Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review: Prophecy

by Ellen Oh
312 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 2nd 2013
Source: Library
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Kira's the only female in the king's army, and she's also 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's prophecy, but the legendary lost ruby treasure just might be the true key to victory. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

I have a weird relationship with the fantasy book genre. On one hand, The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book series of all time and I read it every year, but on the other hand I seem to always have trouble connecting with other fantasy novels. That being said, I definitely had some issues connecting with Prophecy.

Kira is famous, but not in a way that anyone would want. Everyone in the kingdom despises her and looks upon her with fear and dread. This is partly due to her unnatural golden eyes, and partly because people view her as a killer. But when the kingdom gets taken over by a tyrant, Kira must follow an ancient prophecy, and save the world.

Prophecy wasn't a bad book, so much as I felt that it was seriously underdeveloped. The whole story from the plot to the world building and characters felt extremely one dimensional. Characters were given one or two defining features and that was it. The setting was equally nondescript and I just couldn't seem to conjure up a picture of it in my mind. I wanted more depth! I think most of the reason for the lack of development is because Prophecy is the first in a trilogy, so of course the story, setting, and characters will be expounded upon in future installments, but unfortunately that hindered the quality of the story. On top of that, I feel like the foundation of the series should be set in the first novel. I need to be able to understand and sympathize with the world and the characters from the get go in order to really care about what happens to them as the story progresses.

Kira was your basic misunderstood "tough chick." She kills demons, which unfortunately means that she's also killing the vessel of a demon. So if the neighborhood fish salesman gets possessed, both he and the demon have got to go. Yep, the fish salesmen (and any other citizens who happen to get possessed) is a necessary casualty. This aspect of the story really bugged me. You see, Kira's uncle happened to be the King of the kingdom and he had a rule that the demon possessions could never be made known to the public. This meant that every time Kira killed a demon and its vessel, the populous was left to either think that the citizen randomly "disappeared" or they could believe the rumors that Kira was a murderer. Talk about annoying and ridiculous. NO WONDER PEOPLE FEARED KIRA! And talk about throwing your niece under the bus. What a great king/ruler you are! #Sarcasm *shakes head*

Those were the two main problems I had with Prophecy. Other than that it was pretty much your average fantasy fare. Characters fighting against evil, ancient prophecies coming true, traveling to the land of the gods, all that stuff. Honestly, it reminded me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but without the awesome bending skills and cute hybrid animals. It almost made me wish that Prophecy was a cartoon TV show because that might have helped me to become more engrossed in the story and the world.

One thing that I will say I really appreciated was the fact that Prophecy was set in ancient Korea so all of the characters were Asian which is always awesome. Then again, I would have liked it to be more obvious that the setting was ancient Korea. I only knew because I had done prior research about this book series, but I feel like other people who read it for the first time and know nothing about the author may not pick up on it, especially since the only real clues are a few inclusions of Korean terms and phrases that I didn't even realize were Korean until I got to the end and saw the Korean Glossary section. Whoops. >.<

Overall, Prophecy was an okay fantasy read. Everything from the world to the characters could have had much more development in my opinion, and I was really annoyed by how Kira's character was treated, but it was entertaining enough. If you're a fan of the fantasy genre, and want to support Asian authors I'd give it a read!

Julia :)


  1. Okay, so this is a bummer because I remember reading the blurb for this and thinking it would be pretty awesome. But your complaints are all legit and ones that would bother me, too. I much prefer to have a base set out in book one, and then some of the finer details of world building can come later. But if you don't have that good base, it leaves me feeling a bit unattached. And I agree about the aspect involving the demon possessions... kind of silly. Ah well, I am always on the lookout for Asian inspired settings, so that's good. Excellent, honest review, Julia!!

    1. Yeah the world building was definitely the biggest drawback for me. However, I know a lot of other people who LOVED it. I think if you really enjoy fantasy you'd be more likely to enjoy it. Thanks for commenting Aylee! :)

  2. I had thought about picking this one up but had some reservations. The story line seemed a bit confusing and like you, I tend to have issues with fantasy novels. World building is crucial in these types of books. I literally have to be able to picture everything in my head or I'll be confused and get frustrated because I can't. I have a hard time following along with the story if I can figure out where on earth these characters are. I understand your frustration! Another thing, you mentioned that it being a trilogy so more world building and characterization will probably take place in the other books. I could not agree with you more in that authors, while this is understandable, need to do it more in the first book than anything. Thank you for the honest review! I'll probably end up passing on this one.

    1. Yeah if you aren't really into the fantasy genre I would probably skip it. I know a lot of people loved Prophecy, but most of them are people who tend to read a lot of fantasy so I think that was why they enjoyed it so much. Different strokes for different folks! Thanks for commenting. :D


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