LIA PARK AND THE HEAVENLY HEIRLOOMS, by Jenna Yoon, Aladdin, May 30, 2023, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Jenna Yoon’s debut character returns with a mission to protect important magical objects from a dangerous enemy in Lia Park and the Heavenly Heirlooms.
Twelve-year-old Lia Park and her best friend, Joon, are now full-time students at International Magic Academy after defeating corrupt diviner Gaya, and their first assignment is an ambitious one. The evil nine-headed monster and King of Darkness, Jihaedaegukjeok, wants to destroy the three Heavenly Heirlooms that create fire and light to plunge the world into darkness and destroy humanity.
The heirlooms can only be destroyed if they are all together, so over time, they have been hidden carefully with magic. Except now, one of them is missing. Lia, Joon, and their classmates have been tasked with recovering the lost heirloom and bringing it to IMA for safekeeping. They expected the task to be difficult, but the number of obstacles the magic trainees run into makes Lia start to wonder if the sabotage could be coming from someone inside the school. —Synopsis provided by Aladdin
If you haven’t already read the first book in the Lia Park series, Lia Park and the Missing Jewel, then Lia Park and the Heavenly Heirlooms won’t make sense. The first book begins in and jumps through the “real world,” giving readers a starting place from which they can explore magical elements. The second book pretty much jumps right in, assuming that you already have a knowledge of the magical world that Jenna Yoon has crafted.
The setting this time around is different, too. At this point, Lia and Joon have been accepted into school and are getting settled in. Students are divided into houses; they get specialized training; and are matched with magical weapons. And because Lia and Joon are now at school, there’s a lot more interaction with kids their own age. It changes the dynamics of the series and creates new entry points for drama and friendship.
What stays the same, however, is Yoon’s clear and accessible prose that weaves Korean words and culture throughout. Lia remains a strong character who has learned to use her wits as much as her magical skills. She’s still adjusting to her magic, and that adds to the excitement.
Lia Park and the Heavenly Heirlooms is a strong sequel that will have readers clamoring for more. It’s full of adventure, mystery and magic.
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