An intriguing and unique fantasy story based on Chinese mythos, written in Yep's captivating style.
It features an exiled dragon princess named Shimmer, who is impressed by the courage and fairness of a young boy named Thorn. After a warrior of the witch Civet attacks Thorn, Shimmer saves him and takes him away from his abusive master.
Civet once stole the sea belonging to the race of dragons and confined it in a pebble, leaving it a salt-covered wasteland. Shimmer, who has a terrible secret of her own, has decided to find her and reclaim the waters of her home. They set out across the sea and meet the mischievous and irritating Monkey, then find Civet after she floods a village.
The dialogue is snappy and amusing, and the descriptions are well-done, especially the beautiful visions of the dragons' seas, prior to their draining by Civet. Yep strikes an excellent balance between spare prose and descriptive prose, placing each where it belongs.
<b!r>Shimmer's tough shell (she has both a literal and figurative one) is an effective shield against the kind
of hurt that she has suffered in the past, given her rejection prior to this book. Her attempts to rebuff Thorn, or to convince him that she doesn't need his help and can do things perfectly well on her own, are as unconvincing to the readers as they are to Thorn. She needs a friend, though she does not wish to admit it.
An effective counterbalance to her cynicism and I-don't-need-anybody attitude is Thorn, an intelligent and optimistic young boy, who was basically enslaved at an inn with an abusive master. He becomes Shimmer's friend after his rescue, wanting to help her out of sheer kindness. The situations in which he jolts her out of her huffs are entertaining and snappily written.
An excellent, classic fantasy, well worth the while of the reader.