CHINA, ADA Warrior In DisguiseAll Her Life, Mulan Has Trained For One Purpose To Win The Duel That Every Generation In Her Family Must Fight If She Prevails, She Can Reunite A Pair Of Priceless Heirloom Swords Separated Decades Earlier, And Avenge Her Father, Who Was Paralyzed In His Own DuelThen A Messenger From The Emperor Arrives, Demanding That All Families Send One Soldier To Fight The Rouran Invaders In The North Mulan S Father Cannot Go Her Brother Is Just A Child So She Ties Up Her Hair, Takes Up Her Sword, And Joins The Army As A ManA War For A DynastyThanks To Her Martial Arts Skills, Mulan Is Chosen For An Elite Team Under The Command Of The Princeling The Royal Duke S Son, Who Is Also The Handsomest Man She S Ever Seen But The Princeling Has Secrets Of His Own, Which Explode Into Mulan S Life And Shake Up Everything She Knows As They Cross The Great Wall To Face The Enemy Beyond, Mulan And The Princeling Must Find A Way To Unwind Their Past, Unmask A Traitor, And Uncover The Plans For The Rouran Invasion Before It S Too LateInspired By Wuxia Martial Arts Dramas As Well As The Centuries Old Ballad Of Mulan, The Magnolia Sword Is Perfect For Fans Of Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, Or Kristin Cashore A Thrilling, Romantic, And Sharp Edged Novel That Lives Up To Its Beloved Heroine A Mulan retelling my heart says yes but my head says, you ve been burned before MULAN RETELLING Last time a book lured me in with the promise of a Mulan retelling, I was so disappointed because the storyline barely resembled Mulan, save for the fact that the heroine dressed as a boy yes, Flame in the Mist, I m looking at you But this premise sounds like an actual retelling Written by a Chinese American author who knows her shit So, you d better deliver me what you promise, book Be still my beating heart. FINALLYThis better be good The last couple Mulan retellings I read were garbage lol ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling ownvoices mulan retelling also hello title The Magnolia Sword sounds amazing Every woman has a great deal of experience presenting herself as someone other than who she is, since no girl is ever everything the world wants her to be. OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS This is, without a doubt, the BEST Mulan retelling I have ever read Granted, I don t remember having read a huge number of Mulan retellings But this one is definitely still the best, by any margin It s gloriously well researched, with spectacular characterisation and writing, and though I ve rounded down because I m a stingy bitch this is really 4.5 stars.Nineteen year old Hua Mulan has spent her life masquerading as her dead twin brother She s trained and trained for one purpose one day soon, she will have to meet a young man named Kai in a duel Their families have been rivals for generations, and every generation, two representatives are forced into combat The prize Ownership of the swords Heart Sea and Sky Blade, two swords of extraordinary quality and craftsmanship.Currently, each family owns one sword Mulan s father s duel ended in a tie, but it left him paralysed, so she will also have to avenge this insult when the time comes for her own duel Her skill at weaponry is second to none In her own words I can make getting hit with a lotus seed paste bun hurt Give me a walnut and I will break a man s jaw. Just as the day of the duel approaches, though, she s hit with news It turns out the duel won t be taking place after all The country is under imminent threat of invasion from the Rourans across the Great Wall of China, and Kai whose face Mulan has never actually seen is postponing it, since every available male has been conscripted into the army.Every available male does, of course, also include Mulan, since she s officially registered as male So she sets off to the encampment but she has no intention of dying in battle Instead, she attaches herself to the personal warrior band of the princeling, cousin to the emperor, assuming he s too important to see real fighting.Can I just pause here for a moment and say how much I LOVED Mulan s thought process here She s patriotic, but not blindly so she s smart and pragmatic enough to know that she doesn t want to die on the battlefield, and she doesn t care if other people would label her a coward for it I found this aspect of her character way realistic than the idealistic na fs I ve read about in other books.Unfortunately for her, she s incorrect about the princeling not seeing real war But that ends up being alright, because she very quickly discovers that Kai and the princeling are one and the same The discovery shatters some of the things she s always believed about herself, her father, and the fateful duel which paralysed him Moreover, the princeling is still unaware that she s female, despite their growing friendship.The rest of the novel is a wonderfully detailed account of a single moment from China s immense history Thomas researched the HELL out of this thing Her author s note says it better than I could, but she s done her absolute best to recreate the world of Mulan in historical fiction It was slightly confusing at times, yet never boring That s also because of her brilliant characterisation almost every single character was fully fleshed out, and their motivations were explored in painstaking detail.Also, I LOVED the really immersive look at Chinese culture we got The matchmakers, the intense level of respect towards one s elders, the elaborate courtly language it all helped to build the atmosphere, even if Thomas s descriptions of physical places was sometimes weak.It was a quick read, so I won t say much beyond the fact that the romance was subtle but fairly satisfying The girl dressed as boy aspect was one of the believable ones I ve seen in the book world, though I wish we knew what she did when she got her period Overall It didn t really bring a new twist to the old story of Mulan, or anything like that, but it was lovely to read ARC received in exchange for an honest review thank you Blog Bookstagram This is the first novel I signed up as an editor at Lee Low, and it has all the excellent things you want a Mulan retelling to have a Mulan who s figuring out who she is, an epic sweep in the war against the Northerners, family drama, terrific fight scenes, romance I ve loved reading every draft, and I think readers will love it too. I don t usually do early reviews, but when I do, it s because the book was very good And this one is better than that This book is so sweet and elegant and with so much restraint There s not an extra ounce of fat in it but just the right amount to give it all the flavor everything has a reason to be, and the world is so seamlessly rendered that it was easy to just be in it and let the story take me where it wanted Mulan is a wonderful heroine, and so are all the the other characters The romance is subtle but incredibly satisfying and super swoony I really adored this novel And the story is so thematically rich but never overwhelming Just fabulous. So Freaking Good.Full review to come.
- 352 pages
- The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan
- Sherry Thomas
- 20 September 2017 Sherry Thomas