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Book Review - 'Chasing Prophecy' by James Moser

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Chasing Prophecy

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CHASING PROPHECY is the title of James Moser's debut young adult novel. It's complex in the sense that it can be broken down into so many different meanings. It is a true representation of the myriad of themes running throughout the book. Religion. Mythology. Criminology. It's fun to explore all of the different possibilities that the author may have had in mind combining these two words.

On the one hand, Prophecy is a person, the lead female character. It's the name a religious cult bestowed upon her. The commune offered her and her mother protection from the violent tendencies of her father. They agreed to go along with what the leaders dictated simply because they had nowhere else to go. However, she prefers Kazzy because it's what people have been calling her all her life. She's reluctant to go along with the whole deal because she didn't exactly sign up willingly.

Interestingly enough, she was given the name of Prophecy because she was deemed to be a prophet, able to predict the end of the world. The ringleader of the cult thought that God would reach out and tell her when Doomsday was near. Really, what she was able to predict was the end of the commune.

Things take an illegal spin when the cult starts hauling meth and her mom is put in charge of cooking the books to launder the dirty money. Prophecy is placed in a precarious situation because she knows how to crack the code of the ledgers her mom's keeping. They're the only two people who can bring the whole operation down, and when the Feds get involved, they put their lives on the line to work with law enforcement.

But over the course of the investigation, Prophecy gets scared, and she runs. It's not hard to imagine why. Everyone's chasing her, wanting a piece of her. The cult wants her silence. The government wants her cooperation. Her mom wants her safety. It's a lot of pressure for a young girl to handle. It's only when she stops and faces her demons that she's able to find some sense of peace.

At heart, Prophecy is a seeker, a puzzle solver determined to get to the bottom of things. She, herself, chases the prophecy of the Bigfoot legend. It's the one fear she's determined to conquer. For a school assignment, she tramps through the woods in search of one of the world's most elusive inhabitants. She thinks that if she can find him, she might be able to gain some semblance of control over her life. She's not in the hunt for the glory or the accolades by proving he exists. She just wants to know that Bigfoot is real because she believes in him with all her heart.

So many prophecies in her life have turned out to be false. The ideal of community. The illusion of security. The notion of predictability. Her whole world is turned upside down, but she's still standing, trying to conquer her fears. The pain of disillusionment is only matched by her capacity to love. She doesn't give up. She doesn't give in. In the end, she gets knocked off her feet a few times, but she's still ready to take on the next fearsome creature who gets in her way, human or not.

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