Dragon Pearl

Written by Yoon Ha Lee

Dragon Pearl definitely has some action. Lee focuses his tale around Korean folklore and chooses a Kumiho, a shape-shifting fox, as his heroine. Thirteen year old Min sets out to find her brother and clear his name. Though she has chosen, like most of the Kumiho, to take a human form, she is very good at shape-shifting and it proves useful in her quest. As she searches for her brother, Min meets space pirates, other magical creatures, decent people, and devious people. And herein lies Lee’s problem. He introduces many characters into the story, decently develops them for a chapter and then tosses them aside, never to be heard of again, except for a sentence or two dropped at random as a passing thought in Min’s mind. Even a major player like Jang, a ghost Min impersonates who she is supposed to be helping, barely makes an appearance for most of the book. It was disappointing that a story with such potential should end up feeling disjointed and a bit of a let down. Students interested in Korean magical legends will enjoy it because there are so few books on this subject out there for mid-grade readers. Others might not get past the first few chapters.

Reviewed by Teresa Edmunds, Media Clerk, Westbrook Elementary
Rating: ★★★✩✩ (3 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-8

Dragon Pearl
Written by Yoon Ha Lee
Disney-Hyperion
310 pages
Release Date: January 15, 2019
ISBN: 9781368013352

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