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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Son of the Doomsday Prophet by Steven Byers follows Jayfeth, born in his father Noah's five-hundredth year, who records the events leading to the construction of the ark as God's judgment looms. His family faces ridicule and escalating tensions with the Canaanites. After a visit to Nephil, their campsite is destroyed by fire, devastating Noah. Jayfeth grapples with his purpose, visions, and the presence of the Others (Watchers). Concerned for his family's safety and Noah's apocalyptic message, Jayfeth faces unsettling events, including an encounter with Minnah, who deceives him. He escapes captivity but discovers a dammed river, causing destruction. Reuniting with an old acquaintance, Jayfeth salvages lumber, continues the ark construction, and navigates issues with his brother, Ham. Meanwhile, the malevolent "Sons of the Gods" group emerges. Jayfeth sets out to rescue Re-Aylah, facing betrayal, deception, and trials. After finally reaching the ark's camp, Jayfeth must journey once more to Enoch-Nod and into a city of debauchery, violence, madness, and the Tower of the Watch to rescue his father Noah, who is now a prisoner.
Son of the Doomsday Prophet by Steven Byers is an exceptionally well-plotted and fresh take on one of the oldest and most well-known stories known to man: Noah, the Ark, and the Flood in Genesis. Instead of following Noah, Byers instead provides the point of view of his son, Jayfeth, in a twist that allows readers to feel the intimacy of an individual who is directly linked and at the coalface. Let's not forget that only Noah and his immediate family are permitted on the ark, which means Jayfeth is in that tiny microcosm. Byers carves out the ark's construction in the race to build it before the flood and fleshes out a short but significant story into an epic fantasy, and it is really, really good. One of the things I most appreciated is that Byers does not simply use Jayfeth as a conduit to tell Noah's story. This is Jayfeth's story. This is Jayfeth's own ark of love, faith, trust, courage, and resilience. And Byers sure does give him a gauntlet to get through. The world-building is spectacular, from the Jade Forest, a colossal causeway, and navigating a swamp to gold mines, underwater worlds, and cities that both glitter and gut. I have read my fair share of Christian fiction, but this is one of the few times I finished hoping there would be more, and soon. Very highly recommended.