Review Detail

Not Disney's Mulan...
Overall rating 
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
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.

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.

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)

Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0


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


Latest Book Listings Added

The Unleashed
0.0 (0)
In the terrifying sequel to The Haunted, Hendricks discovers that...
Paint by Sticker Kids: Dinosaurs: Create 10 Pictures One Sticker at a Time!
0.0 (0)
Create pictures of 10 awesome dinosaurs... with stickers! ...
0.0 (0)
From Benji Davies, the award-winning creator of The Storm Whale...
Go Get 'Em, Tiger! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
0.0 (0)
The perfect picture book to celebrate every milestone from the...
A World of Opposites
0.0 (0)
From ALONE and TOGETHER to ABOVE and BELOW, Gray Malin’s...
The Voting Booth
0.0 (0)
From Stonewall Award-winning author Brandy Colbert comes an all-in-one-day love...
Now & When
0.0 (0)
For fans of Jenny Han and Christine Riccio comes a...
Dating Makes Perfect
0.0 (0)
The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because...
Now That I've Found You
0.0 (0)
Now That I've Found You is a YA novel about...
0.0 (0)
Sometimes love gets a bit twisted. ...
A Girl in Three Parts
0.0 (0)
I can split myself in two . . . something...
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
0.0 (0)
Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of...

Latest Member Reviews

A Girl in Three Parts
"A GIRL IN THREE PARTS by Suzanne Daniel is a novel set in Sydney, Australia during the 1970’s. It follows..."
Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine, #1)
"Andra went into cryonic sleep for a hundred years for a trip across the universe to wake up as a..."
Honor Lost (The Honors, #3)
"HONORS LOST continues the Honors series as Zara, crew, and friends head out on a mission to stop the horrors..."
10 Things I Hate About Pinky
"10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY is a cute YA romance that features a fake-turned-real relationship and opposites-attract couple. Pinky..."
Not Another Love Song
"Different than I was expecting - and that’s a good thing! The story: All..."
Jo & Laurie
"Jo March is surprised at how well her novel LITTLE WOMEN has done. Now her publisher and readers want a..."
An Enchantment of Ravens
"I'm not very into reading fantasy (so I might not be the best person to review this). But I was..."
Cracked Up To Be
"Cracked up to be is an unsettling tale of a girl on the cusp of a mental breakdown for over..."
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
"THE MORNING FLOWER continues the OMTE ORIGINS story as Ulla continues to search for her heritage and for the missing..."
None of the Above
"This is one of those books that a reader can learn from. This is the first YA book that I..."
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
"THE LOST CITY is a highly engaging YA fantasy read about Ulla, a troll. Trolls are secretive creatures who live..."
"'Layoverland' by Gabby Noone, despite being about a teenager who has died, ironically creates a very inviting atmosphere for readers..."
Summer and July
"'Summer and July' by Paul Mosier is a beautifully written story perfect for summer reading. Readers will find themselves immersed..."
A Wicked Magic
"Friends Dan and Liss find a Black book of magic and try a spell. Only the spell goes terribly..."
Scarlet Odyssey
"SCARLET ODYSSEY is a high fantasy that takes place in a world at war. Men are often raised to be..."
Tigers, Not Daughters
"TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS is a lyrical book of sisterhood and grief. The Torres sisters had tried to escape their father..."
Tyler Johnson Was Here
"The fallout and protests following police choking George Floyd to death in Minnesota has consumed social media for the last..."
when you were everything
"WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING by Ashley Woodfolk is a YA Contemporary novel told in two timelines, “then” and “now.” The..."
Path of Night (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #3)
"PATH OF NIGHT is another great installment of the books based on the Netflix show, CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA. This..."
Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2)
"UNRAVEL THE DUSK is an enchanting sequel and finale to a unique YA fantasy. Maia is a tailor who dreamed..."