Arc was given by Disney Hyperion & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This review is being published after the release date (January 4th 2022)
🌠 Dragon Pearl ★★★★
Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, severe injuries, talk of death, grief, mentions of abandonment (near end of book), hostage situation, attempted forced exorcism
“By the White Tiger of the West, I swear to serve the clan in all matters.”
✨ Dragons – Enormous, uses weather magic, can terraform planets
✨ Goblins – Ability of invisibility, mostly secret agents, can also summon food with their wands
✨ Ghosts – Spirits that have unfinished business, most likely haunting someone/something
✨ Tigers – Large in size, strong, fierce, feared by everyone, Sebin and their family
✨ Shamans – Healers, help ghosts crossover
✨ Humans – Like you and me
✨ Fox Spirits – Bad reputation, considered myths, extinct, Min and her family
✨ Dragon Council – Galactic government
✨ Space Forces – Military, to protect the people and the different worlds
✨ Mercenaries & Pirates – Factions of all kinds trying to survive by whatever means
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it feels so good to be back in this world! I have missed this world dearly and I had been wondering where or more specifically who would come next in this series. I’m pleasantly surprised by the faction we got to follow and how everything seem to come full circle. Now, I’m just eagerly waiting to see what Yoon Ha Lee has in store for us next!
Our story follows Juhwang, Sebin, who’s been training to enter the Space Forces, in hopes of one day becoming a captain of their own ship like their uncle. In the midst of training and hoping to here back from the Spaces Forces, on whether or not they’ve been accepted into the program, tragedy strikes. Sebin is not only given the good news of being accepted into the program, but now their loyalty will be tested as their beloved uncle has committed treason, and is on the run.
“The White Tiger had told me, pay the price for breaking your oath, but pay it willingly.”
I love the themes we get to see so heavily engraved in this series. There is a strong, consistent theme of family and what it means to love your family so deeply, and at what lengths you’ll go to find out the truth of what’s happening with your family. Looking back on Dragon Pearl, we saw the main character go to great lengths to find out the truth about her brother. Now, we get to see our new character Sebin, not only seeking the truth, but having that inner struggle of loyalty to your family or doing the right thing to prevent others from getting hurt or potentially innocent lives being lost. And one of the most beautiful parts of this theme has been the character growth for the main characters. These family themes are not only consistent int he book, but they’re also key elements to watching the main character grow and come into their own.
Another favorite part of this book was seeing characters from Dragon Pearl return to this one. I loved seeing our favorite gumiho come back and I adored the way Sebin and Min clashed. One of my favorite things is seeing the “enemies to friends” relationship blossom and grow, and the author delivered. Its not a perfect friendship and there was a lot of miscommunication between the two of them, but it was wonderful to see them slowly come to understand one another and the hardships they both had to endure.
“It must be a hundred times worse to have to conceal something so fundamental about yourself.”
Also, I wanted to add a little side bit. I did this in Dragon Pearl and I really wanted to state it with this book as well. There’s a lot of Star Trek vibes throughout this entire book. Dragon Pearl had a lot of scenes where it felt like it may have been Star Wars inspired or even pulled inspiration from Mulan or Lilo & Stitch, but in this book, if you’re a Star Trek lover, this book feels like there’s a lot of inspiration pulled from it.
I think the most interesting part of this book was watching Sebin’s character development. We didn’t just see them come into a role of their own as a cadet, but we also see the conflicting feelings they have about many things relating to their uncle. Truly, I think one of the most beautiful things this book did was put an emphasis on how you can still love someone despite the bad things they’ve done, despite how imperfect they are, but still recognizing there’s a right and a wrong, and that its okay to have a lot of conflicting feelings about it as a whole.
“Losing him as a hero was more painful than an injury I had received.”
Of course, we see a lot of diversity throughout this book as well. There’s a few side characters who are non-binary, but our main character Sebin is also non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. We also have a side character who uses sign language. And speaking of disabilities, there’s a normalization of required sign language interpreters by the Space Forces, which I find isn’t often shown in books. It was handled in a very respectable way and I really appreciated that included aspect.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I feel like a power read this book so fast. That might be why I gave it four stars was from this book feeling short compared to the first book in the series. Either way, it was a fantastic read. I recommend this to anyone who’s a sci-fi lover for sure. I’m actually in the process of trying to get my significant other to read this series and they’re a die hard sci-fi lover. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and I think many readers will find themselves falling in love with this world all over again with this sequel!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.