Word Spelunking


Prophecy - I was excited to learn that Ellen Oh's Prophecy is set in an Ancient Korean setting because I happen to be part Korean, my grandma grew up in Seoul and my mother was born there, and I love Korean culture and history. So a Korean infused fantasy sounded just like my kind of thang...and, for the most part, this book was my kind of thing and I definitely enjoyed. But, I didn't end up loving it the way I hoped I would.Prophecy centers around Kira, a young warrior and Demon Slayer, who is feared and hated by people, and who has been tasked with protecting her young cousin, the prince. When an evil Demon Lord rises to power, Kira, the prince, and a ragtag group of soldiers, monks, and new friends set out for the safety of Kira's uncle's kingdom. And when the monks reveal that the young prince may be the savior talked about in the Dragon King's Prophecy, this group journey to find the lost treasures of the prophecy that could help them defeat the darkness and save the kingdoms. Along the way, Kira must contend with demons, dragons, and imoogi, oh my!Prophecy is an enjoyable and entertaining fantasy, with a likable heroine and excellent world-building, yet I found some parts of it lacking. I found it to be a quick read and easy to fall into, and it certainly held my interest from beginning to end.The Ancient Korean fantasy world Oh has crafted is developed very well. This is an intricate world with great historical, political, and cultural layers. Prophecy's world is obviously only based on ancient Korea and not a strict interpretation, but Oh has clearly done her homework and adds a wonderful and rich sense of authenticity to this fantasy world. And the fantasy aspects, while not overly original, are imaginative and exciting and infused with fascinating mythical elements. I'm a sucker for demons and dragons, and this book has both (plus, the wicked cool Korean imoogi!) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that both were not quite like I expected them to be (but in good ways).The story is a bit predictable and follows a formulaic storyline, but I liked it nonetheless. But the book certainly has its weaknesses. The overall writing isn't bad, but it isn't mesmerizing or unforgettable. The dialogue feels awkward and stilted at times, and I noticed the author uses A LOT of unnecessary exclamation points (!!!). There's less action than I thought there would be, but the fighting that is present is fun and descriptive. As the first book in a series, Prophecy seemed to focus a lot on setting the scene for the entire series and packing in a great deal of need to know info, history, and story building, and I think this left little room for actual action or character development.The characters are likable enough, but not truly memorable. While I don't dislike any of the characters, I don't feel like I got to know any of them enough to really love them or connect with them. Kira definitely has a lot going for her- she's strong, feisty, brave, funny (she has a few laugh-out-loud lines), and smart- but, she didn't blow me a way as a heroine. There's an inkling of a possible love triangle in future books, but, for the most part, the story is romance lite. Prophecy didn't wow me as much as I hoped it would, but it did keep me entertained and I did really like its fantasy world. Its conclusion left me satisfied and wanting more. I think it has the potential to get better and better and I look forward to continuing the series. Definitely a worthwhile read!

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