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  • Writer's pictureSofiya Pasternack

Review: Dragon Pearl

Author: Yoon Ha Lee

Genre: science fantasy

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Series: none


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.

What I Liked

So many cool things about this book! The weaving in of Korean mythology in a future other-planet setting was done very well. I’ve seen a lot of books with gumiho mythology in them lately; this book skips past the part of the mythology that paints them as trickster ladies but incorporates other common threads of gumiho lore. There are also goblins, ghosts, dragons, and tigers as mythical creatures in this book, all in space, and the two joining was just really cool. Min is a likeable character whose drive to find and exonerate her brother is very relatable.

What I Would Have Liked to See

The ending seems to be leaving room for a sequel or series, but I’m not entirely sure where a sequel would go. I would LOVE to see another book in this universe, though, so hopefully the author comes up with some way for Min to go on another adventure.

My Favorite!

The ships having qi and being affected by good and bad luck. The engineers basically realigning the ship’s qi was such a cool idea!


Fox spirit Min sneaks into the Space Forces so she can find her AWOL brother and maybe also find the Dragon Pearl, a legendary object that can bring life to worlds, or destroy anything in its path.



meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

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