Hello, folksies! Sorry for straight-out abandoning my normal posting schedule– it’s been a crazzzyyyy week, what with catching up with school after five weeks of vacation and all. But I have a book review of Melanie Dickerson’s latest novel, The Warrior Maiden, a retelling of Hua Mulan and the most recent installment in her Hagenheim fairytale series. 🙂
When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.
Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.
From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. 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. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was 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.
I’ve been waiting to read this book since I first saw its premise on Amazon/Goodreads, and, although it’s not my favorite of Ms. Dickerson’s works, it was still a lovely read.
The characters were as likable and relatable as her other ones– or at least, most of them were. While I loved Mulan’s kick-butt but slightly self-concious nature and was intrigued by Steffan’s arc (which, by the way, I really hope will be expanded on– maybe he’ll get his own fairytale? *hopeful grin*), Wolfgang, the hero, was a little meh… too bland. I wish he had more development, or im the least a little more personality.
I also wish the other side characters had more screentime… Mulan’s mother and Andrei were both great characters. Such fun to read about them!
Now the plot… It was pretty good. Had me reading. But in retellings, I typically focus more on how the actual retelling itself is pulled off.
The story of Hua Mulan is a tale very near and dear to my heart, which is part of the reason why I was so eager to read this book. The other part, pshh, Asian rep, xD. Mulan is only half Mongolian,which was quite a unique twist on the Chinese factor! … except for the fact that this book was set enirelgly in Europe, which was an interesting surprise. I will say though, that I was slightly disappointed upon seeing that the author took cues from the Disney movie instead of the original story– it always irks me when retellings do that, and in this case I didn’t expect it since Ms. Dickerson’s other retellings always went after the original versions of things.
Some parts were a little preachy… but still overall a great book. 3.5 stars. 🙂 (And waiting for her next book.)
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. A positive review was not required; all views and opinions expressed are my own.*
There’s my review. 😉 I’m putting up another post later today, though, so… yeah. Look forward to Part II in our Snow Queen adventure. 😀 Which I’m pretty sure most of you will only see tomorrow. xD Ah, time zones, aren’t they troublesome…
Until a few hours later,