Cover image for The magnolia sword : a ballad of Mulan
Title:
The magnolia sword : a ballad of Mulan
ISBN:
9781620148044
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
348 pages ; 22 cm.
Added Uniform Title:
Mulan shi. English.
Summary:
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel. Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan's father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man. Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling--the royal duke's son, who is also the handsomest man she's ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan's life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it's too late.
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Summary

Summary

A Warrior in Disguise: All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralysed in his own duel. Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan's father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man. A War for a Dynasty: Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling - the royal duke's son, who is also the handsomest man she's ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan's life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Rich cultural references, intricate political machinations, and thrilling Wuxia elements distinguish this deftly woven Mulan retelling by Thomas (The Immortal Heights), who was born and raised in China. Hua Mulan, who publicly assumes her deceased twin brother's name, Hua Muyang, fills her days with projectile training alongside her father, caring for her seven-year-old brother, and secretly looking forward to the sporadic training sessions she has with Yuan Kai, a mysterious boy she is fated to duel with over a pair of matchless inherited swords. But mandatory conscription causes the match to be deferred, and Mulan enlists on behalf of her household. Her martial arts expertise earns her a role accompanying the royal duke's son, a young man who seems strangely familiar. As the Rouran invasion looms, Mulan and her companions must evade danger and uncover a traitor at court while unpacking their preconceived notions about family, fear, and nomadic tribes. Skillful martial arts scenes combine with crucial discourse on power, gender, and the impact of language on history in this gripping, thoughtfully layered reinterpretation. Ages 12--up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Sept.)


Horn Book Review

Mulan has studied martial arts since childhood to prepare for her generations duel against a rival family for possession of two legendary swords. But the duel is postponed after the government announces a conscription to raise troops against an enemy invasion from across the Great Wall, and Mulan must answer the calldisguised as her deceased twin brother. At the muster, Mulan is assigned to serve the royal dukes son. The princeling (who turns out to be none other than her rival for the swords) undertakes a covert intelligence mission across the Wall, and Mulan joins him and his team of trackers and fighters, going deep into enemy territory. Does the princeling suspect Mulans true gender, though? The portrayal of fifth-century China is engrossing, with descriptions of traditional foods, martial arts, and the flowery language of courtesy. The camaraderie among the princelings staff (and Mulans matchmaking between two of the men) will draw readers in, even as intrigue over a traitorous spy and a government coup heighten the suspense. It is Mulans story, howeverher rocky introduction to combat and her growth in valor, plus the growing attraction between her and the princelingthat makes this revisioning of the ancient Chinese legend (that also inspired the animated Disney feature, scheduled for an upcoming live-action treatment) such a captivating tale. anita l. burkam September/October 2019 p.104(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

New life is breathed into the ballad of Mulan.The Hua and Yuan families share a legacy: As caretakers of the deftly made swords Sky Blade and Heart Sea, each generation must fight to determine the next guardians of the swords. Hua Mulan has only known a life of being disguised as a boy, trained in weaponry by her father. What her father does not know is that Mulan already spars with her future duel partner. On the eve of the showdown, the Hua family receives a letter citing political unrest threatening the Yuans as a reason to withdraw from this year's duel. When the Hua family receives a conscription notice requiring one male per household to report for duty, Mulan enlists, quickly being recruited into the princeling's elite team for her skills. Mulan finds herself caught in a web of sabotage, battles, and strained loyalties, trying to maintain her own cover and handling the growing affection between the princeling and herself. While the resolution may seem too neat for some, Thomas (The Hollow of Fear, 2018, etc.) brings new dimensions to the iconic character, weaving emotional depth and ethnic political issues into the plot. She immerses readers in bustling city streets and freezing swaths of wilderness. Scaffolded by detailed research, the story is based on actual historic conflicts and artifacts.A refreshing new take that pays homage to a legendary character. (author's note, linguistic and historical notes) (Historical fiction. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.