Jan 24

Horn Book Magazine on Dragon Pearl

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

“Thirteen-year-old Min is feisty and clever, and she has a powerful secret: she’s a gumiho, a fox spirit disguised as a human. Min can shape-shift and use Charm (fox magic) to alter others’ perceptions and emotions. She enthusiastically wields these powers when she ditches her “dismal life” on the barren planet Jinju in order to track down her brother Jun, a Thousand Worlds Space Forces cadet who’s gone AWOL. Min’s epic adventure leads to run-ins with spaceport security guards, gamblers, and ghosts. She impersonates a dead cadet on a starship battle cruiser and encounters the legendary Dragon Pearl, a mystical orb that creates life. Lee has a knack for world-building. His richly detailed, cohesive, original vision is a lively mash-up of outer-space sci-fi and Korean culture and folklore: starships have gi, an energy flow; pirates fly in groups of four because it’s a number that signifies death; characters, both supernatural and human, eat gimchi and play the board game baduk; Min befriends a dragon cadet who can summon the weather—sometimes inadvertently—and a dokkaebi (Korean goblin) who carries a magical spork. The dokkaebi is also a nonbinary character, who’s referred to with gender-neutral pronouns—a small detail that’s woven in matter-of-factly and just as smoothly as all the other strands in this engaging space opera.” — Horn Book Magazine

Jan 21

Shelf Awareness on Dragon Pearl

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

“In DRAGON PEARL, Yoon Ha Lee (the Machineries of Empire series) melds elements of Korean myth, science fiction and adventure stories into a strong, cohesive narrative that fans of multiple genres will enjoy…Lee’s inclusion of Korean mythological aspects isn’t limited to supernatural beings; it also impeccably incorporates “geomantic arts–the flow of gi and the cosmic balance of the universe” into how the Space Forces’ battle cruisers are engineered. All these components work in harmony to shape Min’s quest, immersing readers in her journey.

Lee’s epic romp through space also includes discussions about prejudice (“Other supernaturals, like dragons and goblins and shamans… wield their magic openly” and are even praised for it, while foxes must pretend to be extinct), nonbinary identity (“This [guard’s] particular badge… had a small symbol next to the name that let me know they should be addressed neutrally, as neither female nor male”) and inequality between rich and poor (“Whoever this councilor was, I doubted she was thinking about people like me and my family, who could use the Pearl’s powers to make our lives less desperate.”) Lee handles these topics sensitively without burdening her audience.

DRAGON PEARL shoots for the moon and lands flawlessly, delivering a rollicking and meaningful space adventure.” — Shelf Awareness

Jan 14

Kirkus on Ancestral Night

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

“Bear, then, offers plenty of big, bold, fascinating ideas in a narrative that culminates in a double showdown with a dazzling array of said thoughtful beings…. Impressive at the core. Readers who relished the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy will certainly enjoy this one.” — Kirkus

Jan 10

Library Journal’s Best of 2018 includes Wells and Kowal

Library Journal’s Best Books 2018 includes both Exit Strategy by Martha Wells (the fourth book in the Murderbot Diaries), and The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal!

Jan 4

Publishers Weekly starred review for Dragon Pearl

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

“In this highly original novel by Lee (the Machineries of Empire series for adults), 13-year-old Min must venture to the stars of the Thousand Worlds in order to find her older brother, Jun, who is suspected of deserting the Space Forces to search for the legendary Dragon Pearl. Min’s quick wits and technical prowess come in handy, but it’s her abilities as one of the fox people to shape-shift and charm others that prove vital after she leaves her home planet of Jinju aboard the freighter Red Azalea. When her brother’s former ship rescues the vessel from mercenaries, she poses as slain cadet Bae Jang, promising his ghost that she will avenge his death in exchange for impersonating him on the ship. Disguised as the dead cadet, Min is able to continue both quests, enlisting the aid of two of Bae’s friends—female dragon Haneul and nonbinary goblin Sujin—all the while avoiding the scrutiny of Captain Hwan as the ship heads to the Ghost Sector, the probable location of the Dragon Pearl. Lee offers a perfect balance of space opera and Korean mythology with enough complexity to appeal to teens.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

« Previous EntriesNext Entries »