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The Magnolia Sword Ballad of Mulan Book Review ~ culture, history, romance, action, oh my

Updated: Nov 13

Book Review for 2020 Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Author: Sherry Thomas

Description from book

CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise All 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 duel.

Then 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 man.

A War for a Dynasty Thanks 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 late.

My impressions

Mulan is my favorite Disney character, probably because she’s a female Asian bad***.  Sherry Thomas’ re-imagined story, The Magnolia Sword Ballad of Mulan, stays true to the original Ballad of Mulan, improving upon and adding depth to its existing themes. This remake of Mulan is for an older audience (middle grade/ young adult) than its original counterpart, which allows for added layers of culture and history, which the author deftly weaves into the story. I found the glimpse into 5th century Chinese traditions of family honor, filial piety fascinating to read and culturally accurate. I'm usually not attracted to middle grade and young adult books but because this story is also chock-full of action, romantic intrigue, cliffhangers. oh my, I enjoyed it tremendously and would recommend it to both adults and young adults alike. I had never read one of Sherry Thomas’ books but now I’m a huge fan.

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