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gripping Mulan sequel
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FEATHER AND FLAME is an engaging YA historical fantasy in the form of a sequel to Mulan. After the war, Mulan had settled at home and begun training and empowering young women as part of a local militia. One day, Shang shows up needing to bring her to the Imperial City to meet with the Emperor, and Mulan arrives to discover that the Emperor has chosen an heir - her.

As Mulan takes power, she will face threats to her rule from the inside and outside. As things escalate, Mulan will need to rely on herself and her wits if she has any hope of saving China once again.

What I loved: This was a riveting and engaging read. The sequel element certainly comes into play with familiar characters and personalities, and the book captures the feelings and atmosphere of the movie well. There are several new characters introduced as well that were just as compelling, particularly Liwen and Zhonglin. While an appreciation for the film/story will certainly up the appeal of this book, the book could stand alone, as the plot is well-explained.

A particularly intriguing element of the story is in the connection with ancestors and the supernatural that extends from the original and is really a powerful element here. The connection Mulan has with her grandmother is threaded throughout the book and expanded from what the reader may already know. The traditions of the women who came before was well-researched and provides a historical anchor to increase the world-building. I particularly enjoyed how this element brought some twists and turns and was a critical catalyst throughout the book.

What left me wanting more: I really loved the relationship between Mulan and Shang, and I would have loved more time with the two of them together. The relationship is maintained at surface level and with deep respect/understanding, and they are quite a fantastic couple.

Final verdict: An engaging and compelling sequel, FEATHER AND FLAME is a must-read for fans of Mulan. Highly recommend picking up this delightful new read.
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