Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Publication Date: January 2nd, 2013
Harper Teen
Format: Hardcover, 312 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars


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.

Prophecy is a mediocre fantasy that would be appreciated well by those who are daunted by the other door stopper novels in this genre. Clocking at 312 pages, it had enough of the elements to consider the book as such but sadly not enough to make it a memorable piece of literature.

At the end of the day, it all goes down to the author’s inability to beef up her characters. They’re what you see is what you get and therefore hardly remarkable. This is unfortunate because the synopsis alluded to a very strong female character that had the power to save mankind. In fact, a lot of the hype surrounding this book had to do with her similarities to Katsa, Graceling’s main character. And I’m a fan of Katsa; Cashore developed her in such a way that she’s become one of the strongest female standard, in my opinion. Kira, however, didn’t really live up to it. Oh she can slay demons, I give you that. However, she’s not a very convincing character; she lacks heart and the chutzpah. It all comes down to writing, I suppose. I’m supposed to admire her because she is what she is. But that’s not how I fall in love with characters. It’s a process, you see. I need to see how she came to be; I need to feel how she felt.

I must say that Shin Bo piqued my interest. He’s Kira’s supposed betrothed but was in league with the bad guys. But because Oh didn’t really spend too much time developing her characters, the romantic elements in this book just made for an awkward read. I had so much hopes for these two because I’ve always been a fan of two strong clashing personalities who found it difficult to resist their attractions for one another. There’s also another guy in the picture but in all honesty, he’s not even worth the mention. Again, flatness abounds.

I didn’t sense any urgency with their quest as well. It was as if the characters were following a step-by-step procedure written by the author. As much as I’d like to say her legends and myth were researched well, I can’t. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about Korean ancient world. I can only take her word for it. If I dismissed the fact that this book was based on an interpretation of that world, then I can truthfully say that it was well done.

There’s a wide-spread usage of Korean colloquialism in this novel that may hinder the readers from fully enjoying this book. Even though there was a glossary of terms to help us, it made for a choppy read because I ended up stopping just to find out what the word means.

In the end, I think this is one of those rare instances when I wished the book was longer than it was. It could’ve used a hundred more pages of substance, in my opinion.

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