Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0

Not Disney's Mulan...

Reader reviewed by Lexie

Wild Orchid is part of the YA Romance line of books 'Once Upon a Time' from Simon & Schuster. I've been with this series since the very beginning (The Storyteller's Daughter, Cameron Dokey 2002) and so far only two books have let me down in any great way. Wild Orchid
holds a special place for me because in 1998 I fell in love the Disney
Animation 'Mulan', and while realizing even then that Disney liked to
romanticize their movies a great deal, the story itself fascinated me.
To be certain I read the english translation of the originator (Ballad
of Mulan) and laughed myself silly over the changes.

I
went into the book with similar expectations as that of the Disney
counterpart. Its short, just over 199 pages and the first half is
almost exclusively about Mulan's childhood and how she was different
from other girls her own age. I got worried when the next quarter of
the book dealt with her father returning home and yet there was still
no mention of Mulan running off to war. Her actual time in the army was
short, couldn't have been over a month (in the ballad she was in the
army for 12 years!) and almost immediately she singles herself out for
notice. This portion of the book--that of her army exploits and meeting
Prince Jian--seemed very rushed and hurried.

We
meet Jian's two older brothers--Ying the oldest and Guang the second
oldest--but very little time is given to either one. We are told that
Ying is a subtle thinker and less warrior then scholar. We are told and
briefly shown that Guang is a manipulative person, very deep in court
intrigues and secrets. I would have liked to see the two more,
especially Ying since I didn't understand why his brothers respected
him enough to halt their bickering.

Then also the
romance between Jian and Mulan is quick and almost literally love at
first sight for Mulan (then in the guise of Hua Gong-shi). Later when
Jian admits he feels as if their hearts beat as one, still believing
Mulan is a male foot soldier under his command, I couldn't help but
wonder that he didn't seem at all worried by this. Is it so normal then
for a commander and foot soldier be so attuned with each other? Over an
archery match no less?

Still I enjoyed this
novel. It wasn't exactly what I wanted as a retelling of of the Ballad,
but it at least built up her background much better then I could have
hoped for. Incidentally reports vary about Hua Mulan--her origins, when
she fought etc. Some report that she was trained in warfare early on in
life, as was normal for daughters of ranking military officiers. The
book however makes it clear that its considered unladylike. Also some
reports say that Mulan told her father outright her plans. So I wonder
at what pieces Dokey took from which sources to make up the fabric of
the story.

(Reprinted here with author's permission)


Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

There’s no stopping a prophecy. Solaris and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Secrets have a way of coming out. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Days of the Dead
Glorieta Magdalena Davis Espinosa is happy that Papi married Alice....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Amelia Bedelia Digs In (Amelia Bedelia Chapter Books #12)
In the twelfth chapter book in the New York Times–bestselling...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
QUANTUM
Seventeen-year-old student pilot, Willow Ryan, can be in two places...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth (King & Kayla #4)
Kayla places her tooth in a Tooth Fairy pillow, but...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Summer Bird Blue
A mixed race teen struggles to find her way back...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Starfish
A William C. Morris Award Finalist A New...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Truth Lies Here
In small town Michigan, Penny, an aspiring journalist, teams...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Looking Glass
GIRLS IN TROUBLE. That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Something of Substance
Seventeen-year-old Grace Michaels is determined to be thin, even...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Death by the River
SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET. SOME SECRETS...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Soraya: A Wielders of Arantha Prequel
On the planet Elystra, the all-female Ixtrayu tribe have...
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Scream All Night
A darkly hilarious contemporary realistic young adult novel about...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Touch of Gold
King Midas once had the ability to turn all...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet the Sky
From award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes a new young adult...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Truth Lies Here
 
4.0
"THE TRUTH LIES HERE by Lindsey Klingele is a young adult, sci-fi novel set in Bone Lake, Michigan. This little..."
Scream All Night
 
5.0
"I am NOT a Horror fan. I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to the genre, be it..."
Meet the Sky
 
4.3
"Meet the Sky is an ably-written, well-paced contemporary YA—one which is perhaps best described as a pleasantly stormy beach read...."
A Touch of Gold
 
4.0
"When I read the synopsis for this book I was immediately intrigued. I love retellings and this book seemed right..."
Pretty Dead Girls
 
3.0
""Pretty Dead Girls" was an interesting YA thriller following Penelope (Pen/Penny) in the aftermath of a death of a frenemy,..."
Relic
 
4.0
" “Relic” is a historical paranormal novel about Maggie, a teenaged girl who lives with her brother, sister and parents..."
All Summer Long
 
4.0
" Austin and Bina have been inseparable friends since they were in diapers. The summer going into the eighth..."
The Darkest Legacy
 
4.3
"Five years have passed since the 'rehabilitation' camps have been shut down. Suzume 'Zu' is now seventeen years old and..."
The Turnaway Girls
 
3.7
"Delphernia lives in a cloister of turnaway girls on the island of Blightsend, and she's unable to do the one..."
The Looking Glass
 
4.0
"THE LOOKING GLASS by Janet McNally is a young adult novel set in the highly competitive world of aspiring New..."
Brightly Burning
 
3.3
"An ambitious work of YA speculative fiction—a post-apocalyptic premise fused with the plot of a beloved classic. I’d like..."
Give Me Some Truth
 
4.3
"Carson Mastick and Magpie "Maggi" Bokoni are two Native American high school students living on a reservation outside of Niagara..."
House of Ash
 
5.0
"I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I absolutely devoured it from start to..."
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over
 
4.7
"'Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over' by Shani Petroff captures the angst of romantic hardships and misunderstandings. When eighteen-year-old..."
The Opposite of Innocent
 
5.0
"'The Opposite of Innocent' is yet another fantastic novel-in-verse by the illustrious Sonya Sones. The story will draw readers in..."
Echo's Sister
 
5.0
"'Echo's Sister' by Paul Mosier is a realistic and heartwarming story that truly gets to the heart of the matter...."
Storm-Wake
 
3.3
"Moss has grown up on a magical island with Pa, his stories, and their dogs. The island is filled with..."
A Kiss in the Dark
 
3.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Macy is a likable, layered character and her narration flows easily. Even when my frustration mounted..."
Poe: Stories and Poems
 
5.0
"The perfect gift for any Poe fan, Gareth Hinds breathes life—and gory death—into some of the greatest works of Edgar..."
Who's That Girl
 
4.0
"I was drawn to this book because of the musical theme and it wasn’t disappointing. Who’s that girl is a..."