Dragon Pearl

Mix Science Fiction with Korean mythology and you get the Dragon Pearl. Thirteen year old Min sneaks away from her home world to investigate her older brother’s disappearance and supposed desertion from the Space Forces. She is also a fox with special powers. Most of the people in this universe have different abilities and appear as a human though they are different animals such as tigers and dragons.
Min can shape-shift into other people as well as inanimate objects. When she arrives on her brother’s ship, Min assumes the identity of a deceased cadet whose ghost wants her to find out who is responsible for his death. Min is not the only supernatural being aboard. The Space Forces, pirates, and mercenaries are all looking for the Dragon Pearl, a mythical object that can create and/or destroy worlds and it is quite the adventure!

My only complaint is that since this is the first in the series the plot drags at some points as I’m guessing that they are setting up characters for the next books in the series.

I would recommend this book for fans of fantasy, science-fiction, and mythology in grades 4 and up. You could read it aloud to interested younger kids too.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

January 19, 2018

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from NetGalley without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

Spliced

This story probably isn’t meant to be an allegory to the current state of attitudes towards minorities, but once you start reading it, you can’t help but notice the parallels to modern society. The topic at hand draws inspiration from various sources – from the discrimination against people of the LGBT community (in particular against transgender people), against people of color, immigrants and also from draconian legislation passed in regards to human rights. I moved this review up on my schedule so that I could help (in my smallish way) to build some buzz for this title. First a definition:

Chimera (ki-mir-a) n. A person who pays back-alley geneticists to splice animal genes into their own illegally. 

The MC Jimi was a bit aggravating at the start of the book, with her ‘disgust’ about the ‘terrible mistake’ the chimeras are making. She simply doesn’t understand her friend Del and worries about all the implications of becoming a Chimera especially after they witness a police officer becoming overly violent while he is apprehending some chimeras.

I’m not sure if I would call Spliced science fiction or dystopia? It is a world in which human gene editing has become possible and human-animal chimeras exists.  In this dystopia, climate change has taken its toll, and only cities have power- the suburbs (zurbs) are kind of no man’s land where people live off the grid. Spliced imagines a world where a local legislation robs the chimeras of their rights as humans, and how quickly the hate-groups can utilize the neutrality of people who stay silent on the issue to harm the disenfranchised. I think this is a great book for parents and teens to read and discuss.

Bonus the author has a website where you can upload a photo and get Spliced!

Spliced By Jon McGoran September 29, 2017

Orphan Island

World Cat Link

This story is so full of the best kind of imagery. It takes hold of you on page one and doesn’t let go until the end. It’s the kind of book that I had to let stay in my mind for awhile before starting a new book. On an island, in the middle of the ocean, nine orphans live together. The island’s beginnings are a mystery, but the island protects the children, providing all they need. Each year, a small boat arrives to take the oldest child (the Elder) away and to bring the newest, youngest child ashore. The next oldest child then becomes the new Elder and is in charge of the new arrival, their Care. This is how it’s always been and how it always will be. I was worried that this would somehow fall into the Lord of the Flies somehow and spent the first few chapters dreading when things would go south. (Spoiler: It doesn’t. Whew.) What it does do is give you a warm, cozy feeling all while recognizing that growing up is full of uncertainties whether you live on an island or not. I highly recommend this book for middle graders.

I read a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Orphan Island

written by Laurel Snyder  Published: May 30th, 2017 by Walden Pond Press