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Wild Orchid: A Retelling of The Ballad of…
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Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" (Once Upon a Time) (edition 2009)

by Cameron Dokey, Mahlon F. Craft (Designer)

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2051357,211 (3.43)2
Member:rbernard907
Title:Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" (Once Upon a Time)
Authors:Cameron Dokey
Other authors:Mahlon F. Craft (Designer)
Info:Simon Pulse (2009), Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:***
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Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" (Once Upon a Time) by Cameron Dokey

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I truly, deeply love Cameron's retelling of almost all tales, and this one was another beautiful rendition. I can totally see how this came about. The flowers and the beauty. I've always loved this tale. And this just made it even more so. The mother and the step-mother and her father and best friend. I spent so much of this book smiling while I read it. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Jul 24, 2013 |
Not the most elaborate or exciting among retellings but very nice writing and rhythm. A more conventional retelling, I believe. ( )
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
This series of fairytale retellings caught my eye as something that might be fun and quick to read. It was both. This story is a sweet little romance, with a strong female character at the centre, and it's not one of the typical Western fairytales either, though most of the rest of the series is.

While I enjoyed it, and read it very quickly, I wouldn't give it three stars because it is in no way historically accurate or culturally plausible. There's tiny hints at research into Chinese customs, but it doesn't come alive for me -- not in the way that, say, Cindy Pon's [b:Silver Phoenix|5577995|Silver Phoenix (Kingdom of Xia, #1)|Cindy Pon|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1227650930s/5577995.jpg|5749199] does. And while there's more depth to it than in a fairytale, it doesn't really manage to give it depth, or strength, or the great sweetness that could be in it. There are some lovely passages, actually, but most of the time it's prosaic, the first person narration isn't very distinctive, and the story could be set anywhere, with any characters.

Which is not to say that it's not fun to sit with it on a quiet evening, and it's reasonably absorbing -- I did read it all in one go, after all -- but it doesn't have the depth and life that I hoped for. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Mulan's mother died in childbirth, leaving her father heart-broken. He can't bring himself to come home from the battlefield and visit the child who cost his beloved wife her life. When he finally does return home after the emperor dismisses him, he finds Mulan a young teen who very much has a mind of her own. She is a brilliant, talented girl. Her best friend Li Po teaches her to read and write and shoot a bow and arrow. Her caretaker teaches her embroidery. Of course there are bumps along the way as Mulan and her father get to know each other for the first time. But when the Emperor summons his men to fight the Huns, Mulan knows that she can't let her injured father go fight as a regular soldier. Those archery lessons just might come in handy after all.

This was a decent book, but I have a couple of complaints. I was excited to read a non-Western fairy tale re-telling. And while I did enjoy the story, and I really liked Mulan herself, this book stayed a little too faithful to what I know of the legend from the Disney movie. I enjoy re-tellings that add an unusual twist to the story, or develop characters more fully. I don't really feel like I got that here. Mulan was pretty well-developed, but I can't say the same for any of the other characters. There are two separate love stories, and I have to say that I was surprised by both. Sure, I knew they were going to happen, but it was just sort of like they met and they were in love. There was no buildup to it. Also, the ending felt a bit rushed. I don't know what could have been done to change that, but I read the big crashing climax and was left thinking, "That's it? All this build up for that?"

Those complaints aside, I did like Mulan a lot. I wouldn't call myself a tomboy, but neither can I imagine mindlessly embroidering my life away. I wouldn't have the guts to do what Mulan did though, and I admire her for doing it. It's always fun to read about characters who do what you can only dream of.

I'm being harder on this than I really intended to be. It wasn't bad, I just think that it could have been better. As it is, I'll probably quickly forget that I ever read it. If you don't mind such a straight-forward telling of the story, you will probably enjoy this one. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
4.5 stars

This is my favorite "Once Upon a Time" novel so far! It drew me in from the very beginning and held my interest the entire time. My love for all things Asian and the fact that Mulan is one of my very favorite Disney movies man have had some effect on that....

I saw some complaints among the reviews that the first HALF of the book was Mulan's back story, and that more time should have been spent on the fighting and love story. I definitely wouldn't have minded some more love story (no argument there), but the fighting? Meh... It wasn't very long, but I thought it was a good amount. My biggest complaint was what happened to one of the characters near the end.... Grrrr... But yeah, the love story definitely could have been more involved.

I liked that Mulan learned her "hero" skills during her childhood—it made her character unique from other tellings I've heard. I also liked the emotional elements involving her father and his past, and how that tied to Mulan's decision to enter the Chinese army in his place. The entire story seemed to really come full circle in all the details as well, which I also love. :)

Overall, a nice and cute interpretation of the Mulan story! Now if someone would write a "Once Upon a Time" Robin Hood retelling, my life would be complete! ( )
  saraferrell | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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For Suzanne, Rosa, Anne, Sara, and Michel, the gang at Cameron Catering without whose support Mulan's adventures would not have been possible
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When the wild wood orchids bloom in the spring, pushing their brave faces from beneath the fallen leaves of winter, that is when mothers like to take their daughters on their knees and sing to them "The Ballad of Mulan," the story of a girl who saved all of China.
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The Emperor of China summons a great army, and each family must send a male to fight. Tomboyish Mulan, who can wield sword and bow and arrow as deftly as an embroidery needle, is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call. But when she finds a friend and soul mate in her commander, Prince Jian, will she be brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with him?… (more)

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