Book Review: Prophecy by Ellen Oh (The Dragon King Chronicles #1)

10129062Prophecy
Author: Ellen Oh
Series: The Dragon King Chronicles #1
Release Date: January 23, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms… is a girl with yellow eyes.
Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope…Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

While I enjoyed reading Prophecy, I can’t say it was really a stand-out fantasy, other than the beautiful Korean-based setting and amalgam of action and plot. Prophecy starts off fast and deadly, continuing on with this atmosphere until the very last page. While reading, it is exhilarating and breathtaking. The action is continuous and there is honestly never a dull moment in the book. However, I found that I liked the characters on a very superficial level and couldn’t really connect to them. I would have loved to have seen a more in-depth exploration on any of the secondary characters, rather than the couple of paragraphs and pages they had. Either way, Prophecy was still a really fun ride for fantasy readers looking for a unique world and isn’t afraid of the “Chosen One” trope.

You can tell from the very beginning that Kira, the main character, is a special snowflake. She’s a demon slayer and has mysterious powers that allow her to identify the demons in the kingdom she lives in, making her the only female warrior and feared (as well as reviled) by the citizens. However, she keeps her feelings hidden as she works towards protecting the young prince, her cousin Taejo. Kira is extremely skilled at fighting and casting demons back to the underworld, making her dangerous and feared. These skills come to test when the throne of Hansong is usurped by a traitor in the court and the Yamato, another kingdom, start heading towards domination of the Seven Kingdoms, with the help of demons.

“‘You’re a warrior. And nothing is impossible unless you believe it is so.’”

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There’s certainly nothing lacking in plot in Prophecy. The history and connections of the Seven Kingdoms is well developed, the action never-ending, and the characters are constantly on the go. However, I do think that there could have been much more in regards to the development of both the world and characters. The marked focus on plot sacrificed an exploration of Kira and her motivations, as well as many of the secondary characters, such as Jaewon, a mysterious boy the group meets in their travels, and Kira’s brothers, who are supportive and a pillar of support to Kira, but other than that do not have much personality. I also think that as awesome as the world is the Oh builds, it would have been awesome to see more descriptions about how Hansong differed, for example, from Jinhan, and what exactly Kira’s powers consisted of. These things were left quite vague, which left me a bit dissatisfied (although the fast plot took the sting of it).

I really liked Kira’s loyalty and love towards her parents, even though they weren’t very present in the story. She’s definitely a loyal character, as she constantly protects Prince Taejo while Hansong fell to the Yamato. I also really wanted to like Jaewon, but his character really took a backseat to all the action going on. I did, however, enjoy how he brings out the teasing and more joyful side of Kira (there are definitely instances of cute banter), but if only his character was more developed! We hear a little of his past, but for now he’s kind of a very morose, quiet, and supportive character more than anything. With that being said, there is very little of romance (if any) in this book, which is actually pretty awesome. Kira has smidgens of feelings or attraction coming out, but nothing really intense or emotional. This is fitting, given the short amount of time the book takes for characterization in general.

“‘But I say that we control destiny by our every action. Our power lies in the choices we make.’ Her father placed his warm hand on her cheek. ‘In the choices you make. Remember, stay true to yourself and do what your heart tells you is right, and not what is easy.’”

While the story was mostly on the predictable side of things, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. Kira is definitely kickass and had a great personality. She is not a simpering warrior – she takes up to her actions and is proactive about kicking butt. There is definitely a special snowflake feel to her, even as she sets herself apart from the other court ladies, but it really isn’t a focus in the book. Instead, there is a heavy lean towards the action and politics, making it a fairly quick read. I definitely am continuing with the rest of the series though, as even though the first book wraps things neatly, there is more to come in Kira and Taejo’s adventures. I’m hoping to see a much more fledged-out description of the abilities Kira has, and additional character developments that could let me connect to them more. Other than that, readers looking for a super quick, fantasy read should definitely check this one out! Kira is definitely a heroine you’ll be rooting for, and the Korean-inspired world has gorgeous additions like colorful hanbok and delicious food that will light up the pages.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-3star

I read this book as a part of May’s #AsianLitBingo, founded by Shenwei @ Reading As I Am. You can join in, and find the masterpost here!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Prophecy by Ellen Oh (The Dragon King Chronicles #1)

  1. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    Oooooh, I have to say, this book sounds really interesting! Come to think of it, I’ve only read one book that had a bit of Korean folklore in it (I think?) but that’s it! Maybe I should give this a go? That’s a shame about the characters, but hopefully they’ll get more development in the second book!
    Great review Aila, and thank you for reviewing this. ❤

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