Cover image for Before the sword
Title:
Before the sword
ISBN:
9781368020336
Physical Description:
374 pages ; 22 cm.
Geographic Term:
Summary:
New York Times bestselling author Grace Lin pens this novel filled with adventure and wonder set before the upcoming Walt Disney Studios Mulan film.
Holds:

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

New York Times bestselling author Grace Lin pens this novel filled with adventure and wonder set before the upcoming Walt Disney Studios Mulan film.


Author Notes

Grace Lin won the Newbery Honor award for her novel "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon".

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this original fantasy prequel to Disney's 2020 live-action Mulan film by Lin (A Big Mooncake for Little Star), Hua Mulan accompanies the Jade Rabbit of Chinese lore on a quest to save Mulan's younger sister, Xiu. A formidable, shape-shifting foe named Daji, the White Fox; Daji's pitiable servant, Xianniang, the Red Fox; and a few Chinese Immortals round out the cast. When a nine-legged spider bites the perfect, demure Xiu, she falls ill. Mulan, along with her beloved horse, Black Wind, is sent to fetch a healer visiting the next village. Revealed to be the Jade Rabbit, the Healer discloses that Xiu has been poisoned by Daji and will die if not given the antidote "before the night of the new moon." Because a Hua daughter is prophesied to save the Emperor, Daji is intent on Xiu's death. With the Jade Rabbit also poisoned by Daji, and waylaid at every step by Daji and her minions, Mulan has her work cut out for her. In the midst of this fast-paced quest, Lin's distinctive peppering of folkloric tales throughout the narrative adds engaging layers, providing backstory and fleshing out characters' relationships and motives. Ages 8--12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Feb.)


Kirkus Review

Before becoming the legendary Chinese warrior, Mulan had to face her own demons.A prophecy tells of a young girl who will grow up to save the emperor. Motivated by past grievances, the White Fox demon, Daji, strives to stop the prophecy by injecting that girlXiuand her healer with a powerful poison. Desperate to save Xiu (though ignorant of her sister's portended role in the future), Xiu's sister, Mulan, aids the injured healerwho's revealed to be Jade Rabbit, an immortal with powers of his own. The Rabbit tells Mulan that they must travel to the garden of the Queen Mother of the Immortals to retrieve a rare plant needed for the cureby the night of the new moon, before the poison reaches the victims' vitals. Mulan and the Rabbit ride off to their uncertain future on Mulan's horse, Black Wind, with a mix of dread and hope. As the Rabbit and his powers grow weaker by the hour, Mulan constantly battles her insecurities regarding her own identity and abilities vis--vis her expected traditional role in society. Daji also pays her visits, laying temptations and traps with the help of Red Fox, her accomplice. As usual, Lin artfully develops captivating characters with rich histories. Traditional tales are interspersed throughout the tightly written narrative to gradually reveal a complex web of legends and adventure that seamlessly blend together into one alluring saga. (A partial bibliography of Chinese tales and traditions is appended.)A legendary tale for a legendary figure. (afterword) (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Harnessing her talent for storytelling and relating Chinese myths, Lin imagines a compelling account of Mulan's pre-warrior days, told in a style reminiscent of her Where the Mountain Meets the Moon books. The novel opens as an otherworldly spider bites Mulan's sister, Xiu, sending her to death's doorstep. Frantic to save her, Mulan fetches a famous healer, who reveals Xiu can only be cured with a decoction made from a flower grown in the garden of the Queen of the Immortals. Mulan joins the healer a disguised immortal on his journey for the flower, but dangerous obstacles plague the pair from the start, courtesy of the wicked White Fox. The ensuing tale is a sweeping adventure that tests Mulan and reveals her strengths and destiny. It's also filled with stories told by characters richly drawn from Chinese myths (particularly that of the Jade Rabbit) and history, which Lin details in an appended note. Exciting action, humor, and warm-heartedness course through the narrative for a spirited, uplifting read.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a live-action Disney film in the works and an increasingly woke public, Lin's original Mulan story will be welcomed by many.--Julia Smith Copyright 2020 Booklist