The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu – Blog Tour Book Review!

It has been foretold: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom.

The hero: Jian, who has been raised since birth in luxury and splendor, celebrated before he has won a single battle.

But the prophecy was wrong.

Because when Taishi, the greatest war artist of her generation, arrives to evaluate the prophesied hero, she finds a spoiled brat unprepared to face his destiny.

But the only force more powerful than fate is Taishi herself. Possessed of an iron will, a sharp tongue—and an unexpectedly soft heart—Taishi will find a way to forge Jian into the weapon and leader he needs to be in order to fulfill his legend.

What follows is a journey more wondrous than any prophecy can foresee: a story of master and student, assassin and revolutionary, of fallen gods and broken prophecies, and of a war between kingdoms, and love and friendship between deadly rivals.

The Art of Prophecy was a story that, despite it’s slightly slow start, managed to completely ensnare me in it’s pages and I quickly found myself rooting for the characters and desperate to learn more about the world and magic. The story follows a few differing POV’s, some that only crop up for one or two chapters, and others that have a larger role in the overall story. Taishi, the Grand Master who takes over the training of the prophesied Hero after she see’s how lax it has been so far. She’s the grumpy old mentor trope in full flight and I adored every single scene she was in. Snarky, and the embodiment of ‘I’m too old for this shit,’ whilst also willing to kill anyone who dares mention that shes old, she’s never scared to kick a little ass (in fact most of the time she welcomes the chance) but as the story goes on, she also starts to realise that she is no longer in her prime, and it might be time to pass along her skill to another.

Jian, the prophesied Hero was a little shit if I’m being honest. I spent the first quarter of the book wanting to jump in the pages and kick his ass myself, but you quickly realise he has been raised to believe that he will be the saviour, wanting for nothing and has been celebrated without having actually won a battle in his life. He has a chip on his shoulder, but when the prophecy gets dumped on it’s head, he has to learn to survive as a nobody, treated as a lowly commoner, and boy does he have some growing up to do.

Salminde, a Viperstrike, one of the elite warriors fighting with the Khan, the person Jian is supposed to defeat. She is someone who hates Jian’s people with a passion, and someone who will do whatever it takes to ensure her people and their way of life survive. And last, but by no means least, Qisami, a bounty hunter and easily the most morally corrupt character in the entire book. We also meet a bunch of non pov characters who play an important roll in the overall plot, the main ones being Xinde and Meehae, friends of Jian’s after he goes into hiding and Zofi, someone who reluctantly ends up travelling with Taishi. There were so many characters though, and they all play such a vital role in the telling of this story. In fact the character explorations and interactions were by far my favourite part of the book. Chu gives us the perfect blend of humorous and heartwarming scenes, as well as some edge of your seat ones, all thanks to the bonds and ties between all his characters.

Chu takes the Chosen One trope and pretty much drops it on it’s head, something we don’t really get from the premise, which I’ll admit it a little misleading. But what he does exceptionally well is show that ‘coming of age’ is not only something that happens to young people. Through a good portion of his characters, both POV’s and otherwise, he shows the reality of how we are still growing and learning, even as adults, and that all it takes it one event, one person to make us realise our purpose in life. The story does meander a little for the first quarter or so, and I was a little unsure where it was going, but trust in the author, that’s all I’m gonna say because boy does it pick up and take us on one wild ride. There are no big plot twists, except for the one at the beginning, but Chu manages to keep us hooked through his exceptional character interactions and some truly epic fight scenes.

Speaking of the fight scenes, Chu is a master in bringing them to life, his choice to use martial arts terms instead of describing the fights was something I thoroughly enjoyed, trying to envision all the different moves in my head. In fact his descriptive writing in general was something I adored throughout the book, he effortlessly brings his world, the cities and planes to life. This is a book that’s gritty and filled with politics and scheming, but also heart and humour and wit and there was no romance! Something that is so incredibly rare in fantasy these days, but it absolutely wasn’t needed and though I could potentially see something cropping up in book two, I’m glad that we got this book to explore the characters as they are and their non-romantic relationships.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, thanks in large part to the characters (this is definitely a character driven story). If you’re looking for a slightly different take on the Chosen One trope, in an epic fantasy world with martial arts style fighting, politics and characters you will love and hate, then look no further. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two.

9 replies »

  1. I love the Chosen One premise, I have to admit, but always find it really fun reading about one that gets turned on its head. This sounds like a really good read – although I feel Jian would annoy me so much. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was really impressed at how much more readable Jian got through the book. His PoV definitely slowed the book down for me early – I enjoyed the Taishi chapters so much but put it down when I saw him.

    I’m real curious about where Chu takes it next. The obvious set up seems to be the Eternal Khan is, well, eternal, and Jian will end that eternalness, but how?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree. Jian was definitely my least favourite POV, but he grew on me as the book went on. I’m also curious as to where book two will go, like you I’m assuming they will find the next ‘eternal khan’ but I’m intrigued who it will be.

      Liked by 1 person

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