Thursday, 3 January 2013

Review : Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Summary (from Goodreads)

Title : Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles #1)
Author : Ellen Oh
Publisher : HarperTeen
Publication Date : January 2nd 2013
Goodreads - The Book Depository

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.

 Personal Thoughts

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of high fantasy YA books. It's one of my favorite sub-genres. So, it was pretty much decided even before I read its blurb that I would read Prophecy just because it's a high fantasy. My decision strengthened when I learned that it's a book set in historical Korea. How awesome is that? Unfortunately, I read some advanced reviews of the book, most of which were negative. Still, I went into the book with low expectations.

With Kira being a demon slayer in the King's army, there was no doubt that she was definitely a badass kind of character. She was fearless and ruthless. She wasn't afraid to shed blood and that made her pretty brave in my eyes. Headstrong, Kira was the kind of character who was confident and never bowed down to fear. I also really liked the fact that she had the ability to make the correct choices. Although Kira had many qualities that I admire in my main characters in books, I didn't really enjoy her. That's because I never formed any sort of emotional connection with her. The problem with this book was that the characters were not at all fleshed out. You are told that she is this bold and strong girl, but it wasn't shown clearly. Sure some of her actions did show that she was dauntless, but I still wanted more proof. The secondary characters were no different either. One big problem I had with them was I didn't know who was who. First, there were numerous characters. Secondly, they all had complicated Korean names. All of the names seemed too similar which was why it was hard to recognize the characters. To sum up, I found the characters in Prophecy to be rather disappointing.

The plot of Prophecy started out strongly. The first scene was absolutely riveting and I was completely hooked. The book began with Kira attempting to kill a demon disguised as a human being. It was an absolute thrill, but things went down-hill afterwards. I enjoyed the book until about the 30% mark. The biggest problem with this book was the pacing. Fast-paced books are always exciting to read because they give you a certain adrenaline-rush, but Prophecy's pace was just too fast. Everything moved at such a high speed that it was very tough to appreciate the scenes fully. Although the fast pace didn't bother me at first, as the story progressed it frustrated me too much. I love action-packed scenes and Prophecy had a couple of ones. Unfortunately, the fast pace made it very difficult to get involved in those action scenes. I also attribute the fact that I didn't enjoy the characters as much as I wanted to to the pacing of the book. One of the most important aspect of a fantasy book is it's world-building. I'd even say that a fantasy book without a strong world-building, even with fantastic characters, is not worth reading. Prophecy's world-building left a lot to be desired. With a setting in Korea, it had the potential to be outstanding. Unfortunately, the author wasn't thorough enough and I didn't like background at all. Like I mentioned, plot-wise, Prophecy could have been a highly entertaining read, but the over the top fast pace ruined the entire book.

Many reviewers have mentioned that this book should probably not be marketed as YA even though the protagonist is 17 years old. I have to say that I completely agree. I have a strong feeling that Ellen Oh wrote this book for younger readers. That would most likely explain the lack of depth of the characters, the short length of the book and the lack of details in the world-building. In my opinion (and several other reviewers as I've seen), Prophecy needs to be marketed towards the younger audience. If you enjoy middle-grade novels, then this might be the book for you. My only piece of advice is to go into the book will low expectations.


Cover : 4/5
Plot : 2/5
Characters : 2/5
Writing : 3/5

Big Thanks to HarperTeen for an ARC of Prophecy.

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