Posted by: Lizzie Ross | June 15, 2010

Dragon narrates

Dragon of the Lost Sea, Laurence Yep (1982), Harper Trophy, 211 pp.

The point of view in this first book of a quartet occasionally switches to that of the young boy who accompanies the dragon on her quest, but for most of the story, the proud Dragon Princess, Shimmer, narrates, and it’s great to hear the action through her words. As we learn more of her history, we begin to understand her desire to maintain a level of majesty. She definitely hates to lose face.

Yep explains in an Afterword,

It was my original intention to retell the adventures of the Old Mother of the Waters … However, stories — like people — develop and grow, so only a few images have survived from the first version of this novel.

His use of Chinese myths as the starting point for these stories provides a unique twist for those of us accustomed to Western-style dragons. Shimmer’s enemies aren’t human, nor even saints-to-be, but rather other mythological creatures: the cruel sorceress Civet, and the trickster Monkey. She doesn’t breathe fire, but she’s an adept flyer, and a shape-shifter as well, with a magical pearl in her forehead that she uses for her spells.

Shimmer must regain her sea kingdom, which Civet has captured and shrunk to a tiny blue marble. Our heroine finds herself accidently allied to the boy, Thorn, weak but determined to aid her. At several points he surprises her with his un-human-like actions — with his empathy, kindness, and steadfast loyalty.

This is one opinionated dragon (I shouldn’t be surprised — there aren’t many who would argue with one). When initially accused by Thorn of being a witch, Shimmer replies, “I have never been a witch. They’re to the magical arts what pickpockets are to banking.” She hates being smaller than those around her, feeling it demeans her royalty. But she can be reasoned with, especially if the reasoner appeals to her sense of vengeance.

Yep has created an entertaining creature in Shimmer, and her adventures with Thorn will appeal to dragon fans of all ages.

Other titles in this series: Dragon Steel, Dragon Cauldron, Dragon War.

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