Autistic Book Party, Episode 76: Dragon Pearl

(ETA: Yoon Ha Lee appears to have been misdiagnosed with autism, and has asked to be removed from Autistic Book Party.)


Today’s Book: “Dragon Pearl” by Yoon Ha Lee

The Plot: Min, a thirteen-year-old fox shifter in a space opera universe based on Korean mythology, leaves home to try to track down her brother, who has disappeared in search of an artifact called the Dragon Pearl that can remake whole worlds.

Autistic Character(s): The author!

I’m a huge fan of Lee’s work, but I waited longer to pick up his middle grade series because middle grade hasn’t historically been my thing. This year, for various reasons, it’s a genre I’ve been getting more genuinely into, and “Dragon Pearl” is a great example of why, because it’s a delight from start to end.

Min is adorable – a character who cares a lot and works hard, but who also has the impulsive sense of mischief common to all foxes, and a range of abilities at shapeshifting and mind control that get her into very creative predicaments as well as back out of them again. I easily rooted for her throughout the story and was intrigued by the colorful secondary characters she befriends and the mystery that she begins to unravel.

There really isn’t a lot to say about autism here (although, as often happens in Lee’s work, there is some interesting subtext about gender, with Min spending a good portion of the book disguised as a male cadet). But I’m very glad I read it, and I’ll be heading as soon as I can to the sequel, “Tiger Honor.”

The Verdict: Recommended-2

For a list of past/future/possible Autistic Book Party books, click here.