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Daughter of Xanadu

(Daughter of Xanadu #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  627 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Athletic and strong willed, Princess Emmajin's determined to do what no woman has done before: become a warrior in the army of her grandfather, the Great Khan Khubilai. In the Mongol world the only way to achieve respect is to show bravery and win glory on the battlefield. The last thing she wants is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who challenges her beliefs i ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published December 22nd 2010)
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The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears

Once more an unnecessary "romance" ruined a great adventure story with an amazing heroine. Is there some unwritten rule in publishlandia that demands damn near EVERY book written for girls/young women MUST have a romance, even when it makes no sense for it to be there? They certainly don't do that to books geared toward boys. Yes, I'm calling out sexist fail here.

I'm actually rating this 3.5 stars for not being the typical Eurocentric historical YA. It's always great to see more diversity
Yin Chien 인첸
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't know much about Mongolian history, but it's true that I don't have a liking for the Mongols after watching movies and reading storybooks depicting their barbaric acts. But now I realize it's just the way a story is portrayed that influences the reader's mind, thanks to Daughter of Xanadu. When a same story is told in two different perspectives, we will have different perceptions and feelings after reading them.

In this book, our heroine, the 16-year-old granddaughter of Kubilai Khan - Pri
Tamora Pierce
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, ya-yr
I admit, I blurbed this, because I think it's a durn good book. The female hero is a Mongol princess who yearns to be a warrior in the Khan's army. She is strong in character and weapons, but the men scorn her because of her sex. She is given a chance, but she is assigned a truly unpleasant duty: she must be a companion to the strange-looking foreigner from the west and learn all of his secrets for the Khan. What she learns from this Marco Polo will change the way she looks at herself and at the ...more
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aroundworldtours
Do you remember Mulan? Well here is someone with a new twist, it is Emmajin the granddaughter of Khubilai Khan.
We open up to beautifully written story that transfers you to the vast empire of Khubilai Khan. War is always happening, but it is a more peaceful time, a changing time. The vast conquests are still expanding, but so is the idea of bettering the people.
Emmajin is a strong, athletic warrior of a girl who does not want the court life, but longs to be a soldier in the Khan's army. Sh
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Ah, it was okay. Emmajin began to grow on me as the book went along, and I thought her ambition was portrayed very well. The author also portrayed the questioning of her values and the subsequent reconciliation nicely. The details of Mongolian culture and just feeling the sheer amount of research that must have gone into the writing of this book--boy, am I hesitating giving this just three stars!

The thing is I wasn't convinced/swept away by the romantic subplot of the novel. I thought Marco Pol
Sab H.  (YA Bliss)
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is kind of embarrassing to say but I decided I would because many of you might have the same perception.
I flatter myself saying I love historical Fiction, I mean, I even made a challenge just to force myself to read more of it. So, duh. I can even tell you which ones are my favorite historical periods. Uh-huh. Yeah.
Truth is, I totally avoided some periods. I looked at this title, saw the cover, and flinched because I know next to nothing about the Mongol Empire and I had never read about it
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have to say, perhaps somewhat shamedly, that before this book I gave very little thought to the Mongolian empire in the times of the Great Khan Khubilai (Kublai Khan).

Beyond seeing them as the frightening, cruel people on Disney's Mulan... I really had very little to go on. My education was sorely lacking, having never discussed them in school, other than the passing comments that Kublai Khan was a powerful leader.

This book not only piqued my interest in Mongolian history, but it also, very s
Lydia Presley
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Did you see Disney's Mulan? Did you like it? If you answered "yes" to both of those questions then you need to make sure to read this book when it's released early next year.

This story of a Mongolian princess, Emmajin Beki, is a story that proves that love triangles do not need to exist in YA level books for them to be full of romance, adventure and feature a strong, willful female as the hero. Does that mean there isn't romance? No - there's a little but it's where it belongs, adding beautiful
Steph Su
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poc
If you’ve never read anything about the Mongolian empire, then pick DAUGHTER OF XANADU up. Writing in a style easily accessible to modern readers, Dori Jones Yang tells the surprisingly deep story of a girl caught between warring desires, who learns that dreams may change and that things are hardly ever what they seem.

Emmajin undergoes an incredible journey of self-growth, from a girl with a single-minded determination to be a soldier to a young woman with far more complicated feelings and desir
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This novel stands apart from most others in the young adult genre. It carries an intellectual weight and a sense of timelessness that is a product both of refined, fluid prose and expert treatment of historical subjects.Yang has managed showcase Mongolian culture in as authentic a way as a modern-day author can while doing justice to themes that any teen today can relate to.

Princess Emmajin's voice stands out as unique and as representative of the Mongolian ideal of valuing glory on the battlefi
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
*3.5 stars*

LIKES: the vivid, fabulously original mongol-empire setting. this is fantastically foreign for me, and for most YA readers. the outsider's view of marco polo's travels. the detail and obvious depth of research situates this story firmly in time and place. the cross-cultural interaction was impressively realistic. you could feel the distance between one reality and the other.

BEEFS: this book needs more polish somehow. i kept feeling the lack of something, but not being a writer myself,
Tara Chevrestt
This is a pretty good read. It's a fictional tale about a romance in the Mongol Empire between the young Marco Polo and a grandaughter of the Great Khan Khubilai. Marco Polo is visiting Khan's Empire in hopes of winning the Emperor's favor and returning home and wonderful loot to trade. Emmajin is a princess who wants to serve in the army and experience battle. The Great Khan gives her an assignment: Get close to Marco Polo and find out as much about his home country, Italy, as she can. The Khan ...more
I read this book for the ATY 2019 Reading Challenge Week 21: Polarized (Ancient Civilization)

She's the Great Khan's granddaughter, a member of the Mongol Army, and she wants peace. Meeting and learning from Marco Polo has developed her empathy. How did this happen? Read of these long ago times to find out.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy and adventure
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Daughter of Xanadu is my first book that I read of Dori Jones Yang and right now, I can say it won't be my last. Daughter of Xanadu engrosses many imaginative, fantasy readers with its powerful storytelling, a rich setting completed with vivid images, dashing adventures, and great, complex characters. Daughter of Xanadu is basically a retelling of Mulan, but creates a distinctive way of its own.

It's written to tell a story that occurs around in the 13th century about a
Nov 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog, want-to-own
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang is the story of young Emmajin, the eldest grandchild of the Great Khan. Her closest friend is her cousin, Suren, the eldest grandson of the Khan. Strength and fighting skills are valued in their culture, and Emmajin desperately wants to be allowed to serve in her grandfather's military. She would be the first.

Her grandfather gives her an important assignment. She is to become the companion
Margo Tanenbaum
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Looking for a book for teens who crave adventure, romance, strong heroines, an exotic setting, and plenty of action? Look no further than Daughter of Xanadu, a 2011 release from author Dori Jones Yang.

East meets West in this tale of the fictional Princess Emmajin, an athletic, strong, and of course, beautiful young woman who keeps up with her male cousins in all kinds of athletic pursuits. She dreams of joining the army of her grandfather, the Great Khubilai Khan, and pursuing glory on the batt
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I think this book will inevitably draw comparisons to Mulan, but the only similarity is that they both feature strong Asian female main characters. Mulan is Chinese, Emmajin is Mongolian. There is a difference. Also the ending of Mulan is happy, the ending in this book is left rather open, it could go either way. It is rather happy but I felt that there's enough story left to create another book but it's wrapped up semi-neatly to satisfy readers (or at least to satisfy me). I adored the historic ...more
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Daughter of Xanadu was an interesting read for me as I have never read any books about the Mongolian empire so it was fascinating to read about it. Plus, I am not a huge historical fiction buff so this book was certainly different than what I usually read. Also, since I’m not real familiar with the Mongolian empire dynasty historical facts, I don’t know how much the author followed the actual history especially with the Marco Polo aspect. Regardless, this was a book that didn’t immediately draw ...more
Selena Yukino (The Lioness: hear me roar)
Rating: 4.6 stars.

Plot: Wow, I was really impressed with how the plot wrapped up. It was nicely done, at least I like to think so. The execution is well done also, especially since there was a lot that needed to be done and I'm very happy with how it handled all of that. Side note: I'm very surprised there's a sequel because I felt pretty satisfied with how it ended.

Characters: Emmajin, our main character is a very complex, indecisive, close minded, narrator. To a point where it makes her a ver
Cass -  Words on Paper

Daughter of Xanadu is brilliant. Strong, steadfast and brave, Princess Emmajin wants nothing more than to join the Mongol army and serve her nation in the most honourable of ways imaginable: all the stories that have been passed from generation to generation, the heaping victories and the grand parades. After much strife, she is assigned a task by the Great Khan: to gain intelligence on the foreigner Latin merchants so that the Mongol army may invade Christendom (Europe). Aimed to please and
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
If I wanted to categorize Daughter of Xanadu somehow, I think I would file it under “epic.” At least, epic in scope. The historical details are to the tee, with long descriptions of setting and relationships within the Kahn’s empire. There are numerous story lines weaving in and out, with numerous characters interacting with each other.

The main issue I had with it, though, was that I wanted it to be a bit more ambitious, or a bit less ambitious. I wouldn’t care either way, but I wanted either mo
Bayartsetseg Bela
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, history
It was one of my fastest read ever. Maybe because of its interesting write didn't allow me to read it divided. I was very got into the book, and it was nice to follow their path imagining the story behalf of her.

It is a nice story about how Emujin, who is granddaughter of Khubilai Khan of the Great Mongolian Empire is finding herself with such a different way of seeing the world looking through the eyes of legendary traveler Marco Polo. Unexpected, unexplained, and unwilling love to foreign guy
Dec 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: december-review
This book is the story of one girls fight to gain a place in a society that only accepts men. All she dreams of is to be a soldier until she meets Marco Polo, a traveler from Italy. While she wants to be a soldier, there is much she doesn't know about. When she finally starts to learn about distant lands from one who lived there, she sees that maybe being a soldier and conqureing the world isn't everything. This is a tale of adventure and excitement set in the time of the Mongols. There is also ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Daughter of Xanadu is an enchanting book. It was refreshing to learn more about the Mongolian culture at the time of Marco Polo's travels and it has prompted me to read more about him. The main character, Emmajin, is the granddaughter of Khubilai Khan. I enjoyed seeing her develop into an open-minded, strong young woman through her encounters with Marco Polo. Although touted as a Young Adult book, I recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction of all ages. It is an engaging, fun, and ente ...more
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Daughter of Xanadu is an exciting book about the granddaughter of Kubilai Khan. Emmajin wants to become a warrior and must prove herself. Along the way she learns more about the greater world, rethinks her attitudes, and begins to understand herself and her true destiny. And, she meets Marco Polo!The novel is well written and provides a lot of historical information about 13th century Mogul culture . I highly recommend it.
Carolyn Ossorio
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I recall shouting Marco Polo in the pool as a child. And, wasn't Marco Polo the one who brought noodles back from China to Italy? Thanks to Dori Jones Yang for elevating my woeful knowledge of this historical figure and trabsforming him into a living, breathing character. Inside this exciting world he meets his match with Emmajin, Daughter of Xanadu. I couldn't put it down!
I'm a big fan of Amazonian warrior princesses. So I really did like the central character. Unfortunately, the ending doesn't work. It isn't credible from either a historical or cultural perspective. The biggest problem is that this is a fictional character. You can't have an invented person doing something high profile. It would be part of the historical record if it had happened. So my disbelief suspenders got all stretched out at that point. ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Can you imagine, a mere girl fighting on the battlefield?"

The role of females in combat is a debate as timeless as war itself, and one that remains divisive and unresolved to this century. While present-day arguments for and against allowing women in the military revolve around psychological and biological issues, back in olden times, one needed only cite "tradition" and "familial roles" to silence the detractors.

The teenaged heroine of Dori Jones Yang's new 13th-century historical fiction nove
I was very intrigued by this story when I first came across it. I have not really read anything about the Mongolian Empire, nor do I remember much about it from history classes. I was interested to see how the author would make this early empire come to life, especially as its told from a young woman's perspective.

And not just any young woman, but a princess and granddaughter of Khubilai Khan who wants to be a soldier in his army. Emmajin was a fascinating character, full of courage and strength
Stephanie Ramos
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
The sixteen year old Princess of Mongolians, Emmajin, who is daring and athletic, tries to show how strong and capable she is in winning victory in the battlefield. As she tries to receive her grandfather's attention, the Great Khan Khubilai, a foreigner by the name of Marco Polo appears. Marco is not like any of the Mongolian men. He can't do manly actions to show his pride, however Marco grabs the attention of anyone who listens to his stories. Even though Emmajin is fascinated by the stories ...more
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Around the Year i...: Daughter of Xanadu, by Dori Jones Yang 1 6 Jun 09, 2019 09:46AM  

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Author of eight books, including an upcoming memoir, When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China's Reawakening, about her personal experiences as a reporter covering China.
Also author of Daughter of Xanadu, a historical novel set in China in the time of Marco Polo, and The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang, about a Chinese immigrant girl in Seattle.
A former Business Week correspondent in Hong Kong, Do

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