King (Prophesy #3)
So, basically, everything is not at its best.
As the prophesized Dragon Musado, Kira must journey to Jindo Island in order to save the future king and defeat the blue dragon. Oh, and she must also take on the demon lord and all his minions. Piece of cake! She has the tidal stone, a jewel that gives her the ability to control water, and the jeweled dagger All that’s left to acquire if the dragon belt, and that’s rumored to be hidden away in the monk’s temple. With all three pieces, she will be able to awaken the dragons of the land, but that could potentially destroy everything rather than aid in her cause. She just has to decide which evil is the lesser and on which she has the courage to follow through.
I believe I read somewhere that KING, and the previous books of the Prophesy Trilogy, is based on bits of actual Chinese folklore, which is beyond cool. Some of the imagery in KING is phenomenal. And Ellen Oh does a great job of getting down to the details of East Asian culture--the idiosyncrasies of their beliefs--and putting an epic fantasy spin on it all. The world of KING is colorful and slathered in words that transport you to another world. Chinese wyrms, magic jewels, kumihos, dokkaebi, and horrific battles that straddle the line of honor and evil make KING an enjoyable read.
Kira is my favorite part of KING. She’s been trained since childhood to be a fighter. Having a bunch of older brothers, she had to prove herself. She’s tough and knows how to survive. Kira might not be the easiest person to like, since she’s often all business and little humor, but that’s what I liked about her. She’s relatable, but not in the usual teen way. After you strip away the swords, the bow and arrow, the tiger’s eyes, and the other gear she wears as the Dragon Musado, there is a simple, incredibly self-conscious teen girl. She’s not sure why Jaewon finds her attractive or why she’s been deemed special enough to carry the burden of the Dragon Musado. She questions everything, including (and most importantly) herself.
The romance between Jaewon and Kira is very sweet and subtle. If you want something hot and steamy, this is not your book. The focus is on the adventure and Kira’s journey, but part of that journey is her journey into being a young woman. Jaewon suits Kira. He might have a troubled past, but he’s one of the very few people in Kira’s life who sees the person she is inside. But he doesn’t try to hard to see the real Kira, he just does. And that makes their romance very sweet. They are an equal match.
The only part of KING that left me sort of wanting a bit more was some of the writing style. When it comes to fantasy novels, especially the epic kind, I like to be completely immersed in the story. At times, I felt like I was being spoke to rather than being allowed to experience the world through Kira or Jaewon. Many of the details of the setting were beautiful and I could see them. Other times, I felt cheated as though the author took a quick break and just told me how things were. This is personal preference, of course, and readers who don’t get swept away with the vast descriptions typical of fantasy novels might not find a problem with KING, or the rest of the Prophesy Trilogy.
Also, I wanted to point out this is a GREAT series of books for reader who like to binge out. The Prophesy Trilogy delivers in a wham, bam, binge it man style. If you wait to long between books, you will be lost like the passengers of flight 815. There is no backtracking, no recap. Ellen Oh plows ahead in seamless fashions. So, prepare yourself. Fluff the pillows, fill the camelpack, and grab some munchies. Once you dig in, there is no coming up for air.
In the end, KING is a moving journey to the heart of what gives us strength and honor. Prepare to be swept away with intoxicating Chinese folklore and fights to the very death. The characters are captivating and, in the end, you will want to raise your sword in support of the Dragon Musado as she fights to keep her world safe.