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The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan

by Sherry Thomas

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1244157,023 (4.05)None
When her ailing father is conscripted to fight invaders from the north, Mulan dresses as a man to take his place in the army, but an old enemy and an attraction for her troop's commander complicate her mission.



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A new take on the Mulan legend, with a focus on the political narrative which compels men to betray or fight and sends a country to war. The style leans toward that of a historical stage drama, with dialogue framed by strict social courtesies, and characters expressing near comical reactions.

Recommend for the historical perspective and Mulan’s crazy warrior skills.
( )
  Pascale1812 | Apr 16, 2020 |
This was a fabulous novel based on "The Ballad of Mulan" and written by Chinese-American author, Sherry Thomas. The research was meticulous adding historical detail to the story which I thoroughly enjoyed. Learning about Ancient Chinese culture and customs was fascinating.

Mulan was an inspirational protagonist. She was fierce, brave, scared and honest, and a skilled fighter. I also loved the romance that developed between her and Kai. They were so cute together and I adored them both. I also liked the relationships which formed between the various soldiers. They added humour, interest and depth to the novel.

Full of action, with loveable characters, martial arts and history, "The Magnolia Sword" was a very entertaining read. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Feb 26, 2020 |
Reviewed for the VPRC :I loved take on the Mulan story whereby the author looks more in depth at the problems facing Mulan trying to hide as her dead brother in amongst an army of soldiers . I liked how the author researched the topic and realized that unlike the Disney version of the story, Mulan would not have been fighting the Mongols or the Huns, but rather a group of ethnic Chinese called the Rouran who are determined to bring down the curent dynasty.
In this interpretation, we see Mulan battling against a masked family enemy in preparation for a duel that is soon to take place. The prize? Ownership of the Magnolia Sword and its counterpart Sky Blade and an end to the family hostilities. The practice duel ends with her opponent saying he wished they had met in another lifetime, so they could be friends.
Then enter soldiers recruiting for the war against the Rouran where a male from every family must volunteer to fight. In Mulan's family, her father is paralyzed from the waist down so he can't fight and her younger brother is too young to go in his place, so Mulan steps in and volunteers pretending to be her brother.
Once in the army, she quickly realizes that she will be discovered to be a woman when she can't go to the latrine pits with the others, so she offers herself as a bodyguard to a touring Princling by displaying her amazing martial art skills. ( )
  nicsreads | Nov 27, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sherry Thomasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chung, ChristinaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When her ailing father is conscripted to fight invaders from the north, Mulan dresses as a man to take his place in the army, but an old enemy and an attraction for her troop's commander complicate her mission.

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