If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.
In her disguise as a young man, Mulan meets Wolfgang, the German duke’s son who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.
From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets with one another. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Could she be the son her bitter father never had? Or would she become the strong young woman she has been created to be?
This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.
Synopsis from Amazon
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
I've loved the story of Mulan since watching the Disney version as a child (I used to run around singing "Reflections" as if my life was as difficult as hers *groan*). I was really excited when Thomas Nelson sent me an ARC of Warrior Maiden, which is a retelling of Mulan's story. Set in a different time and place, I was interested to see what Dickerson would do with Mulan's story.
Awkward Geographical Placement of Mulan
Either make her European or set the story in Asia, but keeping Mulan Asian for the sake of the original story was awkward and uncomfortable at parts. It felt like the author was trying too hard to force Mulan’s story into a timeline and country that she preferred. When I looked up the book, I did find that this is the eighth book in a series of retellings, so that helped me make sense of why Mulan was in this world, but it definitely still felt weird when reading it.
A Very Dependent Mulan
I will honestly tear up every time I watch the moment when Mulan is able to climb the post in the Disney movie; it’s the moment she absolutely proves that she can do anything the men can do, no exceptions required. With that moment in mind, I was often disappointed with how needy Mulan is in this book. She would have spurts of independence, only to succumb to allowing the prince to save her. She never seemed to fully grasp her power, but instead often relied on someone else to save her. While I can attribute some of this to the time period the story is written in, its still disappointing when realizing that the actual story of Mulan comes from feudal era China, when women were incredible repressed, and she was still able to fight alongside men.
Interested to Read the Other Stories
With all this said, I still thought this was a decent story and I would be interested in going back to the beginning of the series to read the books in order. Knowing that this is the 8th book makes me wonder if I’ve missed something that long-time readers of the series would appreciate more than me. I’m definitely willing to give the rest of the books a try (I do love my Disney princesses), but I think they’ll be lower on my TBR list. This retelling of Mulan didn’t spark a ton of hope that the other princesses will have strong plot lines, but I’m always willing to be proven wrong!
I have a feeling that people who’ve read the rest of the series will enjoy this book as it continues in the same world. However, I didn’t find this to be a strong standalone and I was largely disappointed with how Mulan’s story was retold. This was an average read for me and I’d probably only recommend it to people who have read more from Dickerson.
FINAL RATING: 3/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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