Author: Ellen Oh
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Dragon King Chronicles
Publication Date: January 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062091093 (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062091093 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Kayla
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 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.
Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.
Quick & Dirty: Korean mythology story mixed with family themes creates a fantastic journey across the continent.
Opening Sentence: People feared Kira.
Kira is the most feared person in all the land. And only by misunderstanding. Others consider her a demon, when in reality she is the one killing demons, keeping the citizens of Hansong safe from demon invasion. But when the King becomes captured while Kira and the Prince are out hunting, it’s up to Kira to protect the Dragon King. Traveling across nations, running from the demon army on their tails, Kira and company have to find the lost ruby before it’s too late. But is the prince the actual Dragon King? Or is it their uncle, the king of the northern part of the peninsula, the self-proclaimed Dragon King, who fought against the demon attack and united the kingdoms? Kira only has a limited amount of time left before the demons retaliate. Should she trust the monks and follow the prophesy?
I expected this to be better. At least the writing could have been more creative. The plot was general and straight forward; there weren’t any loops or side stories to go along with it. This makes the book seem less complex, less developed. It made the characters seem flat and the plot stretches on with boring spots in the middle. BUT there were some parts of the book that were great. I loved the relationships between the characters and how they were developed, especially the family ties. The setting was also fabulous — set in medieval Korea, with mountains, deserts and forests. Oh created a beautiful and well detailed world in this book.
Honestly, the writing was terrible. Well, I wouldn’t say terrible because this was published and anything published can’t be terrible, but seriously, the writing was bland and Kira’s point of view was boring and naive. There is a thing called “show, don’t tell” in the writing world that Oh didn’t often do. “Show, don’t tell” means show the audience details, instead of telling them, like someone hit their head on a door frame, instead of saying they were six feet tall. Techniques like this make writing a whole lot more interesting. Also, Kira’s point of view was very straight forward, which is great if you can make it interesting. This also has to do with “show, don’t tell,” but there is a way to avoid this if it’s through a character’s point of view. Take Legend by Marie Lu, for example. June is also very up-front and to the point like Kira, but unlike Kira, June’s descriptions and narration is exact, like the military. The use of accurate numbers and exact details gives June’s narration a military style, instead of a boring, general (as in vague, not as in a general from the army) narration like Kira. It’s minute details like these that make a story ten times better.
Although the writing was lacking, the plot was action packed and had multiple edge-of-your-seat moments. Although very predictable, the plot created anticipation and was fast-paced (ignoring a couple slow spots in the middle). Overall, I would recommend this easy read to anyone who loves the quest-and-adventure arc. It may be a bit too gory for a younger audience, but with everything that’s on TV it shouldn’t be a problem.
Kira nodded in admiration. Baduk was a very simple game to learn but an incredibly difficult one to master. The object of the game was to take control of as much of the board as possible by capturing or surrounding the opponent’s stones. It took most people a lifetime to get as good as the player before her.
He looked about to be Kwan’s age–nineteen or twenty years at most–with long, dark-brown hair tied loosely at the nape of his neck. Kira studied his narrow face. He had handsome features that bordered on prettiness, with large, deep-set eyes that stared unwaveringly at his opponent. In fact, Kira thought he was prettier than half the court ladies of Hansong. She grinned at the idea of how incensed the noblewomen would be at such a comparison.
Suddenly, she realized that the baduk player was gazing at her. Embarrassed, she looked away and relaxed only when he returned his concentration to the game.
The Dragon King Chronicles:
2. Warrior (2014)
3. King (2015)
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Prophecy. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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