Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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

"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, tom-boyish 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?"

Wow! The Wild Orchid is brilliant! As a person who easily understands Chinese/Mandarin, I can quickly adjust to the crazy names and words. The Wild Orchid is recommended to anyone who loves the Disney movie Mulan and Mulan 2. As a more realistic version of Mulan, the Wild Orchid will delight readers everywhere. 

Even though this is a 'retelling of the Ballad of Mulan,' it's more like a retelling of the Disney movie. Without our favorite dragon, Mushu. Or our cricket. Or the proud, proud scribe, Chi Fu. Or the friendly hilarious trio soldiers. 

Fa Mulan is replaced by Hua Mulan. General/Captain Li Shang is replaced by Prince Jian, the third son of the emperor of China and the commander of Mulan's division. Some events are adjusted.

The plot and writing is good on the scale, but isn't my main concern. I'm unsatisfied with the battle scene. Remember that scene of the Huns attacking the army? Well, in the book, it feels as if the author, Cameron Dokey, rush things quickly. That scene lasted about a chapter or two. That is some chapter. 


Mulan. Now that's a more real character. It's impossible for the movie Mulan to actually be that strong within that amount of time. This Mulan has been training ever since she was young. She knows archery, sword fighting, and other manly skills. Instead of using the alias 'Ping,' she uses 'Hua Gong-shi' which literally means 'flower bow and arrow.' Hua meaning flower. Gong-shi meaning bow and arrow. She's unafraid to protect those she love. She is intelligent and understands true danger.

Prince Jian. He's similar in ways to Captain Li Shang. However, he's more skilled in archery than Li Shang. I never seem Li Shang shoot more than one arrow in the movie. 

Rating: Four out of five.

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