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Wild Orchid: A Retelling of the Ballad of Mulan (Once Upon a Time Series)

Average Rating 4.5
( 91 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

Mulan's mother died during labor. Her father, a great General in the army, was heartbroken. He's never been home since he heard the news. Thus, Mulan lost both her parents on the same day.

Mulan is not your typical girl. Instead, she climbs trees and despises needlew...
Mulan's mother died during labor. Her father, a great General in the army, was heartbroken. He's never been home since he heard the news. Thus, Mulan lost both her parents on the same day.

Mulan is not your typical girl. Instead, she climbs trees and despises needlework. She meets the boy next door and the two of them form a friendship. He teaches her archery, how to ride a horse, how to use a sword, and, finally, how to read and write.

When her father comes home, everything changes. First, she must learn how to trust and obey him. Second, she must learn how to love him and her new stepmother. Just when she's finally found herself a new family, the Huns appear on the horizon of China. The men are called back to war.

Mulan, unwilling to let her father go with a bad leg and a new family, disguises herself and takes his place instead. Her first day there, she catches the ears of one of the king's sons. He engages her in an archery contest. From then on, Mulan is famous throughout the camp.

With the Huns quickly approaching, all three princes have different ideas on how to defend China. Mulan mistakenly speaks out during a strategizing session. Prince Jian immediately seizes her idea. But will it be enough to save China?

This new ONCE UPON A TIME addition weaves together the wonders of ancient China, a budding romance, a feisty girl, and the true meaning of both friendship and family in a fantastic fairy tale edition.

posted by TeensReadToo on April 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Wait is it over?

I have mixed feelings about this book. The story is good, I loved Mulan as a kid and I still sometimes watch it as a teenager, but I don't think this book does the story justice. The first half of the book is excellent. Dokey spends a good amount of time creating the...
I have mixed feelings about this book. The story is good, I loved Mulan as a kid and I still sometimes watch it as a teenager, but I don't think this book does the story justice. The first half of the book is excellent. Dokey spends a good amount of time creating the characters and explaining the reasons that motivate the characters. However, for as long as Dokey takes to paint the characters, the climax is inexcusably short. All that happens while Mulan is at war is predictable and boringly cliché. The love story between Mulan and the Prince is grossly underdeveloped and the battle with the Huns (for which the reader has been waiting for about a hundred and fifty pages) takes all of about half a minute to read. And then for some reason the Prince realizes he and Mulan are soul mates, no one complications come of Mulan being discovered or marrying a prince and everybody lives happily ever after the end. Somebody kill me the end was terrible!!! The book was mediocre and had a great deal of wasted potential. If you're looking for a good fairy tale spin read the books I've recommended.

posted by literature_lover45 on July 25, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Anonymous

    This book was o.k. I enjoyed reading it. The begining was excelent I loved reading about Mulan's childhood, but the war and romance was rushed at the end. I was disapointed with the end being rushed. Overall it was an interesting read.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Okay for reading!

    "Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" was both disappointing but exciting to read. Having watched Disney's version of "Mulan" I had sky-rocketing expectations for this story, but in some aspects it did not meet my standards. The story was sincere and touching in the beginning when Dokey first introduces Mulan though. A tom-boyish, sort of character goes through childhood with her best friend, Li Po. Her life encircles around the fact that her father has not been around since her mother gave birth to her, and died in the process. This spunky character who attempts to find herself through it all touches the hearts of many as she grows up to be a character who is "unlike any other girl in China." Later on in the story, her father comes back, and father and daughter have reunited. The story continues on with a beautiful woman who becomes Mulan's kind stepmother, but nothing can be avoided when the emperor summons a great army. Each family must send a male to fight, but knowing that her stepmother is pregnant, and her father is becoming older, she decides that she must be the one to fight. The first half of this story is gradual and the characters are well-developed, but as the story moves onto the second half, it becomes rushed and the other characters are not fully integrated. Prince Jian, who is also her future lover, is simply a flat character. His personality is at most two-dimensional, and the part where Mulan saves China which is a vital part of the story has been compacted into a few pages while other parts like her relationship with her father, her best friend, and her childhood takes up a good amount of pages within the book.
    Although, this story wouldn't succeed if rated on the amount of action it has, the emotional impact that it has on its readers would be off the charts! The underlying tones of love that can be felt between her father and herself (Mulan) and her best friend (Li Po) and herself is extremely strong. As readers, we can feel that Mulan truly loves these two people in her life, and the moment, where she finally reconnects with her father is both poignant and raw. This story would be perfect for a quick read about a woman who's trying to find her identity, but throughout her journey she achieves so much more.

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    Posted June 24, 2014

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    Posted January 12, 2010

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    Posted February 3, 2013

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    Posted February 2, 2011

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