Young-hee and the Pullocho by Mark James Russell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A young Korean girl lost her brother to a goblin in a magical land. In order to save him she took on a quest to find and retrieve a powerful and mythical root called Pullocho.
I found the story enjoyable but had some minor issues with it having to do with plot consistency and filler paragraphs. The story had an epic fantasy feel even though there was a transition from modern world to magical land. In epic fantasy you expect the main character and companions to have moments when they need food and shelter. However in this book it was extended so much it became mundane and a little boring. As for the plot issues, certain things were mentioned but never made sense when I looked at the story as a whole.
Now for the aspects I enjoyed a lot.
There was the fact that this is Fantasy based in Korean folklore and mythology. I really appreciated how each step of Young-Hee's adventures came with a matching Korean folk tale.
As a reader you will be exposed to a few Korean words that absolutely take nothing away from the story. Some I even recognized from watching Korean Dramas.
I loved seeing the main character struggle with her emotions toward her little brother. The brother she loved but also couldn't help dislike because he could be such an annoying four-year old. On top of everything, her life was falling apart with her Dad not being around anymore and her Mom having to do so much to keep things going.
In the end this was a promising story that felt a little under-developed. I enjoyed it but didn't love it. If you like reading fantasy set in cultures other that European, this book is for you. Also the book being a debut Middle Grade novel, I'm definitely interested in reading more work like this one from the author in the future.
In case anyone is interested in the meaning of the Korean words, they are available on the author's website.