I received this charming book from Julia Suzuki in exchange for an honest review, and wow, I’m so happy to have read it.
“Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms” follows the coming-of-age adventure of a very special dragon hatched from a very special egg. A special and possibly terrifying egg – at least to some other dragons. From the very beginning, Yoshiko struggles to fit in, learning through trial and suffering and hard-won success that his difference is far more important than he knows.
The tale made me laugh, prompted me to explain to my husband (at great length) the subtle inclusions of history and psychology, and made me drain the battery on my Kindle.
The world-building is fantastic, including such gems (that is a pun, as you’ll learn when you read it) as food like breakfast porridge composed of rock salt, herbs, and peat; an actual dragon monetary system with a working economy; and locations with dramatic names like The Fire Which Must Never Go Out, which I particularly like that because it’s clear a story is attached to them.
The histories of Dragor are layered and interesting (dragsaurs? Oh, boy!), while subtly making clear this story takes place in the real world. A brief mention of a long-ago writer named William *coughcoughShakespearecough* even identifies that this is somewhere around England (and is a great chance to introduce young readers to The Bard).
Ms. Suzuki even manages to make a bully with his own character-arc – though I won’t spoil you by telling you what happens to him. I will say I cheered. There might have been a fist-pump.
I can’t wait to read more and learn what happens in the land of Dragor. Quite a few hints were laid for the next book, though this one stands alone beautifully. It’s completely appropriate for younger ages, but I can say from experience that adults can enjoy it, too. We all need more dragons like this in our lives!