The honor of reviewing this book as my first HoT (Heal Over Time) Book Review is really mine. Vivien Reis has an AMAZING YouTube channel that not only chronicles Vivien’s adventures writing her first novel, but it has some of the best writing advice out there. Her fingerprints are all over my own novel, especially when it comes to editing. When I was writing, I always knew I could rely on her for advice.
What I didn’t expect was that her novel, The Elysian Prophesy, would deal with both chronic illnesses and have healers – perfect!
But first, fair warning: SPOILERS! (duh)
Ben – my spirit animal! Son of a mother diagnosed with schizophrenia, Ben starts to experience an increasing number of symptoms right from the get-go. From visions of strange places to missing time to headaches, Ben experiences anxiety that he’s going to end up like his mom. On a personal level, I really related to Ben. I experienced each of his increasingly worse episodes right along with him. I watched him go from being anxious about ending up like his mom to ending up as a horrible bad guy due to a deal his mom made with a big bad when he was in utero and doctors determined fetus Ben was going to die (hello Supernatural fans, right?)
But back to Ben’s journey. For myself and other people I’ve talked to with severe mental illnesses, the anxiety of getting a severe mental illness can be all-consuming. It definitely was for me after I had my kids and other friends I talked to after they had theirs. The terror of getting post-partum psychosis just took over my mind. I didn’t want to end up like those moms on TV. I so empathized with Ben, it nearly had me in tears.
As a migraineur, it cracked me up that the hospital doctors thought Ben had migraines. I’d love for there to be a magical explanation for my migraines, even was a big evil dude my mom made a deal with. Seriously. But also, (and I know one of the doctors was under the pay of the bad guys) but how common is it for doctors to just hand out a diagnosis and never look further for the real answer? So realistic, Vivien, thank you for representing us!
Myra – is one of Elysia’s healers, an Oracle. Oracles can be many things, healer just happens to be one. I really like that she and the other Oracle healers cannot heal mortal wounds, which is a stickler of mine; I dislike the fantasy trope that healers can heal anything until the plot calls for someone to die. I like that her healing required effort and time and that she listened to her patients. I also like that her healing had a cost and, at one point, she needed a break before healing again.
I can’t wait to see how Abi’s powers develop and if she’s able to rescue her brother from the big bad guy inside of him. And, the romantic inside of me hopes she and Jesse stay together. But most of all, I feel this book has some extremely realistic representation of chronically/mentally ill people and healers that avoid a lot of fantasy healer tropes. I highly recommend it!