When I first started writing book reviews, I looked forward to the time when friends of mine would start recommending books for me to read.
Maybe they would want me to read something they loved, or maybe they’d want me to read a book they had wanted to read themselves so they’d know if it would be worth their time. Regardless, it seemed pretty exciting.
However, whenever I’m now given a book to read by somebody else I’m left feeling some variation of “Ah dang, I have so many other books I want to read first.” I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the suggestions, I just own a lot of books I haven’t read yet. I could always stop buying books temporarily, but that’s not really going to happen.
The Disappearing Prophet Anthology was lent to me by my wife’s Grandma, “Gram”. We were visiting one day, and before we could leave the house Gram handed me a book and told me she thought I might find it interesting.
I read a couple of the books on my “to be read” list first, but I finally decided that I’d had Gram’s book for long enough.
After reading it, I can say that The Disappearing Prophet Anthology is pretty much Book of Mormon fan fiction (the book, not the musical).
Surprisingly more books are written about the events in (and not in, but wouldn’t it be cool if they were in) the Book of Mormon than you might think. Quite a few authors have been inspired to write spinoff stories from their study of the Book of Mormon.
The Disappearing Prophet Anthology was written after Chris Eastman had the idea, “What if there were wisemen in the Americas to whom angels appeared, and who made the journey to see baby Jesus?”
Eastman uses the setting provided in the Book of Mormon, takes some of the existing characters, adds some of her own, and writes a new (well, slightly new) story about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Writing a book like this is difficult, because you’re writing to a very limited audience. You’re assuming the reader has a knowledge of the events in the Book of Mormon, which isn’t really a problem if the reader has, in fact, read the Book of Mormon, but it sucks for anybody who hasn’t.
However, for the sake of this review, let’s assume that the reader is familiar with the Book of Mormon. I am, after all, the reader in this case.
Even with my knowledge of the Book of Mormon, I was mostly disappointed by this book because of all the storylines that were introduced but never explored/resolved. Eastman wrote this book because of one question she had, but she ended up creating so many more for me.
As a reader, it’s frustrating to notice how few pages are left in a book, and to realize that there’s not enough time for your questions to be answered. You keep reading, but you already know you’re going to be disappointed with how the book ends.
The only reason I’m giving this book 2 stars, rather than 1, is because it was a decent idea. It was an adventure, and there was potential. It just wasn’t executed that well.