DAUGHTER OF XANADU by Dori Jones Yang

DAUGHTER OF XANADU

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 12 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A 13th-century princess wants to be a warrior; the old tale's less forced than usual when set in the Mongol Empire with its legends of fighting women. Emmajin is Khubilai Khan's (fictional) oldest granddaughter, and she would rather be a soldier than a wife. Emmajin struggles to convince the Khan, but her desire is complicated by a growing attraction to the hairy visiting foreigner, Marco Polo. Emmajin's stubborn drive brings both her and Marco to combat and the novel's highlight: a lusciously described brutal engagement of cavalry, archers and elephants. Unlike much of the rest of Emmajin's tale, the battle and its profound emotional aftermath don't suffer from dry overdescription. Otherwise, Emmajin writes as if alien in her own home: She serves "Mongolian cheese," notices her cousins' "distinctive Mongolian male haircut" and rides with a "traditional Mongolian wooden saddle." With such a narrator, it's unsurprising that she finds exotic Christendom compelling, but it is a disappointment. Gorgeous cover art packages this blandly informative adventure, which is spiced with just enough blood and sexual tension to keep readers turning the pages. (Historical fiction. 12-13)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-73923-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2010




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