When Captain Shang is mortally wounded by Shan Yu in battle, Mulan must travel to the Underworld, Diyu, in order to save him from certain death. But King Yama, the ruler of Diyu, is not willing to give Shang up easily.
With the help of Shang's great lion guardian ShiShi, Mulan must traverse Diyu to find Shang's spirit, face harrowing obstacles, and leave by sunrise—or become King Yama's prisoner forever.
Moreover, Mulan is still disguised as the soldier called Ping, wrestling with the decision to reveal her true identity to her closest friend.
Will Mulan be able to save Shang before it's too late? Will he ever be able to trust her again? Or will she lose him—and be lost in the Underworld—forever?
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, "Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that's kinda cool!" But after one of her teachers told her she had "too much voice" in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel -- for kicks, at first, then things became serious -- and she hasn't looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
For the longest time I’ve been debating whether or not to read the Twisted Tales from Disney. Typically, I’ll read any Disney related book, but the first two books in the series got such mixed reviews, that it deterred me from picking one up. Then the Beauty and the Beast one and this one came out and they got better reviews. So I finally decided to try one out. I’m so glad I did because this was really good!
First off, I was really happy that Disney choose a Asian author to write this book. I think #OwnVoices literature is so important. You can tell that the author knew the culture so well. She did a great job incorporating the Chinese underworld and mythology into the story.
I also have to give the author major props for doing her homework. It was very clear that she watched the direct-to-DVD Mulan 2 movie. There was one part where Shang says, “Perhaps when I marry, I’ll combine the ancestral temples so my bride won’t have to leave her family” (175). That is exactly what ends up happening in Mulan 2. When I read that line, I immediately remembered that part in the movie.
Since the book starts during the battle against the huns on the mountain, I was happy that it still referenced earlier events in the movie. They were woven into the story nicely.
Overall, I just think the whole book was so well done. From the writing style to the incorporation of mirrors and reflections, it hit all the checkboxes.
Mulan is my favorite Disney movie, so while perusing books to read on my Kindle, in between bouts of flu-induced naps whilst curling up in a ball and asking what sins I've committed to deserve this suffering, there was really no question about indulging in a bit of Mulan fanfiction to make myself feel better. REFLECTION is part of the Twisted Tales series that Disney has put out, in which the corporation asks, "What if...?" hypotheticals that put spins on their original retellings of the story and then hire out young adult authors to write them. Most of the books are written by Liz Braswell, but they actually got a Chinese author to write the Chinese story - how woke.
REFLECTION takes this new approach to Mulan: instead of Mulan getting slashed by Shan-Yu (and betraying her identity as a woman), Li Shang takes the blow for her instead. The wound is fatal, and to save him, Mulan makes a deal with King Yama, the ruler of the Chinese Underworld (Diyu) to find and rescue him and escape from the 100th level of the underworld before time runs out and she's imprisoned there - forever.
I'm a sucker for underworld retellings, and this one smacked a bit of Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as Dante's Inferno, but with Chinese mythology instead. The writing was pretty simple (I think this book is for a middle grade audience) but could be vivid. At times, I could imagine this as one of those direct to VHS sequels that were so popular in the 90s. It really should be a movie; it'd be amazing.
There are a lot of call-backs to the movie, which is to be expected, and I thought the author did a good job staying in keeping with the characters as they were portrayed in the movie, although Mushu fell somewhat flat here in comparison to his portrayal in the movie. While I enjoyed the portrayal of the Chinese underworld and the trials Mulan had to undergo, at times the pacing was inconsistent and the middle section in particular got kind of tedious, although it picked up again by the end.
Overall, this was much better than the cash cow I was expecting. It entertained me and even moved me to tears at a couple points. If you're a fan of the Mulan movie and have always wanted more, you should pick up REFLECTION.
"It doesn't matter if I'm pretending to be Ping or if I'm Mulan. As long as I am true to myself, then my reflection will show who I really am."
Oh guys, you can't even imagine all the feels I'm having right now! Mulan is my fave Disney movie of all time and reading this retelling was an explosion of them, over and over again! I looved it! I loved how the author intertwined the events and quotes of the original story with the new one! It was such an incredible journey through the Underworld, and I loved Mulan all the same! She's always so brave and selfless, and ready to fight to help her friends and family. This is why I love her character, she's a role model to me. Even if she is "only" a woman, she makes her own choices no matter what, no matter what the others think. And you can't help but admire her for this! So, if you love her you need to read this book as well!
I loved this so so so soooo MUCH! I adore Mulan & I LOVEDDDDDD this twisted tale! I am not very much interested in any of the other books in the twisted tales series (except the Herc retelling Go The Distance which O M L it was SODAMNGOOD! I really have a thing for mythology 😂 & I loved Meg having her own story! Hrm & maybe i'll try the one based on Alice in Wonderland 🤔 ANYWAY, haha), but I absolutely HADDDDD to read this one because Asian mythology/ folklore is EVERYTHING!
But yeah, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this, as it checked off both the disney movie nostalgia box, and the asian mythology box! I love Elizabeth Lim as an author, and as the choice for the #ownvoices author to write this! I fell in love with her when I discovered Spin the dawn last year😊
So far my favourite Disney Twisted Tale out of the two I have read, and WILL be reading all the rest too. This is definitely worthy to be associated with the epic animated classic, Mulan. I don't even want to mention Mulan II that was direct-to-video and not a good sequel. THIS is much better.
This begins with the avalanche that Mulan creates in the movie to stop the Hun army. Unfortunately, Captain Li Shang is mortally wounded and Mulan travels to the Underworld to make a bargain to save him. She has to get out of the Underworld before her time runs out or she'll be stuck there forever.
A really great spin on the story and Elizabeth Lim does a great job at embodying the original characters to that the book felt believable. It's always one of my worries when reading books based on movies that they won't act like the characters on screen, but it was easy to visualise them here. A very exciting storyline in the Underworld too that kept me reading and finished this in less than a day!
Reflection is a fun twist on Disney's Mulan, and fans of the movie will love this book.
- Weaves Diyu ("Chinese hell") mythology into Disney's telling of Mulan; also really nice being able to recognise little snippets of the mythology! - Lim does a great job at capturing the characters from the movie (I couldn't help but read Mushu's dialogue in Eddie Murphy's voice!) as well as create some interesting new characters that complemented the story and existing movie characters well. - I really liked Lim's take on Meng Po, as well as the twist in the end and how Mulan and their fates intertwine together. - At the end of the day, Reflection isn't more than what it sells itself to be - it's a fun and simple adventure that explores Mulan's character more than the movie does.
whoa, that was awesome! I do have to let you know that I haven't seen the Disney version of Mulan. I know, I know I'll get to it. Don't burn me at the stake. Since I have no former knowledge of the story other than she is a gal pretending to be a gent who has a mini dragon she travels with I think it made it better for me. The entire story was a surprise and very exciting! I am looking forward to watching the Disney version now so I can see what's different. The twisted tales stories are a delight and I'm really looking forward to the next one! I hope they redo all the Disney movies!
Retelling del clásico de Disney Mulán. Comienza de forma abrupta (in media res) en medio de la batalla en la nieve contra los hunos, escena que aparece casi al final del original. En esta ocasión no es nuestra protagonista disfrazada de soldado la que sale herida, si no el protagonista masculino, Li Shang. Este suceso dará lugar a un viaje hasta el mismísimo inframundo para salvar el alma del capitán.
El libro está colmado de aventuras y peligros que lo hacen muy adictivo y te mantienen en vilo hasta el final.
Es evidente que el trasfondo del libro es de clara crítica social, en particular hacia la visión de China sobre el papel de la mujer. Es una reivindicación de la igualdad entre hombres y mujeres. Así como transmite un mensaje de valentía, lucha y fortaleza para las mujeres.
Otro de los temas fundamentales que trata el libro es la familia, la necesidad de honrarlos y que se sientan orgullosos de su descendencia. Esto nos lleva a otro gran tema: el autodescubrimiento personal. Mulán tendrá que enfrentarse a sus miedos, sus dudas y sus deseos si quiere sobrevivir. En esta parte veremos guiños hacia la película original, como por ejemplo la canción "Reflejo".
✒ La escritora muestra gran destreza en la alternancia del género y la persona verbales. Sobre todo al principio del libro donde vemos la mezcla del masculino de Ping (soldado inventado por Mulán) con los pensamientos en femenino de la heroína. ✒ También es admirable la perfecta descripción de lugares y la originalidad de situaciones. Gracias a esto, la imagen mental que podemos hacernos es muy clara. ✒ Con todo, nos encontramos con un texto fácil de leer y ligero.
Podría considerarse una historia alternativa, como si el clásico hubiera tomado otro rumbo en base a los sucesos. Eso es lo más llamativo de esta serie de retellings que está publicando la editorial Disney. En España podemos encontrar ya los siguientes títulos (por orden de publicación): - La bella y la bestia - La bella durmiente - Aladdín - Frozen - Mulán - y en septiembre La sirenita. Pero todavía hay mucho más en camino (Peter Pan, Blancanieves, Alicia en el País de las Maravillas...) y los quiero todos porque me están encantando 😍
A Whole New World, the first book in the Twisted Tales series, instantly grabbed my attention. I devoured the story offering a new spin on the Aladdin tale, and I was more than willing to pick up the next book. Once Upon a Dream, the Sleeping Beauty retelling, failed to wain me over. I went in hoping for so much more than I was given, finishing the book feeling rather disappointed. As Old As Time, the Beauty and the Beast retelling, also disappointed me. With Beauty and the Beast being one of my favourites I’d had high hopes, I’d been desperate for another wonderful retelling only to be given a story that lacked the features that make such a retelling as amazing as can be. At this point, I decided I was done with the Twisted Tales series. Then I saw Reflection.
Mulan is my all-time favourite Disney movie. Any tale, any movie, anything with a Mulan feel I will devour. Therefore, I decided I would give Reflection a read. I may have been feeling done with the series after being disappointed with books two and three, but a Mulan retelling was more than enough to pull me back. Plus, with Reflection being written by a different author – Elizabeth Lim instead of Liz Braswell – I decided it could very well be a different kind of story.
I will be honest and say Reflection was more of a three-point-five-star read rather than the three-star rating I gave it. If I’m being completely honest, at any other time I may have rounded this up. I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk recently and am finding it difficult to round books up. In the case of Reflection, it’s a much stronger three-star rating than Once Upon a Dream and As Old As Time – they’re very much rounded up two-point-five-star reads whereas Reflection is a rounded down three-point-five-star read.
You see, while I did enjoy Reflection I had been expecting a little bit more. We had multiple things I love – Mulan, mythology, and hell. When combined, my mind should have been blown. Yes, this story was addictive. Yes, this story brought the different elements together well. Yes, this story was a nice twist on the original tale. However, I was constantly waiting for that little bit more. I wanted a bit more action and intensity, I wanted to be on the edge of my seat throughout. I was invested, I cannot claim otherwise, but my hopes had been set higher than the book delivered.
I’d certainly recommend this for Mulan fans. It is a wonderful twist, one of the more interesting ones I have read. I’d also tell fans of the Twisted Tale series to give this one a read despite the change in author – in fact, I’m willing to say I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed the last couple by Liz Braswell. As I’ve already stated, at any other time I probably would have rounded this one up.
In fact, I enjoyed this one enough that I may well give the next book in the series a read. I know I said I was done prior to reading Reflection, but the Mulan retelling has me hopeful for the next retelling. The Little Mermaid is my second favourite Disney character, and the Part of Your World retelling sounds really interesting. It’s as though they noticed my interest was slipping and they decided to go with my favourite characters, simply to keep hold of me.
Whether I’ll continue after Part of Your World remains to be seen, but Reflection worked to restore my faith in the series for the moment.
This book was such a fantastic retelling (or alternate retelling?) of what happens after the epic event when Mulan defeats the Huns in the mountains. Instead of Mulan getting wounded by Shan-Yu, Shang takes her place! *Gasps and swoons*. So now, Mulan worries about saving Shang from Death and this leads her to traveling into the Underworld and bargaining with King Yama, the ruler of Diyu.
Action-packed and as empowering and exciting as our beloved Disney movie, this book is certainly meant to be read and loved! Now if only Disney would turn it into a movie because I would LOVE to see Shishi and the mesmerizing (yet frightening) Underworld!!!
Reflection is a compelling tale exploring what might have happened if Shang was mortally wounded instead of Mulan during the fight with the Huns and how far she would go to save him. It's a pivotal moment in the movie, and now we get to see a different route for our beloved characters.
This was a very gripping read and I finished it in one sitting. I loved the characters, especially Mulan, but I didn't feel emotionally invested in them, which is why I didn't love this book. There isn't anything I specifically disliked about this book, but even though the stakes were quite high, I never felt too invested in the plot.
All right A Twisted Tale, I'll give you this one. It was pretty good.
If you've seen my reviews for the first 3 books in this series, you probably know that I was not a fan. The only reason I decided to continue the series was that I noticed this one was written by a different author and all I can say is Thank you.
Elizabeth Lim's twist on Mulan was a solid retelling. For those of us who have seen the movie, it starts off with the battle against the Huns on the mountain where Shang gets injured. However, his injury doesn't get better and it starts to look like they are losing him. So Mulan makes a promise to retrieve his soul from the underworld. But of course that journey is not easy.
I liked that this story stayed true to the Mulan that we know and love. This seemed like it could have easily been the path Mulan chose. And we really got to see her relationship with Shang grow and see the trust that exists between the two of them.
But let's be honest, the standout of this story was ShiShi - Shang's guardian. He accompanied Mulan on her journey and was the shining light of this tale. I gasped when he jumped off of the mountain of knives, fearing that we'd seen the last of this heroic lion. I didn't realize until that point just how attached I had become to him.
This is by far the best one out of this fairytale retelling series so far.
Just devoured REFLECTION in one sitting and it's already one of my top 2018 reads. I love the story of Mulan soooo much ❤️and getting to see the continuation of her story thru the Chinese Underworld w/ themes of duty, honor, friendship, & family was so incredible. Reading this book was like taking a momentary leap back in time into my childhood, but exploring it in a whole new way! And of course, I will ship Mulan + Shang forever and ever and I'm just so overwhelmed with joy rn 😭❤️ Thank you so much to Elizabeth Lim for writing this amazing book!!
I loved this book. The story was captivating and the writing good. The author stayed true to Mulans' story while giving it her own unique spin. My time reading this book was well spent and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves retellings of well known Tales.
Reflection starts off at the battle with the huns on the mountains - we've all seen the movie, you know what part I'm talking about.
Shang gets mortally wounded and is facing deaths door (he ends up in the underworld) and Mulan goes down to rescue him. Cute premise? Yes. Well executed? Ehhhhh.
Maybe I've read / watched too many stories about going to the underworld that I was bored, but this one just didn't do it for me. Maybe it's because Mulan is probably my favourite Disney movie of all time and so this was marring all of my childhood memories. Who knows.
Of course there had to be the "You fight good" in there, because of course. Shang found out about Mulan around halfway through and it was an alright reveal. He hated it and left her alone in the underworld after she came down and risked her life to save him, but that means nothing in the face of being a woman. Eventually he came back to rescue her and he forgave her and then all the sexual tension started up.
I did like the final test of the underworld though, it was in the Chamber of Mirrors. She had to face her "reflection". Sigh.
I wish I didn't read this book because I liked having my favourite Disney movie be my only Mulan memory (I also quite enjoyed Mulan 2 enough for it to not have a negative impact), but this one was just a miss.
In this Mulan Retelling, anything is possible. Mulan is as strong as ever. Mushu is as funny as ever. Mulan's quest and affliction on whether she should be pretending to be a man and honor her family is as good as ever. Basically this is a really good novel. Go read this retelling.
★★☆☆☆ - It was boring and what the hell is this description of Diyu? Small disclamer: I am not an expert of 地狱 [Diyu] or Chinese mythology. I just have some knowledge about it because it's been 5 years since I'm studying Chinese and I had to take Chinese mythology classes when I was in China. However, I'll say it again: I am NOT an expert. Chinese mythology isn't my area of expertise (my area of expertise is actually the Chinese Cultural Revolution). So feel free to correct me. Now, the review. There are two reasons why I chose to read this book. The first one is because Reflection is apparently the best book of the Twisted Tales series. The second is because I was very curious and excited by a book, written by an Asian author, showcasing Chinese mythology (which is, let's admit it, not very present in Western literature). I had already read another book of the Twisted Tales series (A Whole New World) and it wasn't it. But I guess my hopes were definitely too high concerning Reflection because I was so disappointed. Let's start with something that annoyed me very much: The depiction of 地狱 [Diyu] Diyu is the equivalent of Hell. Its concept is a bit complicated to explain maybe, so I'll do my best to simplify it. There are different versions of the legend of Diyu: some legends describe it as a Hell with 3 to 4 levels, some with 10 levels and some with 18 levels. The Diyu with 18 levels became popular during the Tang Dynasty and that's the one I studied in class and actually knows things about (so you got it, I'm gonna talk about this one). Even if the number of levels in Diyu varies depending on the time and place, the concept is pretty much the same: every level of Diyu corresponds to a sin/crime and is ruled by a king. When you die, you enter Diyu and are sent to the level which corresponds to the sin/crime you did during your life. The king ruling this level will judge you and decide on a sentence. For example, there is a level in Diyu where the children who were mean to their parents are sent. The sentence in this level is usually to freeze the child. When you had paid for the bad things you did during your life and accomplished your sentence, 孟婆 [MengPo] will come to you and give a potion you'll have to drink to forget your previous life. You will then be sent back on Earth to start a new life. Now you might wonder what's my problem with Reflection's Diyu? Elizabeth Lim decided to create a Diyu with 100 levels. I have no problem with authors modifying mythology so it fits their stories better and makes sense. The problem here is that it doesn't make sense at all. As I explained before, in mythology, each level in Diyu corresponds to a sin/crime. So here, I thought it would be the same and the author actually bothered finding 100 sins and crimes. And oh my God I was f*cking wrong. Diyu is just a mess. When Mulan arrives in Diyu to rescue Shang, she ends up in the lowest level (level 0) where she meets MengPo (which actually exists in Chinese mythology, that's a good point). She has to go back to the highest level (level 100) because that's the exit of Diyu. The problem is, she randomly jumps from levels to levels and skips a lot of them because there are """shortcuts""".
My question here is what's the point of creating a Diyu with 100 levels if you want your main character to skip almost all these levels and only visit 4 of them?. It doesn't make sense to me. Just use the version of the legend of Diyu where there are 3 to 4 levels and make your character go through each of them. Congratulations if you read everything I wrote about Diyu. Now I'll stop with Chinese mythology, and move on to my next point: This book is so boring It was very hard for me to finish it. First, I was pissed because of Diyu, and second, THE WRITING IS SO BAD. This book is 380 pages. The first 200 pages are super boring. Then Mulan tells Shang she's a woman and we have a few interesting pages. Almost at the end of the book, there's supposed to be an epic fight, which is absolutely not epic and very boring. I skipped a few pages because I didn't care about all the super long descriptions that add absolutely nothing to the story. On a book with almost 400 pages, we have around 50 pages that are actually cool and interesting. The writing makes the rest look extremely dull in my opinion. That's why I only gave a 2-star review to this book. There was a lot of potential with the Chinese mythology part. What pisses me is that this book is such a waste of potential. It could have been so great and epic. But it ended up being boring. I can't give it one star because I finished it, but believe me, it was bad.
I loved this book so much these books never disappoint me I always love the book by the end of it. I loved the characters so much especially Mulan,Shang and ShiShi. I loved Mulan for her strength and determination to be the best she can be and save Shang she has her vulnerable sides and just makes her a character you can root for. I loved Shang for many reasons his slowly growing relationship with Mulan and the amount he cares for his soldiers and Mulan. I really liked ShiShi for his want to save Shang to not fail him like he failed his father he is a interesting and funny character as well. I liked the plot it started with change of Shang being on the edge of death after being wounded and it moves on to be an amazing adventure that hardly ever slowed down for even a moment. So overall I loved this book and will read more twisted as ore come out.
This is a twist on the tale of Mulan in which our warrior must travel to the Underworld to save her companion from death. While in the Underworld, she must keep up her disguise as Ping while completing tasks to get her and her companion out.
This was such a fun book! This was my first Twisted Tale book and it made me excited for the others. Elizabeth Lim’s writing is perfect for fantasy stories. There were so many parts of the story where I was feeling anxious for Mulan!
Reflection is a "What if" scenario written by Elizabeth Lim, based on on of my favourite Disney movies: Mulan.
Plot If you have seen the film, you will know the iconic sequence on the mountains, where the Hun army is about to attack Shang's soldiers. Mulan, using her intuition, starts an avalanche, saving their lives and wiping out a huge portion of their enemies. From there, the book digresses away from the film. Shang becomes mortally wounded, nearing death. To save him, Mulan travels to the underworld, Diyu. Here she must combat demons, lies and come to terms with who she really is.
The first third and final third of the book are wonderfully written. The world of Diyu is masterfully painted and, as a reader, you get a deep sense of the mythology surrounding the book. The climax expertly incorporates the title of the book, Reflection, which is also a song in the original film.
The book's biggest flaw is the middle third. In this section it just felt that she was fighting demon after demon, with no respite. This made the plot a little repetitive and I would have preferred if it went in a different direction.
Characters The main characters are Mulan, Shang and his guardian ShiShi. Mulan and Shang are accurate renditions of the film and it felt as though we were following a natural continuation of their characterisation. I would argue that Shang's relationship with Mulan is actually better developed in the book and that we get to know him on a deeper level.
ShiShi is a brand new character. His pride and superiority makes him look down at Mulan at the start. As the book progresses it was great to read his unfolding relationship Mulan and Shang.
For Mushu fans, sorry to disappoint. He only plays a minor role in the book, but the parts he is in are solidly written.
Other characters include King Yama and Meng Po. After a quick Google search, I found that these are actual figures in Chinese mythology. They were fascinating to read about and Reflection has left me wanting more.
Writing Lim's prose was beautiful, painting a tapestry of the Underworld. Exposition was naturally handled (perhaps aided by the fact that this was based on a film).
At times it did feel like there were some plot conveniences happening, but these were few and far between.
Overall A great companion to the original Disney film (and certainly better than the travesty that was Mulan II). You don't necessarily have to watch the film, but your enjoyment for the book and rooting for the characters will significantly increase if you have.
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all.
I am utterly obseesed with this book, it was soo good. I love the way in which Elizabeth Lim made her story, the plot was so intricately woven and beautiful. The way in which she shaped the characters and how she formed Diyu was amazing. I thinks he captured the true essence of both Mulan and Shang. What I did find sad is that Mushu was not part of her journey, our little travel sized dragon is one of my favourite elements of Mulan, but sadly he is only part of the book for a smart amount of time. I also missed some other major characters and I wished the ending was a little longer. Nonetheless I am utterly in love with this new twist to Mulan and I hope that there will be a sequal, it probably won't happen, but here's to hoping!