Series: The Dragon King Chronicles #1
Published by HarperTeen on January 2, 2013
Genres: high fantasy, young adult
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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.
I was honestly afraid to read this book. It sounded way too much like another book I read and (almost) hated…Kristin Cashore’s Graceling. But that comparison has done so much damage to this book – and so undeserved. Prophecy is NOT Graceling. So please, get that out of your head before you read it. It is very much its own story, full of familial bonds, a strong female lead, and a good amount of tragedy.
Prophecy tells the story of Kira, a golden-eyed warrior sworn to protect the Crown Prince and her younger cousin, Taejo, from all harm – and the rest of the kingdom from attacks by demons. Kira is known as The Demon Slayer, but it is not a name she wears with pride because almost everyone she has given her life to protect hates her. I should also note here that the people of her land aren’t supposed to know about the existence of demons (hooray for government conspiracy and coverup), so it’s a little odd that she’s so widely known by that name. Sadly, this is pretty much the name of the game throughout the entire book. We’re introduced to a lot of characters but I never really got that sense of getting to know ANY of them. There was no true character development, not even with Kira – and the relationships between the characters lacked development as well. I personally would have liked to see more romantic development between Kira and Jaewon but at the same time I admire Ellen for wanting to write something wholesome and appropriate for her three daughters. And by doing so, she also set the book apart in yet another way – which must be hard to do in a genre so saturated by the romance/sex factor.
I believe the saving grace for Prophecy is the Korean mythology it’s built upon. Oh has created a world that is rich and alluring, and the peek into Korean society and customs is quite awesome even if the way she goes about presenting it (more telling, not enough showing) is faulty. The plot is packed full of action and intrigue, it’s just not fleshed out well.
All in all, a solid debut for Ms. Oh (who is one of the most delightful people I’ve ever spoken with). I look forward to seeing what the rest of the story brings. I know that she has been rather disheartened and even bitter about its reception among reviewers but I truly hope that she is able to take a lot of the negative reviews Prophecy has garnered and view them constructively to make the future installments of this series better. 3 stars…because while it failed in a lot of ways, it was still an enjoyable read and I do believe there’s potential there.