Thursday, August 31, 2023

Review: The Pearl Hunter by Miya T. Beck

This was a book I bought just because of how stunning the cover looks. I simply had to have it. And it sounded exciting too. I have now gotten to read it, and I'm a bit heartbroken to say that it was hugely disappointing to me. I'm giving it two stars. I wish I could have loved it. But I did not. It was not what I thought it would be.

I'm honestly not sure how to write this review of mine. I have so many thoughts about this story. Will share some of it, as I am not going to write too much. This one was a mix of middle grade and young adult, as the main girl was an age between, but her actual age is not mentioned. Seemed like she just became a teenager.

This book is told from the point of view of Kai. This young girl is a pearl diver. She loves her life with her family in her small village. She has a twin sister, Kishi. They have always done everything together, the best of friends. But it's been different lately, as Kishi have a crush. Kai does not approve. So they are always fighting a little. I liked getting to know them at the start of this book. And their parents seemed nice. Their village did not; they did not care for pearl divers. So rude. Their job seemed so great. And I wish this book had been more about the actual pearl diving, and more of the water. I truly would have preferred that. Sigh. We learn a little of their dead aunt, whom seemed even more awesome. She always told them the best stories. I liked that a lot. The stories are Japanese based, which I enjoyed. I liked the history too.

But that was sadly all that I liked about this book, if I'm being honest. I thought it was going to be epic and fully exciting. It was not. For the most part it was just boring. I wanted much more about these sisters and their bond. We got to see them together so little and I just did not care for either of them, honestly. And I found almost all of the supernatural and fairy tale parts of the book to be silly. Sure, I liked the stories, but the Dragon King was too silly and the foxes were just beyond silly. Sigh. I wish it had been written better.

I'm not sure what to say. Not going to share all of the plot, but I will mention some things. The twins are diving for pearls. Both going down for more mussels to win their competition. And by doing so, Kishi gets taken by a ghost whale. This was weird to me. I sadly didn't find it magical, just weird. Their parents are in a panic. And Kai just wants her sister back, so she rows out looking for her. And actually finds the whale, which was so weird. She gets her sister free; she is dead. And then a dragon drags them out in the water.

Where Kai meets another type of god. One who can bring her sister back from the dead, bring her soul from the underworld. If Kai brings her the pearl of the leader of the magical foxes. Which Kai agrees to do. I just found this whole thing to be silly. I wish I thought it was magical, but I did not. And I also did not really like the writing either. It was okay, but I never felt connected to anything. I did not actually like Kai either. Felt like I did not get to know her or Kishi well enough to actually care about them, dead or alive.

Then Kai get gifts from these gods to take with her on her two-week long adventure. A silver bow. Which she leaves behind almost right away, of course. A magical bowl that can give her any type of food, and that she only truly uses at the end of the book. A special compass necklace that shows her which way to go, which wasn't used much either. And she is told where to find a flying cloak. And then she is shot down with an arrow the next day and never uses the cloak again. Sigh. So. Gifts were pretty much useless, ha.

Okay. She gets shot down by bandits. Two disgusting adults and one teenage boy her age, that seems like a prisoner himself. She falls for him right away, of course. I did like him, but did not feel like I got to know him either. He liked horses. They take her to sell her to a warlord of some kind. Kai spends daaays in that place, getting dressed up and playing games with another child. It was so very boring and I didn't like it much at all. Sigh. I thought it was to be a book about the sisters; Kai doing her best to save Kishi.

She did not. She finally gets away and goes looking for the foxes. And that showdown was also just too boring for me. I wanted more excitement. More danger, more fear. Instead I got silly dancing foxes that possessed humans so that they could make them dance. Yeah. And then the ending of the book. It was stupid. So very stupid. Should have been another half of the book, to be honest. And it was very much a open ending and not a very good one either. Seemed like so much still needed to be told. Disappointed.

I have now written more about this book than I was supposed to. And been a little bit more negative than I had planned. Oops. I just could not stop writing, once I remembered what I didn't like about this one. Still. The Pearl Hunter has such a beautiful cover. Which I love. But this story was not for me and I do kind of regret reading it. Wish it had been more epic and thrilling. Wish it had been more about diving for pearls. More about the sister love. It was not. Still. I would be curious about a book two. You should try it anyway.

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