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Mulan: Before the Sword
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Mulan: Before the Sword

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  574 ratings  ·  138 reviews
An original novel that will explore and develop the world and characters of the Walt Disney Studios live action Mulan film.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Disney Press
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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 ·  574 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
filled with the same magic as Where the Mountain Meets the Moon... can we get an animated movie of this pls
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: second-childhood
I've enjoyed everything by Grace Lin that I've read thus far. She's best known for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and other fantasies, but I like best her underappreciated realistic middle grade fiction novels about Pacy, a Taiwanese-American girl (The Year of the Dog is the first). Anyway, liking Lin, I gave this Disney-licensed story of Mulan (it slots in as a prequel to the movie) a try. It was very good, but it was the sort of quest story in which the characters are on a journey, and, en ...more
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story focuses on Mulan, before she saves the emperor (like in the movie). This is set a while before that, when Mulan wonders if she will ever be able to honor her family, because she is seen as outspoken and spirited. A good book, full of side stories that tell the tales of the gods.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for Grace Lin fans, Mulan fans, and fans of beautiful (family-friendly) writing. I read this out loud with my girls and we all loved it ♡ Read this before seeing the new movie!
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As someone who watched the Disney Mulan dozens of times as a child (just to see someone like me on the tv), this book was reminiscent enough to the cartoon, leads into what we have seen from the trailers of the new movie, but in a totally unique way. Grace Lin took pieces of Chinese mythology (much like her chapter book series "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon") and manipulates them in ways to create a fantasy adventure full of suspense, curiosity, and mystery.

The simple plot (of Mulan going o
Angela Germany
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced ebook copy. All opinions are my own.
In this prequel to the Disney movie, we are introduced Mulan’s sister Xiu. When a poisonous nine-legged spider bites her sister, Mulan must gather all her courage and go on a quest to find the magical ingredients needed to save her. She must have Dragon Beard Grass that only grows on one island and a blossom of the Essence of Heavenly Majesty from a plant in the garden of the immortal Queen Mother. Without these ingredients, her sister w
Kelly K
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: work-reads, 2020
I would have been into this more if it weren't so jumpy. It also gave me a lot of Alice in Wonderland vibes and I'm just not feelin' it. ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 Although I did not like this as well as Where the Mountain Meets the Moon it is still written in classic Grace Lin style, with the frequent insertion of fables into the narrative that become an essential part of the on going story. The motive of the Silver Fox could have been better examined, particularly as everyone else's motive was thoroughly explored, and of course Mulan is going to continue to further adventures which she does not yet grasp, but on the whole a satisfying adventure.
Nicole M. Hewitt
If you’re expecting a bland extension of Disney in this book, you’ll be incredibly surprised. This was my first time reading Grace Lin, but I see what all the fuss is over her now. Her lyrical prose is utterly beautiful, and she truly brought the character of Mulan to life. You don’t need to be familiar with the story of Mulan at all to enjoy this, but of course, there are little nods to the Disney version that serve to enrich the story. The book follows Mulan as she goes on a quest to save her ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Grace Lin's stories are always full of magic and young heroes - the kind of stories I adored as a child, and love still. In Mulan: Before the Sword, she gives our heroine a fleshed-out character and story , so much more than a cartoon movie ever could (and I love the Mulan movie)! NOTE: This is not a retelling of the popular movie, but an original prequel. As young Mulan journeys to find the cure that will save her younger sister, the stories she hears along the way add to her understanding of t ...more
Heather Galvas
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-bookshelf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a story of Mulan as a child, long before the fabled tale of her saving the Emperor & empire. The word tomboy was not used but she was obviously not the typically gentle girl child everyone expected. She loves to kick balls with boys and she runs and barges into rooms, she has broken many things accidentally and exasperated her parents to no end. Yet she is loved & most particularly by her younger sister, Xiu, who is the typical gentle girl child beloved by all. They are as close as siste ...more
A prequel of sorts to Disney’s Mulan movies, both the animated one and the upcoming live-action release. In this book we find Mulan on a quest to heal her ailing sister. The sister has been poisoned in what we learn is a failed attempt to keep a prophesy from coming true.

Lin is a Newbery and Caldecott Honor-winning creator of children’s books, so you can count on high quality that transcends the novel’s movie tie-in origins. She draws from the Chinese myths and legends that she grew up with to
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Livvy Nicklaus
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read and I enjoyed the prequel story. It was fill of adventure and new characters and villians. It is set before the new live action Mulan movie not the original Disney animated film so there is a bit of foundational plot difference. The plot is focused around Mulan's sister and Mulan's quest to save her. There are a number of interesting tales from new characters she meetes along her journey too. It's very well written and a nice story for younger readers. Overall I give it 4 sta ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an epic adventure! I love seeing Mulan as a child and seeing the seeds that will blossom into the mighty warrior we know her as.

I also loved how traditional Chinese mythology and storytelling is weaved throughout and there's kind of a dual storyline happening (and actually more than two stories) that are interwoven and impact each other.

This is a Disney story, but is is a bit different from the Disney animated movie. In this story, Mulan has a little sister and no grandma lives with h
Ang -PNR Book Lover Reviews
This story is before the movie, It is Mulan before she saves the emperor. We read this book with our daughter, and she liked it a lot.
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
good having a "clutzy" female hero who "feels the fear" but does something ANYWAY.
liked the "tales" interwoven in the story
Peggy Dynek
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Action, adventure and stories within a story. I couldn’t put it down.
Rory and I finished reading this very long book over the course of last month. (She was also reading another long book with her dad.). Rory loved it! She said, "This book inspires me to write my own fantasy novel." I thought it dragged a lot, but Rory was gripped by the shape shifting Daji and Rabbit. I love Grace Lin's realistic fiction, but this was not my favorite. Though it is cool to learn the origin story of Mulan's strength. ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mulan: Before the Sword is so much more than a great story. It is mythological-inspired fiction fused with Disney heroine-ism. Disney princesses are one thing; Disney warriors are another.

Before Mulan took her ailing father’s spot in the Chinese military, she embarked on a quest to save her sister, Xiu. Seeking out a unique healer to assist in finding a cure for Xiu’s deadly spider bite, Mulan’s reality hits the pause button and an extraordinary exploration ensues; complete with prophecy and pow
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to @scholasticau_ for sending me a copy of this one for review. I enjoyed reading his original Mulan tale. It is set before the events of the Mulan story many of us already know and follows Mulan as she goes on a quest to save her sister. The story flowed well and i loved the insertion of various stories that were told to Mulan by characters she met along the way.
I enjoyed getting to know Mulan a little better, she had a good heart and despite the challenges she faces she just wants t
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written! The food descriptions were mouthwatering. I’d recommend this to fans of Grace Lin or anyone who likes a colorful and whimsical fantasy. 🥰
Aug 26, 2020 added it
Mulan: Before the Sword is both a prequel to the original Mulan animated film and--surprisingly--a prequel for a major new character (view spoiler) in the live action remake coming out next week. It's told in the same framework as Grace Lin's beloved, award-winning novels Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and When the Sea Turned to Silver: a girl must go on a magical journey to acquire something which will save people she loves. Every few chapters someone has a "Tale ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grace Lin fans, Mulan fans, and people who just like great storytelling!
10 October 2020

5 stars!

Okay, since I given this 5 stars, you can probably guess that I've really enjoyed this book! And, I think you will too, if you like (A) Grace Lin, (B) Mulan, or (C) just really good storytelling!

For Grace Lin fans, you probably already know that Lin has that way with her stories: the lsuh descriptions, the stories within the stories, the folklore and mythology, the fantastic characters, and just overall brilliant worldbuilding and brilliant storytelling! I cannot congratul
Alexander Sison
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fan-f******-tastic. Wait, was I not supposed to swear?

I've never read a Grace Lin book before. Mulan however is easily my favourite Disney Princess film. It might be my favourite Disney film. The way I remember the original isn't just a musical, but sort of a Buddy Cop film that provides just as much laughter as any of the first two Rush Hour films. A beautiful, great action film with a great backdrop.

So back to the book. Like I've everyone I've approached the news of the new film with cautious
Mark Buxton
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My name is Mulan, and my sister Xiu has been attacked by a nine-legged spider. The healer I found is actually the Jade Rabbit, and he says there's only one medicine that might save Xiu. However, the ingredients can only be found in the garden of the Queen Mother of the West, Queen of all Immortals, and we must have it before the night of the new moon. I know Black Wind can carry us there in time, but Rabbit thinks the Immortal White Fox named Daji will try to stop me. A prophecy has foretold tha ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I actually started this book before 2020 took a leap into the garbage fire that is COVID-19 and related topics; when the news came that the live action adaptation of Mulan was delayed, my interest lagged for a while. I was also hoping for a book that would skew a little older, but since this book is about a fairly young Mulan, it is geared towards middle grade readers instead of young adults like the young adult Mulan will be in the film. (Assuming the cast is age-appropriate. I've forgotten.) T ...more
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-review
This book is based on a combination of traditional tales, including The Ballad of Mulan and The Eight Immortals. The story takes place when Mulan is a young girl and the purpose of her journey is to save her sister from a deadly spider bite. Her companions, The Jade Rabbit and Lu Ting-Pin are endearing characters who share stories with Mulan and help her along the way. Daji, otherwise known as the White Fox, is a cunning and ruthless villain, and it is said that no man can kill her. Is that true ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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