Cover image for The dragon egg princess
The dragon egg princess
First edition.
Physical Description:
244 pages : illustration ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
Ages 8-12
"A magicless boy, a fierce bandit leader, and a lost princess must join forces to save their worlds from foreign forces and a long-forgotten evil that lurks in an ancient magical forest"--


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Perfect for fans of Wing & Claw, this must-have middle grade novel is from We Need Diverse Books cofounder Ellen Oh!

"Filled with strange terrains, creatures, and magic, this is an enthralling read!"--Soman Chainani, author of the New York Times bestselling School for Good and Evil series

"A rich and wonderfully imagined story about the many ways young people can be powerful and the tremendous benefits of awakening your inner dragon." --Annie Ursu, National Book Award for Young People's Literature nominee for The Real Boy

"By drawing inspiration from Korean lore and culture, Ellen Oh is helping to reinvigorate the fantasy genre. Readers will love The Dragon Egg Princess for its humor, inventive magic, and thrilling action!" --Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author

In a kingdom filled with magic, Jiho Park and his family are an anomaly--magic doesn't affect them.

Jiho comes from a long line of forest rangers who protect the Kidahara--an ancient and mysterious wood that is home to powerful supernatural creatures. But Jiho wants nothing to do with the dangerous forest.

Five years ago, his father walked into the Kidahara and disappeared. Just like the young Princess Koko, the only daughter of the kingdom's royal family. Jiho knows better than anyone else the horrors that live deep in the magical forest and how those who go in never come back.

Now the forest is in danger from foreign forces that want to destroy it, and a long-forgotten evil that's been lurking deep in the Kidahara for centuries finally begins to awaken. Can a magic-less boy, a fierce bandit leader, and a lost princess join forces and save their worlds before it's too late?

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4--7--Three young people join forces to save a world where magic and technology uneasily coexist. In four of the Five Kingdoms, technology (internal combustion engines, automatic weapons, universal translators) is the norm, but in Joson magic still rules--except for Jiho Park and his sisters, who nullify magic. Five years after Joson's young Princess Koko disappears, the king's half-brother is attempting to usurp the throne. Desperate for work, 14-year-old Jiho takes a job with Omni Murtagh Inc, the company trying to forge a path through the Kidahara, the mysterious forest that protects Joson from the outside world. There, he and his newfound friends from all over the Five Kingdoms find themselves in a secret realm filled with magical beings, plus Princess Koko and Jiho's missing father. Koko is decidedly not human, and everyone is hunting her. Add to this the leader of a Robin Hood-esque community of bandits: 15-year-old Micah, who discovers just in time that she has become the unwitting pawn of the evil wizard Luzee, who has been pulling everyone's strings from her centuries' long imprisonment underneath a dormant volcano. Lots of action, magic, humor; a touch of family angst; and a modern feel in narration and details make this an easy sell for readers looking for plot more than character development. VERDICT Fans of "Harry Potter" and other magical tales that are rooted in the real world will find this series starter entertaining indeed.--Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

Publisher's Weekly Review

This Korean mythology--inspired adventure follows a teenager whose family legacy of magical nullification draws him into the schemes of those looking to exploit his home's resources. In Joson, a kingdom where magic holds strong despite other countries' technological advances, 14-year-old Jiho Park struggles with the expectation that he become a ranger like his paternal ancestors and protect the Kidahara, especially since his father voluntarily walked into the supernatural forest five years ago and never returned. Desperate to help his beleaguered family, Jiho agrees to serve as a guide for Omni Murtagh, a foreign company intent on razing the forest in the name of modernity--little realizing their even darker agenda. On the trail, Jiho must join a long-missing princess and the Kidahara's inhabitants to save the land. The world Oh conjures is populated by diverse and fanciful characters, but the juxtaposition of Jiho's secluded homeland and the modern trappings of the outside world is less effective than one might hope. Slight characterization and inconsistent pacing lead to a hasty climax and abrupt conclusion. Nevertheless, this enjoyable read should appeal to fantasy fans. Ages 8--12. Agent: Marietta B. Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Mar.)

Kirkus Review

Inspired by Korean folklore, this is a fresh yet ancient take on middle-grade fantasy, filled with magic, supernatural creatures, the rise of darkness, and a dragon. Jiho comes from a long line of forest rangers, protectors of the Kidahara, the magical woods in the center of the country. Five years ago, Jiho's father walked into the woods never to be seen again, just like Princess Koko. Joson's king, still pining for his daughter, is being challenged by his younger half brother, Prince Roku, who enlists foreign aid to wipe out the deadly forest in the name of progress. Jiho, whose very presence negates magic, must band together with a rich collection of magical forest creatures and kids from outside Joson to stop the awakening of Luzee, the dark sorceress bent on destroying the world. The plot meanders at the start but gathers enough speed to keep the pages turning. Familial betrayal, environmental destruction, and the trickiness of trust collide in an existential race to stop the devastation. Themes recognizable from fantasy favorites such as The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and even Harry Potter are reconfigured with Asian-inspired settings and multicultural characters whose names and appearances are both Asian- and Western-derived. The familiarity, however, is spiced with enough novelty to satisfy those who devour fantasy titles. With its quick pace, modern heroes, and choreographed action, this is a strong fantasy title with K-pop undertones. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Jiho descends from a line of rangers immune to magic, allowing them to patrol the magical Kidahara forest, in which, five years prior, his father disappeared--around the same time as the young princess Koko. When a political plot invites foreign, machine-wielding invaders to destroy the Kidahara, Jiho gets caught up in the forest's magical depths, where he and the princess unite to save the royal family from being overthrown and an ancient evil from being awoken. Oh, a cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, leans on tropes in her latest middle-grade fantasy, though an infusion of East Asian--inspired world building provides some freshness. Shifting points of view prepare readers for an impending betrayal, adding strong tension to the book's latter half, but clunky pacing throughout, along with thin characterization, detracts from the adventure in such a way that may disappoint fantasy-lovers but will nonetheless offer a fast-paced gateway--full of machine guns, magic, and shape-shifting dragons--for young newcomers to the genre.