In case you need an extra nudge to dive into the thrilling world of Yoon Ha Lee’s Dragon Pearl, here’s Uncle Rick’s introduction to get you in the sci-fi spirit.
A Thousand Dangerous Worlds
Min is just your average teenage fox spirit, living with her family on the dusty backwater planet of Jinju.
Oh, sure, like all foxes, she can shape-shift into whatever she wants: human, animal, even a dining room table. And yes, she has the power to Charm—to manipulate human emotions and make people see things that aren’t there. But that’s not very exciting when you’re stuck in a small dome house, sleeping every night in a crowded common room with your snoring cousins, spending every day fixing condensers in the hydroponics unit. Min yearns to join the Space Forces like her older brother Jun did—to see the Thousand Worlds and have marvelous adventures!
It’s not like her mom will let her use magic anyway. Unlike other supernaturals, such as dragons, who can control weather, and goblins, who can conjure things out of thin air, fox spirits have a bad reputation. According to the old lore, foxes used to change shape to trick and prey on humans. Min’s family wouldn’t even consider doing such a thing, but due to lasting prejudice, they have to hide their true nature.
One day, an investigator from the government pays a visit to Min’s mom. He brings horrible news: Jun has disappeared. Worse, Jun is suspected of treason—of abandoning his post to search for a fabled relic that has the power to transform worlds: the Dragon Pearl.
Min knows that Jun would never desert the Space Forces. Something must have happened to him. He needs help! Unfortunately, nobody seems interested in what Min thinks, especially after she knocks the investigator unconscious for insulting her brother’s honor. Her family decides to ship her off to the boondocks to keep her out of further trouble, but Min has other ideas. She runs away from home, intent on following Jun to the stars. One young fox spirit, alone against the galaxies, will risk everything to find her brother and discover the mystery of the long-lost Dragon Pearl.
Buckle up, fellow foxes. Get ready for epic space battles. Prepare yourselves for magic and lasers, ghosts and dragons, interstellar pirates and warlike tigers. The Thousand Worlds hold all sorts of danger, but there are also priceless magical treasures to be discovered. And if Min succeeds, she might not only save her brother—she might save her entire planet.
Dragon Pearl will be like nothing you’ve ever read: a zesty mix of Korean folklore, magic, and science fiction that will leave you longing for more adventures in the Thousand Worlds!