Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1) by Ellen Oh

Title: Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles, #1)
Author: Ellen Oh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Pages: 320, Hardcover
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from 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.

With that tagline and summary, I thought Prophecy was going to be awesome and I couldn't wait to read it. Kira reminded me of Katsa in Graceling, which is one of my favorite books. I was also intrigued by the use of Asian folklore and culture, which I thought provided an untapped setting in the YA genre. I had high hopes for Prophecy but sadly, this book let me down.
The problem - this book was an abridged version of what it should have been. Imagine a book that should be upwards of 600 pages but was limited to 300. The entire time I spent reading this I felt like I was on fast-forward. Before I could process one event, the book had already moved on to another.
The action and adventure dominated the writing. In fact, I think Prophecy should win some kind of award for how much activity occured in this book. But it seems Ellen Oh sacrificed understanding for action. There wasn't enough emphasis on the progression of the story, the plot just leap frogged from one event to the next. It wasn't always logical or clear what was happening and why because Ellen Oh didn't write in that explanation. The information that should have given the reader a sense of the world, and characters and tradition was, for all intents and purposes, missing. Since I don't have much familiarity with Asian folklore, I had nothing to rely on to help me understand the beliefs this book built its story upon and I needed that detail to make sense of things and really enjoy the story. Naturally the character development suffered as well. Kira had so much potential! She is a demon-slayer with yellow eyes and the personal gaurd to the prince! She's badass and everyone is afraid of her. She could have been the next Katsa but Ellen Oh didn't give her a fighting chance. The other characters also showed some promise at times but there just wasn't enough focus on their stories to make you fall in love with them.
But gaping holes in information and detail aside, the series has potential if the subsequent books don't fall victim to the same problems. Prophecy had a lot of cool elements of Asian influence that made for an interesting read. Demons hide within the skin of humans and only Kira can sense them. They answer to no one, and as they get stronger and more numerous, they threaten to overtake the world. Kira - in the company of monks, the young boy prince, and a mysterious but handsome young man - must follow the Dragon King prophecy in search of treasures that the Dragon Musado will use to save the world. The odds are against them - the seven kingdoms are in chaos and their enemies are hunting them. This idea is definitely interesting but I needed more of the "other stuff" to love this book. It fell short.


  1. I've heard a lot about this series and I think I need to give it a chance. It is on my TBR pile, which is huge, so we will see.

    When I was reading the summary I automatically thought of Katsa as well, I love Graceling!

    Thanks for your honest review. I am now prepared. ;)

  2. I totally agree with you :) Nice review! Maybe it's my pessimism speaking, but I don't really feel like it'll get better... So I decided not to continue with the series. Too rushed, too boring, and I felt too detached from the story and characters.

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