ARC Book Review: Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Posted November 30, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

ARC Book Review: Prophecy by Ellen OhProphecy by Ellen Oh
Series: The Dragon King Chronicles #1
Published by HarperTeen on January 2nd, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 312
Format: ARC
Source: Won

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.

1 Stars

Ellen Oh was highly ambitious with Prophecy. While the concept and setting were highly attractive and creative, at the end of the day all I can think is, “I want more.”

And for a change, I don’t mean a sequel. I want more of this book. I feel like where Prophecy ultimately will lose in popularity and readers is the length. Three hundred pages is not a lot, especially when you’re attempting a high fantasy genre. The story just felt like it was rushing through a lot, like it was trying to tell it in as few words as possible. And what was missing are those beautiful scenery passages, overflowing with imagery that tend to absorb you into the story. I mean, when I think fantasy, the first thing in my mind is The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien easily spent 50 or so pages describing setting, especially during those long treks where the characters were just walking along for a month. Ellen Oh almost seems like she’s trying to revolutionize the fantasy genre by cutting out those sections. Instead of it, we get “they walked for ten days, then arrived at their next destination.”

Admittedly, if you’re not a typical fantasy fan and want an action-driven story with fantasy elements, you may enjoy this one very much. I know enough people who dislike long, descriptive passages typical of fantasies. And the concept in and of itself is really cool. Demon slaying. Asian elements (well-researched and realistic). I love it!

Another point I have to note, however, is the main character, Kira. She is definitely bad-ass, and an extremely strong female character. It seems like Ellen Oh was trying to raise the bar on strong female characters. But with the fast pacing, I did sometimes lose the connection I had to her. And I must mention, in comparison to Kira sometimes the other characters just seem like useless rag dolls. While the story is told in third person, it is really limited to Kira’s perception only. This is a bit jarring during fight scenes, where I found myself wondering if the other characters were even fighting at all, or just standing around.

Summing Up:

Despite the useless secondary characters, lack of imagery, and unsurprising plot twists, Prophecy kept me reading. The story did engage me and made me crave the knowledge that it all turns out okay in the end. However, my piece of advice to Ellen is “Show. Don’t tell.” If this book gets a lot of hype, I fear a lot of people will be disappointed.

I would advise hardcore fantasy fans to stay away. But if you’re looking for a nice quick, action-driven read, this may be worth checking out. I never thought I would dislike a story because it’s too fast-paced, but here it felt really rushed, and as a high fantasy fan, I’ll be bowing out of this series now.

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