Title: The Warrior Maiden
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Rating: 4/5 star
The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson is a retelling of the story of Mulan, a girl who disguised herself as a man to fight in the place of her father.
Mulan is an Asian girl who grew up in a Lithuanian town. When her father dies, she decides to take his place as a soldier so that the army does not confiscate her mother’s house. She changes her name to Mikolai, and joins in the fight against the Teutonic Knights.
Wolfgang is the son of the Duke of Hagenheim, and greatly desires to be a knight, but knows he will never reach that goal in Hagenheim. He joins the fight against the Teutonic Knights, expecting his brother Steffan will fight alongside him, but then learns his brother has joined the Teutonics and will be fighting against him.
This is an action-packed story with a traveling war setting. I thought it was an interesting shift from the rest of the Hagenheim series, which was mostly set in castles and towns. This series has tended to follow fairly similar storylines, but The Warrior Maiden had an interesting and fast-paced plot with some more unusual elements and a good sense of time and place.
Mulan was a very interesting character. Some YA books make it seem like a girl can’t be strong and feminine, but Melanie Dickerson does a very good job showing that Mulan is strong, and she is a woman. When I saw the cover, I thought this book might be set in Asia, but other than the main character’s race, the Asian influences in this book are minimal. Mulan is of Mongolian descent and was adopted by Lithuanian characters, and the story is set in Europe.
Wolfgang, on the other hand, wasn’t much different from the male leads in the rest of the series. He realized Mulan wasn’t who he thought she was, came to terms with it, saved her life, and fell in love with her. He could have been with any of the other male characters from the Hagenheim series and I don’t think the book would have been much different. Other than some struggles with his brother that started to develop him uniquely as a character, I didn’t feel like there was much to Wolfgang.
Overall, this was an enjoyable fairy tale retelling, with Mulan as a wonderful and interesting main character and a fast-paced plot. The dialogue was somewhat stilted at times, and once or twice I was confused as to who said what, and Wolfgang was a rather bland character. However, getting to know Mulan as a character and enjoying the unique setting more than make up for those negatives. The Warrior Maiden is now my favorite book in the Hagenheim series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
If You Like
If you like any of Melanie Dickerson’s other books, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, or the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce, you will enjoy The Warrior Maiden, which releases February 5, 2019.
Have you read any of Melanie Dickerson’s books? Are you going to read this book? What do you think about retellings?