Newcomer Oh launches the Dragon King Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy equally grounded in Korean folklore and the epic Western tradition of quest adventure. Seventeen-year-old Kira, daughter of the top general in Hansong, calls to mind Robin McKinley's Aerin Dragon-Killer—physically different from her kin, socially ostracized, psychologically insecure, yet stubborn. This heroine's gift is the ability to literally sniff out demons and slay them, making Kira invaluable as a bodyguard to her cousin, the crown prince, but unwelcome among sneering court ladies and traditional townsfolk. Kira's royal relatives are arranging a political marriage she does not want, monks are proclaiming an ancient prophecy about a hero, and treacherous assassins haunt her dreams. It's a fraught existence, full of combat and touches of human empathy. With its historical setting and focus on adventure, the story should have a broad appeal, including to even younger readers, though there are some scenes of moderately graphic violence. With solid pacing and dialogue, it's a promising start to this trilogy. Ages 13–up. Agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013 Release date: 01/01/2013 Genre: Children's
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