Prophecy Ellen Oh Book Review

Maybe I am an odd duck, but I actually quite liked Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I realize a lot of my blogger friends and people I subscribe to where just not that into Prophecy, but for me personally, I went into the book not expecting the second coming and thus wasn’t tainted by expecting Graceling 2.0 or Eon: The Spinoff. Without any sort of comparisons to the fantasy heavyweights, I think the book rests on it’s own merits. Like, it’s unfortunate that those comparisons were made in the first place, because no, Prophecy is not as good as Graceling or Eon but it’s a competently written story with characters I actually found interesting and likeable, unlike the characters in Falling Kingdoms.

Prophecy Ellen Oh Book Cover

Kira has kind of a bad reputation. She is cousin to the young prince, which should mean that she is at the top of the social structure. HOWEVER, Kira has these yellow eyes and when she was very young she saw a demon attacking her cousin and so she killed it, but they kept the whole demon thing hushed up and so all these people think that Kira is a monster herself or a demon, instead of a hero. Anyways, Prophecy starts with a real bang, as there’s this like big huge battle which results in Kira and her cousin, Taejo searching for these relics which will help fulfill the prophecy of the Dragon Musado, a person who can help overcome the demons which are like rawr let us inhabit bodies and be awful and do bad things rawr. I KNOW, best description ever. Anyways, there’s a dog named Jingo who I became attached to, and hints at a potential romance which doesn’t exactly culminate into a relationship or anything.

Kira is a legit badass. Like, she’s a girl and she knows it’s an uphill battle to get the dudes to respect her because they are all oh how can a woman be strong. She’s like, bitch I have yellow eyes let me lay that BOOM BOOM on you, and then she does and to me all her reverse side kicks were awesome. Maybe I just have really low standards or something, but I LIKED Kira, I would give her a friendship bracelet or a boondoggle because she’s loyal and awesome and the whole story isn’t omg I really want to kiss him instead of saving the kingdom. Hell no, she focuses on the task at hand. ALTHOUGH, I will say I was super annoyed by her cousin Taejo who is really an annoying little kid for most of the book and like searches for trouble instead of staying put and staying safe like he’s told.

I think that I would have liked this world of Seven Kingdoms way more if Prophecy was longer. Like, I never felt like we got a super huge in depth look at the world. Sure the map is cool, and the fact that there are factions are cool. But I kept getting confused over the Yamato warriors and why they were total douches. Also, in the beginning characters called Untouchables are mentioned and then never returned to again. PLUS! There are monks you guys. Monks! Which I like reading about, weirdly enough. And we don’t get a huge glimpse at the religion and belief system. I also would have liked more exploration of the demons — like why are they so intent on coming back over and over if they are just going to get killed. Or maybe I am just really oblivious and missed it while reading – which is not exactly an unknown thing for me to do.

Ellen Oh’s writing style is very straight forward. There aren’t exactly wells of hidden depths. I think that she has a lot of potential though — especially this bit with the eight maidens. I never wanted to leave that section because it was filled with mythology and strong ladies and was actually fascinating and I thought well written. Like, I guess my one complaint is that maybe Prophecy is an uneven read. There’s a lot of in depth descriptions of the fights and action, which maybe I am a weirdo, but my eyes tend to glaze over during that sort of thing. But, when we get past the fight and into the actual prophecy and the character development, I was glued to the page.

Being 100% honest with you, I’m nervous people will judge me because I liked Prophecy, but that’s the thing you have to be you and if that means liking a book that not everyone else was into, so be it. To me, I thought Prophecy was peppered with interesting characters and I will always cheer for a strong female lead character who is loyal with no holds barred. I like reading Asian inspired fantasy, and while this may not be the best of it’s genre, I thought it was a very pleasant way to pass time and kept me quite entertained and held my interest. I will definitely be back for the sequel.

Disclosure: Received for review

Other reviews of Prophecy by Ellen Oh:

Icey Books – “Filled with action and a (tad-confusing) prophecy

Annette’s Book Spot – “I enjoyed the book while I was reading, but it didn’t blow me away

Book Brats – “Prophecy features little, to no romance, and plenty of action

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I haven’t read many reviews of this, and have forgotten what I’ve read, so I have no idea why people would judge you for liking this (I’m off to Goodreads to see what sort of rating it’s getting), people must be caning it.

    It sounds good to me, I like Kira based on your description of her being strong and tough, go girl!

    • Yeah a lot of people are caning it, which is just fine people are entitled to dislike and like things lol I just get nervous that people will think I have shit for taste ha ha.

      I thought Kira was an interesting main character, just the kind of girl I enjoy reading about.

      • If I judged anyone’s taste on one book alone, I’d find it hard to follow any blogs! I mean, my least favorite read of 2012 is on just about everyone else’s top ten list for last year, so…. Anyway, I love your reviews, even if we don’t share the same opinion on a given book (though we often do).

  2. I’m SO GLAD you liked this… It’s one of my most anticipated right now. I love me some fantasy and while I don’t need it to be “Graceling 2.0,” I was growing concerned that it wasn’t going to be worth my anticipation at all.

    • Well, I liked it but it wasn’t the best book ever but I still thought it was decent, ya know. Like, just don’t go in expecting the greatest book you’ll ever read and you will be fine.

  3. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would! I saw the similarities to Graceling but it’s definitely not identical and I liked that about it. I also agreed about the depth of the book – it wasn’t something with huge deep meanings and lyrical writing, but it didn’t have to be. I liked that it was to the point and with something that I’m not accustomed to with all of the various Asian themes and cultures, I think the story came across really well and the fact that it was a bit simpler made it easy for anyone to read.
    As far as romance goes, I LOVED that it wasn’t forced and it seems like we got to know the characters and now that we’re invested, we can root for a romance in the books to come.
    I would recommend it, although I can see how people ended up being disappointed.

    • I am so glad I am not alone in really digging Prophecy. Yeah, I get the similarities — she’s the king’s niece and the king doesn’t like her. Closeness with cousin, etc. But like you said, there’s differences too. I won’t lie, I like deep meanings and lyrical writing, but sometimes I also love beach reads and this was kind of the fantasy version of a beach read.

      YES, slow develop relationships for the win.

      Ditto your last sentence. Total ditto.

  4. I’m about halfway through Bitterblue and I am on a Fantasy kick, so I’m debating giving this one a try. I think, having read your review, I’ll like it better than I would have without reading the review though. (I think I’d have gone into it expecting something along the lines of Graceling, and that’s always setting me up for disappointment!)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    • Bitterblue!! I liked that book but it definitely was not my favorite of the trilogy.

      I’m glad my review has helped you to adjust your expectations. It’s the worst going into a book with all of these hopes and dreams for it and then the book fails to meet them, so yay for not being set up for disappointment anymore. <3

  5. Seriously, April, I love your reviews! They are so funny, but also you give us all the info we need to know about books. Woot, woot!

  6. You make me laugh. I love your comments. As for liking Prophecy, no one should ever judge you. It sounds really entertaining. Great review!

  7. April, I love that you blew up the cover pic so big here because how awesome is that smoke dragon?! A detail I’ve never noticed before, really enhances the cover for me. I’m glad that going in without high expectations let you enjoy this one. I’ll probably skip it because there’s too many books out there that ARE as good as Graceling that I still need to read.

  8. Welp, seeing as I haven’t read Graceling or Eon yet, I don’t have any preconceived notions or expectations about Prophecy, so that’s a plus. Based on the synapsis and your review alone, this book seems to have quite a bit of potential in the fantasy arena. It sucks that it got confusing in parts and that there wasn’t as much world-building as there probably should have been, but for a debut, I think it sounds interesting. Give me a kick-ass female protagonist not led astray by love anyday!

    As a purveyor of all things “awesomely bad,” I say don’t let judgey people bother you. So long as you were able to find some enjoyment out of it, fuck what everyone else thinks. Rock on, lady friend! 🙂

  9. I enjoyed this book too. And I’ve read many other reviewers who also did. I did have problems, though, as you mentioned, the kingdoms were so complex and the names confused me — I couldn’t keep every place and person straight. But there are interesting characters and the book was exciting. I certainly hope people aren’t too judgmental about others because of the books they like or don’t like! Otherwise, I agree with what Nikki said above…

  10. Taejo is the worst. Ever.

    I’m glad you liked this more than I did. I would never wish such a negative experience on someone. I expect really solid writing from my high fantasy novels, so the simple style really did not work for me. I mean, high fantasy, to me (maybe not to everyone), is really high concept and execution. In a paranormal, I might have been like “meh, whatever” about the writing rather than frustrated, you know? It would never be my favorite, but in my mind it doesn’t fit.

    Also, I read for characterization as like my main thing, and while I totally approve of Kira being this BADASS chick, which she totally is, no doubt, I want more from her. I was glad she focused on the task rather than boys, but girl needs more interests and more backbone. She has so much power, but everyone walks all over her. I mean, there’s a lot of cultural stuff in there to explain that behavior (same goes for the dude who supports his evil dad), but it’s not shown, you know? If I didn’t watch a ton of Asian tv, I wouldn’t have known why they were all so submissive to their elders.

    Anyway, I know I totally just whined about my issues, BUT I do not judge you. You have to be you, and I totally support that. I am sure there are books I’ve fangirl flailed all over where you’re all like “really, hon, that book?” and that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. Also, tbh, the reason I warn people about books beforehand, which might be annoying, is to help alter their expectations, because I think that can have a huge impact on the experience. I went into it expecting a YA fantasy on the higher end of the age spectrum, and it just didn’t work. So, yeah, I’m not trying to like make you hate things, but the opposite, even if it doesn’t come across that way. Does that make sense?

  11. I’m one of those who was disappointed with Prophecy, but hey, I am really happy that you (and some of those who commmented) enjoyed it. And all your reasons for feeling this way are just as justified as my reasons for not. That’s the awesome thing about books, they can be interpreted so many different ways. I enjoyed reading your take on it, April:)

    *and I agree with Heidi: nice job blowing up that cover image. It really does brings all the cool details into focus:)

  12. This one is one my list of 2013 books I really want to read. The description just sounds up my ally! Thanks for this review. Also, did you see the post about the facts behind the fantasy in Prophecy? Seems like your thing 🙂

  13. You tell me who judges you for liking a book and we will sic the bloodhounds on them!

    You know, I’ve read enough of reviews of this book and more to realize this book probably isn’t for me, but I wouldn’t ever wish a bad reading experience on anyone. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Enjoying a book is a GOOD THING.

  14. Anyone who will judge someone based on their opinion of just one book is lame. No two people’s tastes ate going to overlap 100%. Everyone I work with was all like “Finnikin of the Rock sucked” and I was all like “kick ass fantasy!” so you know, everyone is different. We can still all be friends.

    I did enjoy the opening and Kira was kick ass. For me, it was the writing. Awkward dialogue kept throwing me out of the story world. But I still think its a book that lots of readers can enjoy. As you say, expectations can influence opinions, and I always want my fantasy to be Graceling good–I’m kind of picky like that.

  15. I’m in Camp Meh. I enjoyed it while reading it, but I definitely expected more. Haha, & I think I’m the only person ever who actually liked Taejo!

    In my review I mentioned the lack of background story and the extremely quick pace. I think that was largely to blame for why I couldn’t get into the book: I just couldn’t get a good feel for who the characters were and why they took certain actions.

    Anyone who would judge someone based solely on their book ratings is a total d-bag. The best thing about the blogging community is seeing different opinions and views. So many times I’ve read reviews where that particular blogger picked up one something in a book I completely missed and it changed their entire view.