Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Yoon Ha Lee's companion to the best-selling and award-winning DRAGON PEARL, another space opera inspired by Korean mythology, this time told from the point of view of a nonbinary tiger spirit.
Sebin, a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan, wants nothing more than to join the Thousand World Space Forces and, like their Uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin's acceptance letter finally arrives, it's accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently the captain abandoned his duty to steal a magical artifact, the Dragon Pearl, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero's name and restore honor to the clan.
Nothing goes according to plan, however. As soon as Sebin arrives for orientation, they are met by a special investigator named Yi and Yi's assistant, a girl named Min. Yi informs Sebin that they must immediately report to the ship Haetae and await further instructions. Sebin finds this highly unusual, but soon all protocol is forgotten when there's an explosion on the ship, the crew is knocked out, and the communication system goes down. It's up to Sebin, three other cadets, and Yi and Min to determine who is sabotaging the battle cruiser. When Sebin is suddenly accused of collaborating with the enemy, the cadet realizes that Min is the most dangerous foe of all...
Yoon Ha Lee brilliantly turns the tables on DRAGON PEARL in another unputdownable sci-fi adventure about what honor really means.---from the publisher 256 pages 978-1368055543 Ages 8-12
Keywords: science fiction, Korean folklore, magic, Korean mythology, Asian mythology, space, spaceship, honor, diversity, diverse books, action/adventure, part of a series
Other series in the Rick Riordan Presents collection:
- Rick Riordan Presents: RACE TO THE SUN by Rebecca Roanhorse
- Rick Riordan Presents: SAL AND GABI BREAK THE UNIVERSE by Carlos Hernandez
- Rick Riordan Presents: THE LAST FALLEN STAR by Graci Kim
- Rick Riordan Presents: PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER by Lori M. Lee
Students in my school love all the books from Rick Riordan Presents and Dragon Pearl is among their favorites, so I was pleased to see the second book of the series. The mix of Korean mythology and science fiction creates an intriguing setting. There are spaceships and advanced weapons alongside characters carrying swords and training in martial arts. In the midst of all this, Sebin ( a young member of the Juhwang Clan), has eagerly awaited an acceptance letter to become a cadet in the Thousand World Space Forces, but when Sebin reports for duty everything goes wrong. There seem to be saboteurs or rebels on board the ship - explosions, crew cut off, Sebin and the other new cadets are on their own. What does honor demand of Sebin? Is duty to family or to the fleet more important?
Today's young readers have grown up on Star Wars and other space adventures, so running battles through the passageways of a starship or the use of mental or even mystical powers are not uncommon. But the idea of participants in those battles being able to turn into tigers or other forms is a refreshing addition to the possibilities of what can be expected. Although much of the plot centers around Sebin's family and experiences, the other cadets make it more of an ensemble story with each using their own abilities to cope with the emergency and learning to trust one other.
The extraordinary powers and group dynamics may remind readers of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and their adventures with classmates and friends. As with other books from the imprint, the rich cultural background that is being worked into this series adds layers of meaning and nuance to the reading experience. The ending resolves some of the conflicts within the book, but the larger scene of the Thousand Worlds and the fabled Dragon Pearl still leave many future adventures possible for these characters and their universe.
Recommended by: Suzanne Costner, Teacher Librarian, Tennessee USA