Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who 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.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.
When I first saw the cover for this book and found out that it was a space opera and that there is a shape shifting fox, I knew I wanted to check it out.
Min is from a family of fox shapeshifters who try to hide what they are the best that the can, since fox shifters are seen as sneaky and untrustworthy. One day a stranger appears at the door looking to speak to Min’s mother about her son Jun. Min wasn’t supposed to overhear the conversation, but of course curiosity got the best of her. Seems that Jun had deserted his post to search for the Dragon Pearl and this stranger is trying to see if Min’s family has any clues as to why or where his is.
Min at this point decides that she of all people will find out what is going on and why, so she runs away from home and goes to the nearest port city to try to make her way onto a ship to get close to the Pale Lightning to find out more about her brother, and to try to get her hands on the Dragon Pearl to save her own planet.
One Min is aboard the Pale Lighting I found this part of the book slow and confusing, like why she suddenly changed her plans just to help someone that she just met. How she was able to keep up her disguise even while she slept, how the other shapeshifting cadets didn’t notice her magic. I was losing
interest at this point since you weren’t really following Min anymore, you were following a cadet she was pretending to be.
I found the story picked up again once Min was discovered and she is forced to show her true self, and at that point Min is also back on track to find out what happened to her brother and he search for the Dragon Pearl.
I was a bit surprised to the end of the book, wasn’t expecting half of what did happen the way that it did, and I found that to be decent, since some books can be a bit predictable.
There were times where I did forget that this is a MG book, since Min doesn’t come across as a 13-year-old girl, but someone who is at least 17. This did read more as a YA book at times and I found it to be a good read.