Pub 1-2013, Harper Teen
There has been a surge of young adult fantasy novels coming down the pipeline in the last few years: Graceling, Cinder, The Mortal Instruments series (to name only a few stories with supernatural elements). First-time author Ellen Oh’s Prophecy is one of these: an original, supernatural, heart-stopping battle between good and evil. However, originality is one of the few things Prophecy has going for it.
Inspired by ancient Asian history, Prophecy tells the story of Kira, a girl with extraordinary demon-slaying talents. Due to her skills and her unusual yellow eyes, she’s an outcast. When the country is attacked by demons, and an ancient prophecy comes to light, Kira sets to the road with Prince Taejo and other individuals on a quest to save their country. However, it turns out that the prophecy may not mean what they think, and when the characters discover its true meaning, it won’t just change Kira, but also the way the entire country views her.
Most fantasy novels contain elements from old European legends–not Asian– and the way Oh employed several different fantastical creatures (including demons and dragons) kept the fantasy elements fresh and interesting. Unfortunately, the story’s originality wasn’t enough to make it great. I felt that several things were lacking, namely the book’s pace. Overall, it went much too fast, and by “fast”, I mean that things happened before I could really register how or why. Two characters died towards the beginning of the novel, and a big deal was made out of their deaths, but they died before the reader has a chance to get to know them. Also, not a lot of reason was given for some of the events in the novel. Honestly, I was confused for much of the story.
Several of the characters (and their relationships) also perplexed me. Kira’s relationship with Jaewon felt rushed. It didn’t feel believable. And as I mentioned before, when some, supposedly unlikable, characters died, they were painted as saints after they were gone. That didn’t sit well with me, either. I felt like the novel lacked consistency.
All in all, Prophecy is a novel that had great potential, but didn’t quite fulfill it. Original though it is, its pacing and characters definitely hurt it overall. Given that this is Oh’s first book, I’m sure that she’s still trying to figure out her writing style, and from what I’ve read, this is the first novel in a trilogy. Maybe the following books will prove to be great. Otherwise, I can’t say I’ll stick around.
- Rachel P., 17