An epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic—the story of a spoiled hero, an exacting grandmaster, and an immortal god-king from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao.
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.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
The Art of Prophesy by Wesley Chu is an epic fantasy that stands the Chosen One trope on its head with a spoiled, pampered chosen one, a wise-cracking master of windwhispering, and a villain who dies at the beginning of the story. This is the first in a trilogy, and I, for one, can’t wait to see where the following two books take this story.
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
The cover looks Asian-inspired and beautiful. I love Asian-inspired fantasy because they are always breathtaking, from the fight scenes to the landscape. The blurb tells of a spoiled hero, which sounds intriguing and very different from the norm. I also like the sound of the main character, Taishi, who must make the spoiled chosen one into the hero he is destined to be. I initially expect this to be a unique and sweeping tale full of magic and mystery.
Actual Reading Experience:
This story is truly epic in every way. I love the world-building most of all. It is incredibly detailed and complex, with religion, politics, and even geography presenting several challenges that must be overcome. The descriptions are sensory and create a world I could easily immerse myself in.
The character development is also exquisitely complex and breaths life into every character in the story. I love that the support characters get as much development as the main characters, and each brings more and more nuances to the story.
Lastly, I love how unexpected the main character and the chosen one are. Take what you would expect from this type of story and then let that go because what you will enjoy is nothing close to what you have ever read.
Taishi is the main character and quite a different main character than I expected, but I loved every minute of the story focused on her. She is an aging master of windwhispering, so she can use the wind currents to move and to carry her whispers. She is an exacting master who doesn’t worry about who she insults. She is strong enough to fell large groups of soldiers and can go hand-to-hand quickly with other masters.
Jian is the pampered and spoiled chosen one who is not in any way ready to take on the evil he is destined to defeat. Tiashi and Jian have a long way to go to get him even to the point where he is ready to learn.
Salminde is a viperstrike and a Will of the Kahn. She is an enemy, but something about her made me feel sympathy for her. Her main concern is doing what is best for her people and trying to find her sister. But she is a very lethal weapon, and the Kahn that she is the Will of is the villain the chosen one is destined to kill.
Narration & Pacing:
The narration is third person and focuses on three different characters in alternating chapters: Taishi, the master; Jian, the chosen one; and Salminde, a Will of the Kahn. This narration is essential for telling the overall story, which is focused but has many stakeholders. The pace has ebbs and flows – so I would say it’s a medium pace overall because it speeds up at some points and slows down at others. The pacing matches the story perfectly.
An Asian-like world full of a sand river with waves and mountains with snow, to name a bit of the world I have seen so far.
What It Reminds Me Of:
I’ve read a lot of fantasy and more than my fair share of chosen ones, but none even remotely like this story.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you love epic fantasy and you are ready for a tale like none other you have read before, Th Art of Prophesy is waiting for you to discover this wonderful tale.
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Originality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5)
- Writing Quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5)
- Pace (slow-fast): ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)
- Character Development: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5)
- ‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)
- World Building: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5)