This week Marshmallow reviews a recent book by Yoon Ha Lee: Dragon Pearl.
Marshmallow’s Overview: If you like books about mythology and space, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): 13-year-old Min learns that her brother, Jun, is accused of deserting the Space Force in search of the Dragon Pearl. Min knows that her brother would never leave the Space Force, the organization that he always wanted to be a part of ever since he was a little boy. Even if he knew where the Dragon Pearl was. (The Dragon Pearl is a legendary object that can transform a whole planet in a day. In this story world, dragons exist and they have “Terraforming powers”, but they take year to terraform a planet.) So Min decides that something must have gone wrong. To prove that her brother did not desert the Space Force she leaves her home planet, Jinju, and goes in search of her brother.
Min is eventually able to find the ship that her brother was on when he “deserted”. She also finds her brother, but it is not how she wanted or expected to find him.
Marshmallow’s Review: This is a good book that is a mix of Korean mythology, science fiction, and fantasy. There are fox spirits, dragons, and interesting theories about how machines run in the story universe. (Apparently, they run on an energy that is called “gi” that is like the blood of their machines and ships.)
In the first page, we learn that Min is a “fox spirit”. In Korean mythology, a fox spirit is a magical being that has the ability to transform into anything they want to transform into. They are also able to “Charm” others which is to make others trust them or feel angry, sad, or happy and other feelings. So, basically they can “Charm” others to feel certain feelings.
The School Library Journal praised the book with the following words, which summarize the book well:
Lee skillfully weaves Korean folklore into this space opera narrative, creating dynamics and relatable characters. VERDICT: With ghosts, pirates, and a rollicking space adventure, there’s a little something for everyone here.The School Library Journal, https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=dragon-pearl
Reading Dragon Pearl may encourage you to learn more about Korean Mythology because we read about many interesting creatures. Min’s friends who are helping her find the Dragon Pearl so it does not fall into the wrong hands are, like her, magical creatures. (Hanuel is a dragon who can transform into a human but she is in human form most of the time. Sujin is a goblin.)
This book might be better for readers that are 10 and older because there are gamblers and guns. There are also ghosts in the story, which might scare some readers, too. It also might be a little confusing for younger readers but overall this is a very interesting and entertaining book.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 90%.