Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review of The Dragon's Pearl by Devin Jordan

Review of The Dragon's Pearl by Devin Jordan--Simon & Schuster, 2009

Did you know that Marco Polo was actually famous before he was known for his trading expeditions? He and his friend, Amelio, who was also his servant, traveled across the sea, through the Unknown Lands, fought off monsters, and met Kublai Khan when they were mere teenagers! An evil mage, Arghun, had kidnapped Marco’s father, Niccolo Polo, in order to get his hands on a magic pearl he needed to resurrect and control a dragon. Marco kept a journal in which he wrote about his adventures to rescue his father from Arghun. It was soon up to Marco and his friends to free the world from the evil Arghun and his minions who were wreaking havoc on the world!

This first novel by Devin Jordan actually began as a screenplay. The historical characters of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo were well-researched and well-developed! Marco was always either getting into trouble or causing trouble, but actually ended up saving the day! Kublai Khan and the Mongols are portrayed in history books as being barbarians. However, this book showed that while Khan was a harsh ruler, he was also a fair one. There are unexpected twists in the plot. For instance, Kokachin, the guide employed to take Marco, Amelio, and Aziz, a family friend and warrior, through the Unknown Lands, actually turns out to be the Kublai Khan’s missing daughter in disguise! The one drawback to the story was that the plot seemed to lag and plod at times and some parts seemed contrived.

Action and adventure fans will not be disappointed! I recommend this book for upper elementary, middle school, and public libraries.