Saturday, February 16, 2019

Book Review: The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

About the Book:

She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

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.

My Thoughts:

First off, I loved the fitting title and gorgeous cover of the book.

I also loved the well-paced story line that held my attention from beginning to end. I liked that The Warrior Maiden was loosely based on the Mulan movie, but didn't strictly adhere to the movie's plot. The author gave fresh resolutions to scenarios from the movie. There was a different setting and reason for war. These variations allowed the story to give a nod to the original while retaining its own uniqueness.

I also liked that the author subtly addressed gender equality through the character of Mulan and her experiences. Though sometimes moody, Mulan's determination and resilience made her a strong female leader. Her ability to deal with difficult situations inspired others to have confidence in her. She demonstrated solid confidence and faith in God numerous times.

Unfortunately, I felt like this book was not as well-written as some of Melanie Dickerson's other books. Especially in the beginning, some conversations felt choppy and stilted. My husband and I agreed that certain things the characters did were unrealistic. (Not naming them because I don't want to include spoilers.) Plus, I strongly disliked Mulan's pet name for Wolfgang.

Bottom line: I loved the story enough to overlook the sometimes mediocre prose and give it a permanent home on my bookshelf.

Lastly, The Warrior Maiden is part of Melanie Dickerson's YA Fairy Tale Romance series. I have read some, but not all of them and this functioned fine as a stand-alone.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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