Speaking of dragons… have I told you about this one yet? Dragon of the Lost Sea by Laurence Yep is another all-time favorite of mine.
Meet Shimmer, a dragon princess who has been cast out by her clan. Despite being in exile and forced to wander the earth, she retains every bit of her noble snobbery and firm belief that dragons are superior to every other race. However, that begins to change when she meets Thorn, a poor orphan who is being sorely mistreated by the man who claims to “care” for him. However, the story doesn’t go exactly where you think it will. Thorn ends up saving Shimmer’s life during a fight, and then she feels obligated to repay him by taking him out of his sorry situation. Thorn is the eternal optimist, cheerful to a fault, intelligent, and kind – a perfect foil to the snobbish, egocentric princess. As he proves himself loyal and true and resourceful, however, Shimmer begins to soften and see this young boy as an equal… a friend.
Together, the two unlikely companions travel together seeking Civet, the witch who stole Shimmer’s homeland (which is quite an astounding feat, considering that her homeland was an ocean… and Civet basically trapped it inside a stone she wears on her necklace… or something, I’m not sure, I need to reread the book!)
Even that isn’t straightforward, however, because Civet is a bit more complex than you might guess, and her motives were not purely selfish or evil… making the ending confrontation full of surprises and twists that add to the fun of this truly charming little book.
This story was based on some Chinese fairy tales and folk lore, giving it a very unique feel. It is also the first book in a series of four, though it stands alone quite well. The rest of the series is fantastic and definitely worth it. There are some places where it is very reminiscent of Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, so if you enjoy those you will probably like this series, as well. I really find the dynamic between Shimmer and Thorn to be quite entertaining.
Written in first person, the perspective shifts a few times from Shimmer to Thorn in regards to who is telling the story… though if I remember correctly, Shimmer tells the bulk of it. Usually I don’t really enjoy first person, but I make a few exceptions here and there, and this is one of them.
Not quite as laugh-out-loud funny as Dealing With Dragons (another YA fantasy favorite of mine), this story has its moments of humor (as you discover in some of Thorn’s chapters that he really feels quite protective of this enormous dragon he’s traveling with and sort of sees himself as taking care of her!) But it is a bit more of a tragic story for the most part…
Truly, this one deserves every one of its five dragon eggs. I own it, love it, and recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys a good story about friendship, perseverance through trials, and of course, dragons!