The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu
Nothing is perfect, and as such, the reviews in this blog are chaotic. My main aim is to share my thoughts, joy and opinions on a book, not make a publication perfect review. This blog endorses authenticity, showing up and joy over perfection.
I love all the Narwhal and Jelly books, which I have reviewed most of them but if I missed posting a review at least I have definitely read them. I discovered them in London on a trip with a friend, fell in love with the first two books, and have been preordering the rest ever since.
This actually came out just before Halloween, so I ended up reading it the week of Halloween, which was a perfect fit.
In this one, Jelly is a bit scared and not sure about getting dressed up for Halloween or even about anything scary, whereas as usual, Narwhal is all excited for it and ready to be all the things, ideas just keep coming about what to dress up as, so a party is decided to happen much to Jelly’s scaredy-cat spirits and reluctance.
However, there appears to be a true spirit/monster/ghost suddenly lurking in the ocean, and it seems to have gotten Narwhal (or be stalking Narwhal, who knows?) so Jelly decides to be brave and try to gather friends to save Narhwal because that’s what best friends do!
Adorable as usual, the artwork is fun and fitting, I loved the cute little story and the tiny extras that split it, and well, what else can I say? Grab a copy of this or any other of the Narwhal and Jelly books for a lovely dose of joy!
Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.
Welcome to a late blog tour entry since the post delivered this a little too late for me to make it on the actual day I was scheduled to post it. But, fear not because I still set up a picture of it and started reading the book, which quickly became a devouring the book (no, I did not stay up until way past 2 am reading, absolutely not…)
Anyway, I shall say that I adore Taishi and the relationship with Jian is full of chaos and I totally loved it.
Now onto more coherent stuff. The book reads a little like a cinematic script, not in a way to say it isn’t fleshed out, but rather that it is written so you can almost see the shots, the way the camera pans in or out, the specific angles, you can hear the voices of the characters in your head. Which leads me to absolutely insist that Michelle Yeoh play Taishi because it is a perfect cast, and in my head a version of her is totally Taishi. This whole casting in my head led to me deciding to rewatch Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (if you haven’t seen this film, stop, and go watch it, mind-blowing, each rewatch just adds extra flavour to it).
In case you hadn’t noticed, I enjoyed this book a lot, it is a fun fantasy book, with a lot going on for it. I do admit there where two things I struggled a little with. One, the Sea Grass. My brain could not for the life of me comprehend it. I would read bits and pieces about it and the scenery and think I understood it, and then a few chapters later go “wait, I thought it worked like this”. I think some of it is because of the whole cinematic style of writing that was so into shots and stuff, that the descriptions and overall way of presenting it could have been a little more cohesive, but once it did click for me, which was about half way through the book, it starts making a lot more sense, and not fully grasping it isn’t the end of the world or takes away from experiencing the book.
The second thing I will admit is that because of how fascinating, funny and everything the whole Taishi and Jian parts of the plot were, the other subplots suffered for it. For example, Sali is super interesting, but by the time she’s introduced, and this isn’t too far into the book, pretty early on, I was wanting to go back to Taishi and Jian than learn about her. And this is not exactly that her story is boring or not good, it is just a very different dynamic and paled in comparison, which felt like treason to her because she is bad ass and doing a bunch of stuff which I do not want t spoil.
But overall the book was really fun to read, I kept wanting to go back to it and really visualising it happening. If you want to summarise it, a lot of it is about asking yourself about your beliefs and what you’ve been brought up to believe about yourself and the culture you are steeped in. Yes, there is a lot of badass fighting, martial arts and magic and interesting prophecies, shenanigans and the lot, but to me, at the core, it explored identity once it is stripped from you and what ends up defining who you are, or how the characters figure who they are when what they thought they knew isn’t truly who they are.
It reminded me of growing up and getting to a point where I had to ask myself what I truly wanted, and if those wants were my own, of what had been planted in my mind from childhood by my parents, culture and expectations from society. It is a crucial point in your life where you truly look inside yourself and have to confront the truth, unravel the you that makes your core from the things that have been said you would do, be or accomplish.
Anyway, I got a little philosophical just from reading a book, so my review is that if you like Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan (particularly some more obscure films rather than the super ultra mainstream ones) and similar, you should read this book, it is really fun, and might also hit your philosophical pondering a little.
I can’t wait for the second one and I am really curious what will happen to all of them.
Also go check all the other stops for this tour: