Prophecy (Prophecy #1)Featured
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.
What left me wanting more: I am a fan of kissing and there wasn't any. However, I think the relationship building that takes place is more realistic without the kissing. There is so much action and it all happens so fast that there didn't seem to be any down time for the characters. I know Kira is on a mission and demon hunting doesn't offer vacation or sick days but I would've enjoyed seeing she and the others have a little break beyond when they were sleeping. There were a few times I got confused about what was happening and where.
The Final Verdict: This is a quick, enjoyable read and the perfect intro into fantasy for those readers who may not normally read this genre.
Much as I wanted to love this, Prophecy is not ideal for those well-versed in the fantasy genre. The comparison to Kristin Cashore's Graceling really does Oh a disservice, as the books differ greatly in tone and composition. Oh's simple writing might better fit younger readers, just transitioning to fantasy. Those readers, too, might be less familiar with fantasy tropes and thus less aware of where the plot was going from page one. Middle grade and reluctant readers can feel comfortable venturing into Oh's work; fantasy can be overwhelming for a novice reader, but Oh's can be ventured into without fear.
Kira sounded like my kind of heroine from the blurb. There are so many books that I have loved that centered on a female with major butt-kicking powers, including Graceling. While Kira does successfully kick and punch and smite a lot of bad guys, she lacks all the idiosyncrasies that combine to create a unique personality. When not killing things, she has no clue what to do with herself. She has no apparent interests aside from fighting, and thinks about nothing but that and her family. She is single-minded to the point of unreality. Worse still, Kira whines constantly, misunderstood by everyone in her kingdom. In theory, I should have her back; I mean, I've been friendless and it's incredibly awful, and being the only woman in the army cannot be easy either. Because of the aforementioned lack of personality, I could not relate to Kira. As with the writing, she read younger, and perhaps better suits a middle grade audience.
Everyone calls her Demon Slayer, and loathes her, thinking her a murderer of humans, unaware that she is actually slaying demons, who secretly wander the kingdom in human guise. Anyone else see the inconsistency there? If the populace doesn't know demons exist, why would they be calling her Demon Slayer? Kira has increased strength, yellow eyes, and a powerful sense of smell to aid in her demon smiting. She mentions that the stench of unwashed people in a public house can give her a powerful headache, yet she wanders through several fetid sewer tunnels throughout the course of the novel without any ill effects. Hopefully these plot holes will be tightened up before publication.
Unfortunately, Kira is not the only static character. Taejo, crown prince of Hansong, has to be one of the most irritating child characters I have ever encountered in fiction. He may only be twelve, but, as a crown prince, he should have at least a rudimentary sense of how to defend himself, which he does not exhibit. He exists solely for yelling, getting kidnapped, and needing to be rescued. Despite his inability to do much of anything, every one is convinced that he will be the Demon Musado of prophecy, meant to slay the evil doer, and that he will be the king to unite everyone. His impulsive decisions merely cause more trouble, but no one seems to notice that, should they not start training him soon, he would be a miserable king, because of his spoiled upbringing. Instead, everyone indulges his temper tantrums and does what he says.
The most promising characters were Kira's two future love interests, romance not being a real factor in this installment. The dearth of romance makes for a nice change of pace from the romance-focused majority of YA currently being published. Though fathoming their attraction to Kira proves a bit tricky, both guys do show more promise, because of the shades of gray in their characters. They show promise, and I hope to see them, as well as everyone else more fully fleshed out as the series continues. As it is, good and evil are starkly demarcated.
In a book with a large solid action/adventure component and a main character who spends much of her time battling, I hoped for better descriptions of the fight scenes. If the action had been better described, the book would have been much more solid. Unfortunately, everything happens too easily. Battles end in about a page and a half. People attack, Kira slices, Taejo gets grabbed, Kira chases and slices, and the battle concludes. This formula plays out time and again. There's no sense of suspense, because of how incredibly gifted Kira is and how little she seems to even be bothered by gruesome wounds. The style tells rather than shows, and does not set up a clear mental picture of the actual fights.
All that aside, were this book made into a kdrama, I would be the first to put that show in my queue. As I was reading, I made a movie in my head of everything that happened, and Prophecy would transition well to film. Seriously, makers of kdrama, untapped potential awaits you.
Veteran fantasy readers should steer clear of Prophecy, likely to be disappointed by the predictable plot. For those of you who have always been intimidated by the length and complicated setups in fantasy but have always wanted to try, Prophecy might be a good first stepping stone.
Kira is, seriously, a bad ass. She doesn't let other people's feelings and opinions affect her much and she knows she can kick their ass if she does get upset. But she doesn't because her main concern is her job of protecting the prince. And she will stop at nothing to do what's best for him. Often this means protecting not just the prince, but people who aren't all that happy that she exists. They aren't happy because why should a girl be the best warrior and be able to see demons? Because she's freaking awesome, that's why. I just really, really loved Kira if you couldn't tell.
I also really liked...the love interest? At least, I liked how Ellen Oh handled the guy who may be the love interest and Kira. Y'all know I love my romance, but this was probably a more realistic look at the two considering the situation. Here's this guy Kira's never met before who's going to join them on the journey. He's really sweet and charming but she doesn't know him or his story and things are going DOWN in her world, so she can't really trust just any guy. Even if there wasn't, people despise her just because of what she can do and her job is to protect the future king, so she can't trust people easily as a basic rule. So there are definitely some feelings, but it's mostly really subtle and not the main focus because...there are other things to worry about.
The main plot was very interesting and twisty. Very little in Prophecy was predictable to me. And it was just a really enthralling, gripping read. I was still in school when I read this and it was getting close to crunch time, but I still read it really fast considering my average pace while in school. And even though this is a fantasy book, there's a good amount of Asian culture in it, which made it really fascinating. I don't know much about Asian culture, but I really loved seeing what was there, especially how important family and loyalty were to many of the characters.
If there's a fault, it probably would've been in the development of the world and characters. As much as I loved Prophecy and was enthralled, this book definitely could have been a lot longer and more detailed and it would've benefited greatly. I would've loved more development of the world and the characters and the relationships that were there.
Overall, though, I really loved this book. Prophecy is full of action and adventure and really fantastic characters and a pretty unique story line once you get into it. And I can't wait to check out the sequel!
What I didn't like about Prophecy was that I was thrown in with a bunch of unfamiliar terminology and places, and politics are not my thing, and it seemed that it took more of a center stage than I expected. I think that is my fault though, because while I like some fantasy, it has to be pulled off a certain way, and it is not flaw to the book when I can't get fully immersed.
There are plenty of action scenes and I also liked the build up with her protecting the prince as well as her sarcastic interactions with Shin. That is what made the beginning, and all of the politics okay for me. I think another thing that kept me from fully diving is is how Kira guarded her heart and that there wasn't any romance. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that a book has to have romance, or that a girl/woman should think that they need a man to be complete, BUT that is just my reading preferences.
Bottom Line: I read for Kira and those scenes. In the end, I think that this was just not exactly what I was expecting, but it was a quality enough book.