DRAGON STEEL by Laurence Yep


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Yep's Dragon of the Lost Sea (1982) ended with comrades Shimmer (a dragon princess) and Thorn (a boy) capturing the witch Civet, who had displaced Shimmer's clan by draining their Inland Sea. Without dropping a stitch, Dragon Steel picks up Thorn and Shimmer on their way to the dragons' undersea kingdom, where Shimmer will ask her uncle, the High King, for the magic cauldron that might help restore the Inland Sea. But instead of offering help or the expected congratulations, the High King demands Shimmer's magic pearl, then throws them in prison when she refuses him. Before they finally get the cauldron, Shimmer and Thorn must outwit the Grand Mage, evade the Dragon guard, take the form of small fish, battle creatures called Krakens, contact Shimmer's homeless people (now in thrall to the High King), obtain a flower from the dragon Lady Francolin, and take it back to Monkey (who is imprisoned in the palace), so that Monkey can summon the powerful Lord of the Flowers. There are yet more transformations, battles, and trials; and though the cauldron is obtained at last, the comrades' arrival at the Inland Lake must await another volume. Besides the string of mini-adventures, there are a couple of running questions--whether their new companion Indigo will abandon her "look out for number one" philosophy; whether Shimmer will prove up to leading her people--but their conclusions are foregone, and Yep shows no interest in exploring or developing the issues. Though Yep is as imaginative as the next fantasist in dreaming up shapes, tricks, and surprises, it sometimes seems, as Shimmer comments upon the sudden appearance of a threatening Flame Bird, that "Someone [is] working magic for no apparent reason."
Pub Date: April 10th, 1985
ISBN: 0064404862
Page count: 275pp
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1985


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