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Title: Dragon Pearl
Author: Yoon Ha Lee
Published: 15th of January 2019 – Rick Riordan Presents
Format: Hardback – 312 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
I’m so happy to finally get my review of Dragon Pearl up on my blog after it has spent a few weeks in my drafts (I forgot about it, oops)! We read this book for the Middle Grade Marvels book club in October. I didn’t enjoy this as much as everyone else, but it was still a fun read, so keep on reading for my thoughts on Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.
THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD MIN comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee is a middle grade science fiction fantasy story in which Asian mythology and a space adventure combine, with a determined young girl and some interesting side characters. We read this book as part of the Middle Grade Marvels book club that I co-host with Holly and Noly. I was expecting to love this book, and whereas a lot of the members did love it and had so much fun reading it, it sort of didn’t work for me, unfortunately.
I haven’t read that many science fiction books set in space with space stations, lots of science and technology, and maybe it’s because I’m not used to them as much as fantasy and epic fantasy, but I struggled to get into it.
I thought that there were a few issues with the characters, specifically Min. I know she is young and this is middle grade, but some of her choices were strange and I found her to be immature and not very likeable at times. I totally get what she was trying to do, her motivation and her personality, but I also didn’t really get it and I struggled with her character a lot. The other characters were good, but I felt really detached from them and don’t have a favourite at all.
However, I did like the setting and even though I struggled through, didn’t really understand some things and got lost a little bit, I found that the plot was a really intriguing one, my criticism is that I don’t think much happened, to be honest. There are a lot of events in this book, but I feel like for the majority of the book, the main character and the side characters are just on a spaceship doing spaceship things and that the real adventure only happens at the end, and it’s really short. I think this book could have been much longer, or even a series and it could have been drawn out, we could have had more of a backstory from the characters which I feel we get for Min but not at all from Haneul or Sujin.
If the book was longer, I think the plot twists could have been handled better and maybe there could have been more suspense and build-up, I just personally think that once it got going, it happened too quickly but there wasn’t enough happening. I think the world was really well conveyed in words though, I could picture it and felt immersed in the descriptions, it was just the characters and the lack of events that were a little boring to me. I don’t really have much to say about the writing style, it was good, just not memorable I’m afraid.
Finally, I did not understand that ending, everything happened too quickly, I still have no idea who was on what side and what team, why they did some things, what actually happened at the end there and I feel like this could be a series because so many more things could be written after that ending. I think it’s a shame I didn’t enjoy it because it had all the things I like, but I think the execution just wasn’t for me.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was an interesting middle grade standalone science fiction story. I liked the Asian myths and legends part of the story, although I think that it would have been even better had there been more. There doesn’t seem to be much backstory to the characters and I just can’t really remember a lot of the things that happened in this book. It might have been said, but I feel like the world and the setting also don’t have that much backstory, which is a shame because I did enjoy the setting quite a bit.
I gave this book 3 stars, I enjoyed some parts of it, and others I just didn’t get, was bored by or are not memorable. It’s not bad, just not for me. I would, however, recommend this book to lovers of science fiction, fantasy, myths, and space adventures and I hope you will enjoy it more than I did.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
Atmosphere – 4.5
Start – 4
Pacing – 5
Ending – 5
Characters – 5
Theme – 6
Style – 5.5
Total = 35
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK – Amazon FR – Amazon US – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Scrib’d – Kobo