Grade: 3 Butterflies
Name: Wild Orchid (Once Upon A Time)
Author: Cameron Dokey
Source: My Bookshelves
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: Paperback, 224 pages
Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight. Tomboyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call.
But Mulan never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in the commander of her division, Prince Jian. For all of Mulan's courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?
For my Birthday I got the book Once, which has three of Cameron Dokey's books from the Once Upon a Time series in it. Wild Orchid was the one I most wanted to read, because I just love the fairy tale of Mulan. I really enjoyed reading it, but when I finished it, I looked back at it and it disappointed me in so many ways.
The thing that I noticed about Wild Orchid right off the bat was, unlike other re-tellings like Cinder or Splintered that are modern re-tellings that have the same elements as the fairy tales, but feel modern, Wild Orchid felt like a fairy tale. Cameron Dokey has the writing style that feels timeless and everything in this book just sounded like a fairy tale. I really loved that.
The characters in this book reminded me of every character in every fairy tale, which is both good and bad. Good, because they have all these traits that you admire and love. Bad, because it didn't make them feel personal, they just felt like a clone copies.
The thing about this book, that if I had known it I don't think I would have read this book, is that only in the last half of the book was Mulan at war. The first 11 chapters was her back-story. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't bored when I was reading that part, but it was a little weird. Weird, because it wasn't always in chronological order. It was like Mulan was telling you about her childhood and she would tell you stories from different times in her childhood. And it wasn't until chapter 8 or 9 that it got a solid foundation for a plot.
In chapter 11 is where the story of Mulan really starts and its almost exactly like the Disney story, except a lot faster. I would have loved this book so much more if her going to war didn't conceits of just one battle. That was it, she wasn't even in the army for more then two weeks. I would have loved it if the author slowed that part down and showed as what living in the army camp was like, or Mulan training or what it would be like if there was more then one battle, something more. It just felt forced and fast.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, it was fun and had this way about it that made it feel like a fairy tale. However, the part where Mulan goes to war felt rushed and just disappointed me on so many levels. I would recommend this to people who want a quick read, but just don't expect anything else or you'll end up disappointed like me.
This book got..
Basic, nothing special.
Reccomened if you like: Short stories, Re-tellings, and a great writing style.
Thats my review.