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Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review: Warrior (The Dragon King Chronicles #2)

Release Date: December 31, 2013
Author: Ellen Oh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 336 pages

First an outcast, now a hero.

But her fight rages on.

Kira, the yellow-eyed demon slayer who fiercely protected her kingdom—and the crown prince—has been proclaimed the Dragon Musado of the prophecy, with the defeated evil shaman.

But it wasn’t enough. 

Hansong is in chaos. The Demon Lord’s minions have infiltrated the city, treason is brewing among the military ranks, and Kira is buried by the overwhelming loss of her parents. She’s also plagued by the annoying feelings that blossom whenever she’s around Jaewon. But she is determined that nothing will stop her from finding the second treasure needed to fulfill the Dragon King’s prophecy. Not even the army of half-breed demons hot on their trail. If only she could learn to trust others…

Her father always said one person can change the world. Will it be Kira?


Review:

Protagonist: Even though prejudices against Kira have dissipated slightly following her heroic takedown of Shaman Ito and his imoogi, there are still many who fear and despise Kira. Some treat her with disdain because she is a woman who acts like a man, others because they still don't believe that she isn't a demon hell bent on their destruction, and with others it's a mixture of the two. Even though Kira puts on a mask of indifference at this, we really get to see in this book how it affects her that even after realizing her destiny as the Dragon Musado, she is still treated so poorly. As usual she channels this into fighting demons and protecting Prince Taejo. This book puts a great focus on her insecurities by introducing a communication between her and the Demon King, who may or may no make her doubt herself.

Romance: My favorite part about the romance in this series, at least so far, is that it remains very much a sub-plot. It's there, but it really only adds to the realism of this world and these characters and doesn't grow confusing and clouds the core plot. Once again there is a bit of a love triangle, though I refuse to either confirm or deny that Shin Bo Hyun is back, there is a love triangle nonetheless. While I may not like love triangles half the time, this is definitely the other half where either of the love interest characters could be good for Kira and yet if she chose to stay single everything would still turn out great. I always love it when protagonist has two great romantic prospects, but aren't defined by whether or not they choose.

World-Building: As usual in a trilogy, there is a whole lot of world-building in this second.book. The first and foremost thing being seeing the world expanded, or I guess since we have a map at the beginning of Prophecy, then visiting parts of the world our characters have yet to discover. Along the way we meet Jaewon's family and learn more about who he is. There's a very powerful shaman who helps Kira in her quest for the Dragon King's second treasure. I really hope to see more of this shaman in the next book, because he was pretty amazing even if he sometimes spoke before he thought. While I was surprised the daimyo working for the Demon King didn't play a larger role in this installment, but I guess we'll see more of him in the next one. Another thing that fascinates me about this series is all of the political intrigue and without spoilers I will say that things really heat up in that department, even though again it's an ongoing theme, but more of a sub-plot.

Predictability: Like the last installment this one is sort of like walking through a very dark, just barely lit, hallway. It's easy to see a bit of what's coming but there are times when things don't come into sight until right before they are revealed. There are also the inevitabilities that that we know are coming but in what form exactly, is unknown. The thing I'm really embarrassed about though is something that was right in front of my face and yet I was still surprised by it.  Finally there are things that come completely out of the blue and shock me to my core which I always enjoy.

Ending: While I could have easily guessed that this book ends in a cliffhanger, I was completely caught off guard by how it came about. Lured into a false sense of safety everything changes and I was completely blown away, it's a rather doozy of a cliffhanger. The earlier parts of the end have a very interesting action scene which I was excited reading. Kira is such an amazing heroine and while I wouldn't be surprised if she's still seen as a bit of a pariah in the next and final book, it's gotten to a point where the only acceptable (but not okay) prejudice against her is that she's a woman in a man's world, and even that should only be among those who are jealous that she can do what they cannot.

Rating:



I love this trilogy, while this book is a bit different from the first, mainly because the quest starts sooner, it never hit a slumping point for me and I am amazed at what this author has created. I cannot wait to see the cover for the final book in this series, I'm imagining a green background and obviously the jade dragon belt front and center. I can't wait to see what that looks like.

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