. To me, Ms Hooper has set the standards when it comes to writing psychics and mysteries involving them. So there were many reasons for me to be excited for The First Prophet, the first installment in a new psychic series. Going in, I really wanted to love it, but unfortunately, the story did not work for me as well as I had hoped.

What I love so much about Ms Hooper's psychics is that her characters usually have belief in their abilities. They are not always comfortable with their abilities because some are more curses than gifts, but they don't doubt. As a result, Ms Hooper's psychics are usually well-adjusted characters... and that's what was missing in The First Prophet. Here, Sarah has just discovered her abilities and doesn't believe in them or at least, doesn't want to. Instead of making use of them, she's afraid of what she can do and see.  I think this was the first time I read a book of Ms Hooper with the main character just becoming a psychic. Usually, it's a secondary character and there's always someone in his/her entourage to make sense of it, to help out... and Sarah didn't even have that as Tucker was a non-psychic and while he's been searching for a genuine psychic, he was still undecided whether they existed or not. The not knowing, the not understanding, the mystic and the denial... those are usually absent in Ms Hooper's books, but they were all here in The First Prophet and for me, they brought down the book and made it like any other psychic novel. And that's the main reason why I didn't enjoy The First Prophet as much as I expected.

Another reason why The First Prophet didn't work as well for me was actually Sarah's abilities towards the end. I don't know exactly where Ms Hooper is heading with this series, but it's clear that Sarah is an important character, that she is the first prophet. As such, she is freaking powerful. We've seen powerful psychics in the FBI SCU series... but some of Sarah's abilities? I don't mind Sarah being powerful, but sigh, Ms Hooper is pushing the believable a little bit.

Otherwise, The First Prophet was interesting. The storyline was quite spooky and the conspiracy, scary. The fact that no matter where Tucker and Sarah ran and hid, they were found and in matter of hours? To imagine that there is such an organized faction out there after you? Very scary. I admit that the lack of names and therefore, not knowing which faction the people, thoughts and action came from, was a bit annoying, but I understand it was to set the tone and that was a definite success LOL. Also, as a whole, The First Prophet was a lot less gory than what I'm used to with Ms Hooper's books which was a pleasant surprise. As for the characters, Sarah and Tucker were nice and likable. There wasn't much development to their characters and I'd say they weren't really the focus of the book either. It feels like Ms Hooper was setting up for the series and given the plot, that was fine. I have to say that once Sarah started believing in her abilities, once she became more self-assured, that's when I started liking her better and it's also when the story picked up :)

My Grade: C. I came in The First Prophet with some expectations of how the story, the characters were going to be and I couldn't look past them, hence all the comparison to previous books and it definitively affected my enjoyment of the book. Still, I found the whole thing quite interesting and I'm really curious to see where the series will go. So not the ideal opening to the series, but I'm definitively picking up the next book :)


  1. I love a good suspense read, but I have to admit I've never read Kay Hooper. I did get curious when I saw this book and others mentioned online. Since you're a fan, what would you recommend for a start?

  2. Lynn - Hi Lynn :) I find her earlier books were more romantic suspense than mystery, but later on, it kind of straddles the line.

    I highly recommend her FBI SCU series. The first two books, Stealing Shadows and Hiding in the Shadows are introductory books of sort, setting up the idea of the FBI Special Crime Unit. And then, the action really starts with Out of the Shadows. You can start either with Stealing Shadows or jump to Out of the Shadows, but Out of the Shadows is a must :) And then, from then on, I'd read them all LOL.

  3. Thanks! I'll have to give those a try.

  4. Funnily enough, I was just reading the news that Kay Hooper won a $15M settlement from her financial management company... they were messing with her money (lost a lot on investments) and in essence messed with her ability to successfully complete a couple of her books (because she was dealing with them and all the stuff they were doing wrong). Wondering if maybe this book was one of them.

    I've never read her, but I am now seeing her books pop up in quite a number of places. May check her out.

  5. Lynn - No problem, Lynn :) I hope you enjoy the books!

    Mariana - Oh really? I wasn't aware, but I'm glad to hear... and that explains the delay in her books! I thought it was a matter of changing publishing houses.

    For The First Prophet, if I'm not wrong, she wrote this one a long time ago... but back then, she had just started the FBI SCU series. So there were concerns that the two series were too similar. But now, she's linking the two together... Either way, I'm curious to see where it's heading :)

    Hope you enjoy her, Mariana! Some of her books are pretty spooky and gory... makes for some good reads and something different :)

  6. *hugs* hope you feel better, I've started to feel sickly too! I guess being around so many kids every day is bad for my health. LOL

    Anyway, sorry the book wasn't better :(

  7. Nath, I hope you are feeling better? I see that you've caught up with some blogging. :)

    I'm sorry that this book by your favorite Hooper didn't exactly work for you.

  8. Alex - Yeah, kids are like carriers ^_^; Once one of them is sick, it just spread!! I hope you didn't get sick, Alex!

    Well there's always the next book right? :)

    Hilcia - Yeah, finally. Not as much as I want to, but I'm getting there.

    As I told Alex, there's always the next book :)