Book Review: Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles #1) by Ellen Oh

Book Review: Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles #1) by Ellen OhProphecy by Ellen Oh
Series: The Dragon King Chronicles #1
Published by HarperTeen on January 2, 2013
Genres: high fantasy, young adult
Buy it: AmazonAdd it: 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.

My thoughts:

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.

three-stars

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Hi. My name is Shannon and I like books. And photography. And video games. I use this space to talk about books, review books, and generally participate in badassery.

9 Comments

  1. Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads

    I haven’t read Graceling yet (hopefully I don’t hate it, too!) so I can’t compare it…but I’ve been looking forward to this one! I like the idea of it not being saturated with romance, because I’m a bit sick of books that are supposed to be action-packed ending up being just another romance. I don’t care for too much lovey-dovey stuff in a book >.<
    Can't wait to try this book!
    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted…[PnRC] June is for Zombies: Link your reviews!My Profile

    • Shannon

      Ok, I didn’t really hate Graceling. I just felt let down after reading it. Unfortunately, I listened to all the hype surrounding it when it first came out and it ended up being a blah read for me. I never did finish the series even though I kind of want to in hopes the subsequent books got better.

      You may really like Prophecy – I thought it was a great story, the execution was just a bit lacking. I’ll be interested to hear what you think about it once you read it!

      Oh, and I love me some lovey dovey. Not all the sexual stuff necessarily, but the actual ROMANCE. I live for that. :P

  2. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    Interesting. I hadn’t seen this one compared to Graceling. I haven’t read either of these, though, so I don’t have much of an opinion. But I *have* seen more positive reviews for Graceling and more negative reviews for Prophecy. And now you’re telling me I should switch my already-formed-opinions about these books! Maybe I just need to read them both and see for myself, lol.
    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted…Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaMy Profile

    • Shannon

      I’m surprised you haven’t seen it compared to Graceling – like, REALLY surprised. In fact, the ARCs for this book actually SAID that it was like a mix of Graceling and Eon or something like that.

      I don’t want to tell you to do anything, hahaha! I’m just letting you know how I felt about the two. I don’t remember what I rated Graceling….I think it ended up being 3-stars too because it wasn’t awful, just not for me. You should definitely just read both and decide for yourself! <3

  3. Erin Albert

    Looking forward to the read! Thanks for the review!! :)

    • Shannon

      Thanks for stopping by to read it, Erin! Let me know what you think of it once you get around to reading it. I love hearing other people’s takes on the same books!

      • Erin Albert

        Oooooh, me too!! :) I think it’s lower down on my priority list after your revised review, but I’ll let you know when I get to it! :)

  4. Christine @ Oh, Chrys!

    All I know about Graceling is that it has a sword on the cover, thought it was some Gregory book, but that is Changeling (which also has a damn sword on it). Lol.

    For such an awesome premise, it is sad that the character development was whack. I mean, hello, badass warrior girl (only female in the army) needs to have some pretty convincing characterization going on. I do like that Oh did not make it saturated with romance though. That would really gain points from me considering the genre. For a debut, I think this book sounds good. I might read it for the debut-a-thon coming up!

    • Shannon

      You should! It really was a good read, just had some issues that kept it from being *really* good. I hope the second book, Warrior, is better!

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