Series: The Dragon King Chronicles #1
Published by: HarperTeen on January 2, 2013
Source: ARC From Publisher
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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.
Propecy, Prophecy, Prophecy. How do I review you? As for my rating, I was constantly juggling between 2 stars, 3 stars, then 2.5 stars.. I thought I had settled on 2.5, but then after I wrote my review, I decided to change it to 2. I just think 2 stars better reflects my review and overall feelings.
I think Prophecy fell into my hands at a very inconvenient time. Suddenly, I just wasn’t in the mood for a high fantasy book. In the two weeks before I started this book, I had been reading a lot of new adult contemporary romances. Maybe I was just out of my high fantasy zone… Whatever it was, I just couldn’t connect with Prophecy.
For someone who wasn’t in the mood for high fantasy, Prophecy was very intimidating. I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of historical Korean information, locations on the map (I kept having to reference it over and over again), and the names of characters. Note to self: Shin Bo Hyun and Lord Shin are two different people. Overall, it was just a little hectic!
The pacing in Prophecy was a little odd. The chapters were super short, which resulted in quick, brief, vague scenes. There wasn’t that much detail and I think the short scenes made the book a little choppy. We were constantly jumping from one place to another, so I had a hard time getting fully immersed. Sometimes days or even weeks passed by in only a few sentences. But I’m not even sure about that, because it was just very unclear how much time was going by! By the end of the book, I literally felt like the whole story was one very long day. But in reality, I’m pretty sure it was over the span of at least one month.
The romance in Prophecy kind of confused me. The story starts out with Kira being told that she has to marry a certain guy (basically an arranged marriage). She hates the idea and has no interest in getting married. Then later on, she gets meets a new guy: Jaewon. When Jaewon was introduced, I imagined Kira slowly falling in love with him and then ending up with him instead of with her betrothed. But Kira’s relationship with Jaewon didn’t develop at all. Jaewon was oddly obsessed with Kira (see quote below), but their relationship never veered out of the friend zone. I was left confused by it. Is it supposed to be the beginning of a possible-future-romantic-relationship? Or are they actually just friends? I can’t even tell.
“I will always do whatever you ask.” Jaewon, Page 192, ARC of Prophecy
Woah, where is this unyielding dedication coming from, Jaewon??
(He said this like 3 conversations after they first met)
So it’s safe to report that there is zero romance in Prophecy. Some people might find the lack of romance refreshing, but I love having romance in all books I read so I was a bit disappointed.
Prophecy wasn’t a bad book, so I’m sure there will be some people out there who love it, but it just wasn’t for me. I felt distanced from the characters and the story. I like books that are leaking with emotion; those are the ones that really suck me in, latch onto me, and shake me to my core. While reading Prophecy I constantly felt distanced. There wasn’t enough emotion to pull me in, so I didn’t get very attached to the characters or invested in the story.
One thing I applaud Ellen Oh for is for being realistic. She didn’t write Prophecy as a fairy tale. People die. Families get torn apart. Prophecy is about war and Ellen Oh isn’t afraid to write about the harsh realities of it. In many fantasy books, family members and friends of the main character seem to magically survive the toughest situations. Not in Prophecy! She was killing people off from page one (almost :P).
In a way that’s disappointing, because all the deaths in the book could have been a great platform for a heartbreaking story of revenge, honour, and heroism, but the author didn’t really take advantage of that. The intensity and emotion was lacking. I didn’t care when the people died. I wasn’t distraught at the way people treated Kira with hostility. I was simply indifferent.
There are some interesting ideas in Prophecy. The lore and mythology are pretty cool. My favourite part of the book was the questing and the introduction of fantastical/mythological beings. But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t connect. It wasn’t for me. Something another reviewer said really resonates with me:
It wasn’t that I disliked this, or that there was poor writing, it just never won me over. Andi Ruggles (Rywn)
But if you’re really into high fantasy stories—especially in a Korean setting—then I would still encourage you to give it a try!