Monday, October 10, 2011

Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" by Cameron Dokey

Wild Orchid: A Retelling of
"The Ballad of Mulan"
by Cameron Dokey

Summary from Goodreads:

"Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight. Tomboyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call.

But Mulan never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in the commander of her division, Prince Jian. For all of Mulan's courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?"


Not exactly a tale that I find memorable and exciting. I appreciated the first parts of this book but as the story progressed, I came to notice how shallow and uneventful it turned out to be.

I didn’t get to know the characters very well. Mulan’s character was fairly established but as for everyone else, I just got a glimpse or two of their names and not much of their personality. I also find that Mulan’s love interest, Prince Jian (…is that his name? correct me if I’m wrong.) a very unreal character. It feels forced when the author made them connect with each other, because first of all, we know Mulan pretended to be a boy so when they were having this deep conversation about their feelings, do you seriously believe guys would have that deep of a heart-to-heart talk when they’ve only met for like a couple of hours ago?

I’m really bothered by the pacing of the story. Almost half of the book talked about Mulan’s childhood, which was good but cannot really suffice for the lack of incidents that occurred with the remaining pages of the book. The events that followed was the preparation for war and the war itself which felt like a speeding car zooming across the highway, so fast that you didn’t even get the chance to see what kind of car passed by. Totally frustrating.

I also feel like there weren’t any challenging events for Mulan. Yes, they are on the verge of war and there are issues between the princes of the kingdom but there wasn’t any groundbreaking climax.

In spite all that, I do have to say that it wasn’t all bad. I love Mulan’s voice and the enriching relationship she was able to develop with her father and her stepmother. I love the idea of willing to sacrifice yourself for the happiness of your loved ones. 

1 comment:

  1. I am a huge fan of fairytale retellings though from your review I can see the points you've made. I too would probably be frustrated and bothered by the same things you did, but I'm glad to know it wasn't all bad.

    I've never heard of this book before and hadn't even read the original fairytale The Ballad of Mulan though Disney's Mulan is one of my all-time favorite movies. Though I think I'll set this book aside for now.

    Thanks for the honest review.


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