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Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 30 Aug 2019, 20:36
by Momiji1987
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Dragon Sisters" by Claire Youmans.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans is the sixth book in The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy Series. Renko is a dragon with a half-human nature, struggling to find her place in the world. She’s found a home to explore her duality with the Toki-girl and the sparrow boy, two children like herself that turn into birds. Meanwhile, her dragon half-sister, Otohime, is being pressured by Renko’s mother to find a consort. Along the way, Yuta and Noriko, who care for these special children, learn that a group of girls they saved from indentured servitude are in danger of joining an overseas brothel to support themselves. Can they save the girls before it’s too late?

I’ve seen several of these books and was always interested in reading them because I find Japanese culture fascinating. These books are set during the Meiji era and incorporate history and Japanese folklore into the story. The most beneficial aspect of these books is the historicity of the story. I learned several things about the time period I would not have known before, particularly about how girls who had been “sold” into factories by their poor families struggled to survive. The author clearly explains the clothing, attitudes, and culture of the people which was very detailed and enjoyable to learn about.

Where the author struggles a bit for me, is in the actual storytelling. The world is rich and the characters are interesting, but I found most of them to be described as very blank and two-dimensional. I don’t know if this is because aspects of their personality had already been explored in previous books, or if it was just the writing style in general, but rarely were the faces or tone of voice described to the reader, which, for me, made the story difficult to remain interested in. Feelings were rarely invoked and much of the emotional and personal details were left for readers to fill in, which made this book a challenge for me to continue reading at times, despite my interest in the subject.

The book might have been easier to enjoy if more drawings of the characters had been included. The back of the book features an illustration of the main characters which was immensely helpful to me when it came to actually picturing them. Historical drawings are the main source of illustration for each chapter (which is great for learning more about the real Japan) but a few more drawings of the characters would have been more helpful in lieu of descriptions.

The writing was dry overall, which I found disappointing, so I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. The book is appropriate for kids and teens because there is nothing offensive about the story and the brothel aspect is not explicitly described at all. There were errors throughout the book, but I could tell it was professionally edited. I recommend the book to anyone interested in Japanese history and culture, especially fans of the series.

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The Dragon Sisters
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Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 01 Sep 2019, 07:12
by Michelle Fred
I like that the book is educative as well as entertaining. Japanese culture and history are interesting topics to learn.

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 01 Sep 2019, 10:58
by Samson1919
Nice book because when you read the book you gonna get some new thing on your head and also it show the beauty of Japanese culture as well

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 01 Sep 2019, 13:07
by KDJ
Thank you for your review. I have not heard of this series, but it sounds interesting. I enjoy reading stories that include cultural and historical elements. I think I will pass on this one for now because of the lack of character descriptions. I have a good imagination but sometimes need it to be emersed in a story. Did you think book six could be read as a stand-alone or should readers start with book one of the series? :?:

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 01 Sep 2019, 17:13
by reneelu1998
Wow, there are a lot of books in this series. That's too bad about the poor writing. I feel like that sometimes happens in series; the writing goes downhill throughout the series. Thanks for the well-written review!

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 03 Sep 2019, 10:41
by Rachel Lea
I'm also fascinated by stories that include Japanese culture and folklore, but it's unfortunate that the author's writing style came across as bland and dry. Thanks for your honest review!

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 03 Sep 2019, 12:00
by esp1975
While the Japanese are famous for not showing their emotions, that does not mean they don't have them. It is too bad that author isn't more skilled at bringing character emotions into these books.

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 03 Sep 2019, 15:52
by Laila_Hashem
The idea behind this book seems quite unique, and it explores a topic I am not very knowledgeable about, which makes me more willing to read it. Great review!

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 03 Sep 2019, 23:40
by Momiji1987
KDJ wrote:
01 Sep 2019, 13:07
Thank you for your review. I have not heard of this series, but it sounds interesting. I enjoy reading stories that include cultural and historical elements. I think I will pass on this one for now because of the lack of character descriptions. I have a good imagination but sometimes need it to be emersed in a story. Did you think book six could be read as a stand-alone or should readers start with book one of the series? :?:
I read the book as a stand-alone and didn’t have too much trouble with it as far as plot and storyline. Where it suffered for me was character, so I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t read the prior books in the series (thus lacking the history I needed to care), or if the writing is just the author’s style, but it was hard for me to connect with them sometimes, even though I really wanted to. I guess the best judge would be yourself. Read a sample and then decide if you want to read the previous books first. If given a choice, I would probably try the first book just to see if the introduction of the characters is better than this book was at bringing them to life.

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 06 Sep 2019, 08:15
by Wyland
I hope to read this to get some insights into the plight of these Japanese comfort girls. Thanks for your insightful review.

Re: Official Review: The Dragon Sisters by Claire Youmans

Posted: 23 Oct 2019, 11:57
by SunVixen
"The writing was dry overall, which I found disappointing, so I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. "

Is this book really that dry? :shock: