Mini Reviews: The Dragon Pearl & The Vanishing Stair

Today I’ve got two mini reviews for you as I reflect on recent reads. Check out my thoughts below!

DragonPearlDragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Published by Rick Riordan Presents on January 15, 2019

Genres: Children’s, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology

Pages: 304 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

 Yoon Ha Lee’s Dragon Pearl definitely pushes the boundaries of what is out there, blending Korean mythology with all the hallmarks of space adventure. Min’s journey to get to the bottom of her brother’s desertion is filled with discovery, peril, and surprisingly ghosts. She’s a caring, conscientious person thrust into entirely new situations and surroundings so seeing her take all of it on is definitely empowering. The worldbuilding is also wonderful with talk of terraforming as well as the magical races of fox, tiger, dragon, and goblin. This book is another excellent addition to the Rick Riordan Presents imprint and while I felt the flow of this novel was a little off I would definitely recommend picking this up for exciting space shenanigans.

TheVanishingStairThe Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 22, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Pages: 344 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for.

After diving head first into Truly Devious I knew I needed to pick up the next installment, The Vanishing Stair, as soon as possible to see what Maureen Johnson has in store for us next. Within the pages were some answers, more questions, and the ongoing saga of characters I’ve come to care for. Stevie continues to push the envelope looking into the Ellingham case especially now that she’s assisting a scholar/author tackling the mystery. Her friendship with Janelle and Nate is still going strong but her connection to David has become incredibly complicated. All in all the book was riveting and the mystery aspects left me reeling, but the relationship dynamics made this story drag a little. I would still recommend this especially as Johnson’s so adept at messing with minds and emotions.

Have you read either of these books? Interested in picking them up?

Let me know in the comments below!

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