Review | Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Title: Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Published: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Read as: ebook

Average Goodreads rating: 3.85

My rating: 3

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. (from Goodreads)

Dragon Pearl was the May 2019 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club and I would like to thank Meltotheany very much for inviting me to join the group. This was my first read with them and I look forward to many more.

That being said, this book was difficult for me to get through. At first I thought it was just because this is MG rated but I read MG, I enjoy MG, but this book was just not my cup of tea.

What I Liked

  • This book had great rep. Enby, LGBT, multi cultural. I felt like everything used was well represented which is not something I can say often. Normalizing these things for the younger generations is important and needs to be handled with care.
  • The story focused very much of family ties and did so in a positive way. Our main character loves her brother very much, respects him, and is willing to go to great lengths to save him and ultimately to trust him completely. She also showed respect for her mother instead of taking the YA path and killing the mother off as a plot device.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Our main character was flat out unbelievable, and not in a good way. Min is thirteen, I believe, and I don’t know about you but at thirteen I was an overemotionally hag of a human being and shouldn’t have been trusted to hold a fork. Min shows very little emotion about anything. I could rant on this for several paragraphs. At no point did Min display anything that would lead me to believe she was still so young. If the author hadn’t pointed it out I would not have been able to guess her age correctly.
  • Rules are set up along with the plot, as you would expect with any book dealing with magic. However, the story only followed these rules when it was convenient. Early in the book a rule was set that supernaturals could, for lack of a better word, sniff each other out. They would be able to tell if they were in the presence of another person with some kind of magic. Of course, when that rule isn’t convenient Min isn’t detected at all despite her magic and being around other supernaturals. If you are going to set a rule, stick to it.

All in all, this was an okay book. Good enough to read (mostly, I did start skimming a little toward the end), not enough to get excited about. Had this been the authors first published work I may have been a little more forgiving but they have published several books in the past so, for me, the forgetting of a rule set within the book’s pages was unforgivable.

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6 thoughts on “Review | Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

      1. Yeah. The idea was super cool, and it definitely did a good job of standing out against the other more “cookie cutter” books in the rick riordan presents books, but yeah it deff wasn’t my favorite


  1. Great review! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this one. I’m still deciding on how much MG I read since I haven’t completely loved the couple I’ve read. If I do end up reading it, it’ll be much lower on my radar 🙂


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