Author: Ellen Oh
Rating: ★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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 the 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?
Huge thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I read Ellen Oh’s Prophecy quite recently in preparations to review this book. Too be honest, I was furious with the wasted potential in Prophecy because it was a story with great ideas, a unique Asian-flavoured setting, and a premise that should have been pretty easy to follow through. It wasn’t a fun ride, and in fact it was easily one of the most boring YA fantasy novels I had ever read. Considering those feelings, you’re all probably wondering why I read the second book. It was mostly because I wanted to see if Oh could improve on her writing, characters and world-building skills. Is this book better? Technically. Was it fun to read? Hard to say, truthfully.
I think Oh’s writing has vastly improved since the first book. The descriptions are better thoughtout, the writing is simple but it’s not as dull or monotonous as the previous book. Hell, the pacing was even better in this book. Why can’t I like this series? Because despise better description and less “he said, she said” it’s still not an interesting or engaging read. This book suffers from the same flat characters from the prior book, they don’t come across altered or changed by the situation they faced in the first book, and frankly, they come across as blank slates — personality less and dull. I didn’t care about Kira’s feelings because Oh’s writing didn’t evoke the necessary emotion to make me feel sad for her. To make me cheer for her. To make me want to understand her better. The characters were once again so forgettable that I had to flip back a few pages just to remember who was talking, or who was the betrayer, or who did what — I feel like if these characters had defining features, I’d be able to remember them better. Then there’s the action sequences, which are boring. The description isn’t there to make the fights engaging or interesting — they aren’t even satisfying to read about!
The world building is still the stronger part of this series, and I feel like in Warrior Oh finally used the setting more. She fleshed it out and when she was describing aspects related to the world, the prose felt so much more confident than when she was focusing on characters and interaction. I felt like in this second installment I could picture the world much more clearly, and I liked it for that. I get frusrated because she has this fabulous backdrop which she sets her narrative and it’s hardly used to the potential it could be.
Warrior is definitely an improvement over the first book, and this one certainly ends on a cliffhanger. However, it suffers from middle book syndrome on top of just being an uninspired read overall. Part of me keeps hoping this series will improve because I see the potential — I know it’s there, and it’s simply not being lived up to.