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review 2017-09-01 21:53
Flying Lessons Book Review
Flying Lessons & Other Stories - Ellen Oh

I'm not a huge short story reader nor a big fan of middle grade books but this was cute and a fast read. Grace Lin had my favorite story. I'm not sure if a middle grade student would really enjoy this one as the stories tend to end too quickly (hence why I never like short stories myself). 

 

I'll be hearing Ellen Oh speak next month so I'll be curious to see what she has to say about this book. 

 

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review 2016-03-20 23:48
Eh. Feels like a weak middle entry.
Warrior - Ellen Oh

While I was pleasantly surprised by 'Prophecy' (the first of this trilogy) I wasn't as excited about this second book. Something about it feels a bit too much like filler. There's some plot advancement, character development, backstory filling, etc. All good stuff. But I guess after the strong opening of the first book, I had hoped the rest of the story would pick up after it sagged a bit. Not quite.

 

The story opens with Kira having one of the special objects. (Of course, we have this book and presumably the last one because it's part of her journey yadda yadda). We find an old enemy who might be now a new ally (maybe, maybe not) plus perhaps a bit of a love triangle. I have to say, I'm quite glad that romance is not a major subplot of this book, for Kira or any of the other characters. It's there, it's in the background and I didn't care for these particular scenes. But I do like it when romance is NOT driving the plot nor is it a major factor in the plot (main character must save love interest, death of love interest is what drives the main character, etc.). That is definitely something that 'Warrior' has that I like.

 

But as I wrote, it's not exactly page-turning stuff. There's a plot development that unfortunately reminds me a bit too much of 'The Hobbit'. Come on, a dragon sitting on a treasure and Kira must confront it? Meh. What's even weirder is that the book ending even parallels the 'The Hobbit' films a bit. I won't spoil it in detail but let's just say there are similarities between the second entries of these trilogies that made me side-eye the author just a bit. Perhaps it was just coincidence.

 

Anyway. I'm still interested to finish the last book of the series. I'm not rushing to know how it ends but it still has my interest. Borrowed from the library.

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review 2016-03-18 21:36
Surprised at the negative reviews.
Prophecy - Ellen Oh

Maybe it's just me needing something much lighter after reading a book about rape culture, but YA novel also did genuinely exceed my expectations. It's nice to read a book that was not set in a Western-influenced setting and rather in a fantastical Korea. There is a legend of a Dragon Musado that will save the people, blah blah. A plot that is perhaps old as time, but with a refreshing spin.

 

Kira is an outsider. With her yellow eyes she is feared and hated. She guards her cousin, the prince and heir to the throne. At the opening she finds out she is going to be betrothed (ew!) but of course things happen, chaos ensues, and we're off on an adventure that deals with death, murder, betrayal, political maneuverings, new friends, battle and fights, and more.

 

I liked it as I said but I do understand the misgivings people have written on. Sometimes the writing really isn't that great and we never really get a much deeper understanding of some (all?) of the characters. It does feel geared towards young teens/maybe tween readers (there's not much romance, there are descriptions of battles and wounds but it's not graphic). The book started off really well but I'd say about half way through it starts wobbling a bit.

 

I can't compare this to some of the other titles ('Graceling') that have been mentioned, so maybe that has something to do with it. Perhaps I've just become too cynical about YA, (especially after my huge dissapointment of being unable to get through Pierce Brown's 'Red Rising' trilogy after REALLY looking forward to it), but I thought this was a refreshing take. It may not be the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games, but this initial book seems to have some promise and I'm curious enough to see where the other two books go.

 

Borrowed this from the library and seems about right.

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review 2014-08-08 05:15
I love a good adventure!
Prophecy - Ellen Oh

Fallen Kingdoms, mysterious prophecies, armies, demons and a KICK ASS girl warrior with a grand destiny that will take this adventurous tale a long, long way!

Ordering Warrior tomorrow! 

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review 2014-02-09 01:11
Definitely for Legend of Korra fans! The sequel to Prophecy, Warrior!
Warrior - Ellen Oh

I mean wow, she had to do it to me.

 

Actual rating 4.5, Review can also be seen here:

 

http://twinjabookreviews.blogspot.com/p/our-reviews.html

 

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!

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