A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Dragon Pearl mixes science fiction with Asian folklore. It offers a glimpse of how Korean culture might adapt to life in space.
Family members need to watch out for each other. Bravery in the face of adversity usually leads to success. Friends should be honest with each other.
Positive Role Models
Thirteen-year-old Min is brave and clever, determined to find her older brother and clear his name from a charge of desertion. She is more than a little impulsive and is often less than honest, even with her friends and family, but her heart is in the right place.
Violence & Scariness
The violence in Dragon Pearl is infrequent and generally low-key. Min knocks a government official unconscious with a pot. A legion of ghosts threatens her, and she sustains a blaster wound in one shoulder. Another character is attacked by ghosts.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Min's aunt runs a gambling den, where drinks are served.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dragon Pearl is the first installment of a futuristic fantasy trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee that mixes space opera with Korean mythology and magic. 13-year-old Min comes from a long line of fox-spirits but is forced to hide as a human with her family until she's old enough to enter the Space Forces and join her older brother Jun. Fox spirits, a troll, shape-shifting tigers, and dragons are essential parts of the plot. There are some mildly violent scenes involving ghosts and laser blasters.
Is It Any Good?
Mixing science fiction and fantasy sometimes results in a dilution of both genres, but this combination of space opera and Korean folklore finds the right, enjoyable balance. With Dragon Pearl, author Yoon Ha Lee offers up an engaging main character, a magical trickster ready to Charm her way to her destiny. Readers will find the diverse cast lively and unpredictable, the plotting well executed, the world-building offbeat and intriguing. The book ends on a perfect note of closure, but most readers would welcome Min's further adventures.
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