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

Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O'Malley
A captivating retelling of the story of Grace O’Malley, the...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Let's Call It a Doomsday
There are many ways the world could end. A fire....
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The moment I declared the last word, I felt a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Surface Breaks: A Reimagining of The Little Mermaid
Think you know the story of the Little Mermaid? Think...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights
By her fourteenth birthday, Babe Killingsworth measures 6ʹ9ʺ and weighs...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Girl Who Loved Ghosts
She’d do anything to save her friends and family. But...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
#Murderfunding (#MurderTrending, #2)
WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC?, the latest...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Truman
After his best friend Sarah leaves for her first day...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Day the Universe Exploded My Head: Poems to Take You into Space and Back Again
Hang on tight for a raucous bounce through the solar...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Blue Key
Seleste is turning sixteen. A milestone birthday. A birthday that...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fallen Empires (Cleopatra in Space #5)
Cleo goes into hiding after a mysterious death at Yasiro...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
The Season
Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued; in...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The Exact Opposite of Okay
Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend,...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Girl Gone Viral
For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Patron Saints of Nothing
A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
This Time Will Be Different
For fans of Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, and Sandhya Menon,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Let's Call It a Doomsday
 
4.3
"LET'S CALL IT A DOOMSDAY follows Ellis, a teenager who is Mormon and has an anxiety disorder. Eliis is in..."
My Ideal Boyfriend is a Croissant
 
4.3
"Sixteen-year-old Bluebelle, or BB/Big Bones, loves herself. Forget that others say she's fat. After a recent asthma attack, she has..."
The Exact Opposite of Okay
 
3.3
"THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY is a book that tackles sexism and slut-shaming. Written as a series of journal entries,..."
This Time Will Be Different
 
5.0
"THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT is an engaging YA contemporary with strong underlying messages about racism and social activism. With..."
As Far as the Stars
 
3.3
"AS FAR AS THE STARS is a slow-burning book about overwhelming grief. Air (Ariadne) is a high schooler with heaps..."
Don't Date Rosa Santos
 
5.0
"DON’T DATE ROSA SANTOS is a sweet and touching book about family. Rosa lives with her grandmother, and she sees..."
Not Now, Not Ever
 
4.0
"Lily Anderson’s sophomore novel follows Elliot "Ever" Gabaroche during an intense summer program to compete for a scholarship. It’s Not..."
The Beautiful Lost
 
3.3
"A first-person past-tense telling exclusively from the perspective of Maia, a depressed high school sophomore with some ambitious—if half-formed—plans for..."
10 Blind Dates
 
4.7
"10 BLIND DATES is the must-read romantic comedy of the fall! Sophie is staying with her grandparents and her very..."
The Last True Poets of the Sea
 
5.0
"THE LAST TRUE POETS OF THE SEA is a beautiful coming-of-age story. After her brother attempts suicide, he is sent..."
No Place Like Here
 
4.7
"When Ashlyn’s father goes to prison and her mother goes to rehab for depression, her world falls apart. Ashlyn’s father..."
No Place Like Here
 
4.0
"NO PLACE LIKE HERE is an engaging and summery YA contemporary that emphasizes healing and friendship. Ashlyn is at the..."
Secrets of a Fangirl
 
5.0
"Sarah Anne is the biggest fan of the MK Nightshade series, but it's taboo in the popular world of her..."
Secrets of a Fangirl
 
4.0
"SECRETS OF A FANGIRL is a fun contemporary middle grade about embracing yourself for who you are and what you..."
The Dark Beneath the Ice
 
4.0
"THE DARK BENEATH THE ICE is a stunningly written YA horror that follows Marianne as she starts losing time, sees..."
Scream Site
 
4.0
"After reading Justina Ireland's YA, Dread Nation, which has a solid amount of scare, I was ecstatic to pick up..."
Overturned
 
5.0
"Top 3 reasons you need to read Overturned by Lamar Giles (and read the rest of his books while you're..."
We Contain Multitudes
 
5.0
"WE CONTAIN MULTITUDES is an epistolary fiction/YA contemporary that will stick with me for a long time. Told in letters..."
The Voice in my Head
 
4.3
"THE VOICE IN MY HEAD begins with Indigo standing on a building, praying to God for her sister to live..."
No Place Like Here
 
3.0
"NO PLACE LIKE HERE by Christina June is a YA contemporary novel set in the Pennsylvania wilderness. Ashlyn, an admittedly..."