February 8th, 2014
Warrior by Ellen Oh
Warrior is the long awaited sequel to Prophecy, a story based in a mythological-fantastical Korea, with a heroine with bite.
Kira has accepted she is the Dragon Musado, a role that has earned her both praise and anguish. In her patriarchic world, it is both a blessing and a curse. She, her cousin Taejo, the rightful heir and her future king, her brother Kwan and friends are on a journey to find the second Dragon King treasure, a dagger that can control the earth.
I found that I enjoyed the pacing and overall flow in this book much better than the first. Prophecy's pacing was acceptable, but Warrior didn't have to rely on giving a ton of back story, so it made the story move faster for me. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the love triangle. That lacked consistency for me, and I expected better from Kira. I don't want her to be alone, but like in K-Dramas, why does the lead female never want the nice guy?
The world-building is topnotch. To be honest, I didn't always enjoy surrealism Eastern stories told in comparison to Western ones, but since I'm getting a bit bored with the average story, I really like learning different types of myth, even if it is just fantasy. I predicted the love triangle a bit, and a few battle scenes were...they had a ton of action, but with men with so little experience fighting demons, you kind of always knew what the outcome would be.
Kira I find more relate-able than most characters I've read in the last decade. No offense to the "Mary Sue's" of the world, but I'm a girl who is confident in what she is good at, and not afraid to admit it. I like her brass attitude, and her ability to be one of the boys. I mean she kind of doesn't have a choice, as her tiger spirit gives her abnormal abilities for a woman, but Kira I highly related to. And like a G, she always found a way.
I had absolutely no issue with the language or overall writing style. I only noticed one error that's all the way at the end of the book editing wise, but that's definitely not enough to deduct a quarter of a point. The POV at times was a bit...confusing, but only during certain points. Mainly if Kira dreamed or had a nightmare, which was not very often. The space between dialogue and beats I also didn't have an issue with.
Warrior kind of won many points on the board, but obviously I look the most for diversity, so it definitely makes the cut. Let me say first that I assume that everyone is Korean. It wouldn't make much sense if there were non-Asian folks in this book, but I liked that. I think Kira being Korean should allow her to be around people she can relate to. Not to say I wouldn't have hated seeing non-Asians in the book, but if it opens the door to "appropriation" of Korean culture, I'd pass.
It's just nice to see strong Asian male leads in books. Warrior's highlight for me was in fact it's strong male, hot Asian male leads! I loved Kwan, her feisty middle sibling. He was hilariously protective of his sister, and I really liked that he was in this book more than the first. I hope the last book opens up to incorporate Kyoung more. I would've liked to see more of him. Taejo is slowly growing into a young man. He's starting to question his way of thinking because of the events laid upon them, and I think that type of growth is amazing.
It's interesting that there are many types of mythological ties to South AND North Korea in this book. There were all of these interesting creatures I'd never heard of, but the standout was the arrogant dragon of the Shadow World Fulang. I was a bit afraid of him, but he was to learn more, you'll have to read the book.
Jaewon. Oh Ji-hoon Jeong, I mean Jaewon. Oh when I imagine you looking like my favorite K-Pop star Bi(Rain), the things you said and did with Kira made me want to be Kira. I'm in love with men of color love interests, so that was definitely a highlight for me.
I find that although the book title is plain, it suits the story. Prophecy was plain too, and to steer too far from that simplicity may confuse people. The cover is cool. I would PREFER to see Kira or a part of her, but it's also appropriate considering it is the second Dragon King treasure. The character names are lovely, Im just a bit ashamed to admit they confused me at times, due to many going by their surnames. Not a deal breaker though. There were vague descriptions of a few of the main characters, but I suppose the minor characters got detailed descriptions, especially creatures.
Overall, after that cliffhanger ending, I look forward to the next book!
I've dreamcasted Kira and Jaewon in the past, but since Kwan played a much bigger role than before, I'll dreamcast him and her now more mature cousin Taejo!
Seo Young-joo as Taejo(I know he's a little old, but it's harder to find actors or entertainers THAT young that are widely known)
Taecyeon as Kwan
Taecyeon as Kwan