Prophecy by Ellen Oh

ProphecyTitle: Prophecy
Author: Ellen Oh
Series: The Dragon King Chronicles
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: January 2, 2013
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 out of 5)

The summary of Prophecy from Goodreads:

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.

I’m a little torn over this book. The story itself was intriguing and a little different from a lot of things I’ve read. The characters are interesting and the strength and determination behind them was definitely some of the best I’ve read in a while. However, it felt like I was being told all of these things about the characters, instead of being shown them, and that took me out of the novel a little bit.

The Good:

The background to the story involving the Dragon King and how he relates to the present situation in the novel was very well-written. I enjoyed the conflict between the good forces and the demons, and the push for control over the world that created wonderful tension. It was easy to want to fight for Kira. It’s clear she’s got determination and wants to do what is good for her kingdom, even if she doesn’t always agree with the methods.

Kira has been trained as a warrior from birth. Her father treated her no differently than how he treated his sons. She knows how to fight, how to think strategically, and how to protect herself. She also can see demons. One might think this would help her greatly, and it does to an extent, but it also hinders her. The king, her uncle, has made the decision to keep the people of his kingdom in the dark about demons, and so Kira can’t openly fight them without risking the secret. On top of that, her golden yellow eyes set her apart, and people are afraid of her. Their fear isolates her and she must cope with having one of the most important jobs in the kingdom while also dealing with people treating her as though the kingdom would be better with her gone.

While many of the kingdom fear Kira, I was happy to find that she had a close group of people that she could trust. Her brothers, parents, and the prince are her closest allies. As the story progresses, she finds more allies in her journey and I was happy she was open enough to trust others. I liked that, while she was reserved, she knew when to trust and when she needed help.

The intrigue around the Dragon King’s prophecy was definitely a draw for the story. The overall plot of the trilogy is laid out right away. Kira and her group must find the Dragon King’s treasures and use them to defeat the Demon Lord. Despite knowing what will transpire through the next book, I was still drawn in and wanted to know how exactly everything would come to pass.

The Bad:

There’s a few things that hold me back from really loving this book. I felt like a lot of character details were written in a way that told me about them instead of showing them. It was clear, both from words and actions, that Kira was a fighter. However, people like her mother are described as kind, yet there are not really moments where we are shown that she’s kind.

It’s like this with a lot of other characters, and I think the demon aspect of the novel is a part of the reason why. Kira can see demons and she states outright when she sees a demon. As a reader, I knew immediately when someone was evil because Kira saw them and described them as evil. I don’t think I would have minded if it was only the demons who were written this way. However, nearly every character was immediately described as good or bad. There was no room for guessing because Kira described them as good or evil right away. I wasn’t able to decide for myself whether characters were good or bad based on their actions. I had to trust Kira.

The Recommendation:

I’d be hesitant to recommend this to anyone who loved epic fantasy novels because it doesn’t quite live up to those expectations. If you’re trying to get into fantasy or broaden your reading horizons, you might want to try it as an introduction to the genre. It’s not necessarily a bad book, but it just wasn’t spectacular.

Purchasing Links:

Barnes and Noble

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