January 21, 2011

Daughter of Xanadu - Dori Jones Yang

Young Adult
Pages: 352
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Daughter of XanaduRelease Date: January 11, 2011

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 in the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no skills in the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Still, he charms the Khan with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a different Marco as they travel across 13th-century China, hunting 'dragons' and fighting elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a different battle as she struggles with her attraction towards Marco and her incredible goal of winning fame as a soldier.

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. It didn't even sound appealing to me, at all. To some I might be ignorant and stupid here, to those of you: you are wise. Now problem is, and this might sound cliched--because it is-- that you cant say you don't like something unless you try it. Boy, what a huge lesson. In my mid-twenties, you'd think I would've learned it by now. Nope.
BUT. I got it for review. Ah, well. What the heck. Start reading. Wait. I cant stop reading. This stuff is awesome! Oh, Marco Polo! [insert swoon] [insert sigh] you are hot, hot, HOT. I WANT TO FREAKING TIME TRAVEL NOW. I want to go back live in that time! I want to read more, know more.
It's High Fantasy that... really happened. Who knew?
Lesson learned.

Daughter of Xanadu was enchanting and brilliant. I now have a vivid image of the Mongol Empire and find myself curious and in awe of what the world was like then. Dori Jones Yang brilliantly brings ancient past to life with this charming tale about embracing our differences and seeking peace. As gripping and thrilling as any epic fantasy story, Daughter of Xanadu gives teens the chance to learn history in the most entertaining way possible.

I absolutely LOVED this story! The Characters were incredibly well done, the plot was an absolute page-turner and the cover was fitting and GREEN! (Sorry, I have a green obsession!) But seriously--warriors, dragons, yummy boy, fierce heroine, royalty, heart-pumping romance, battles with elephants... What else can I ask for? This is my first historical MUST READ of 2011.


  1. I can totally understand why you didn't want to read this one at first - I kind of feel the same towards historical books about China, India, Japan and so on. Well, after reading your review I feel like I might have to give it a try. So thanks for the review :)

  2. I have been equally hesitant about reading this book, and for much the same reasons. But now I might have to check it out.

  3. THIS is why I adore historical fiction. BECAUSE I'm not a historical nut. I don't know a whole lot about different eras, I'm not good with dates, etc. Regardless, I'm always fascinated with the dealings of this whole other world that I know nothing about, and by the end of the novel it's as though I've just come out of a really entertaining and informative history lesson.

    Hopefully the ARC reaches me soon!

  4. Too Too funny! I can't believe you admitted to being a period snob, but very glad you have found the error of your ways. I am very impressed with your high praise of this book and will must assuredly be adding it to my list for the YA Historical Challenge. Thanks for making me laugh!

  5. I love Daughter of Xanadu! I'd never read anything from the Mongol period, either, but was really intrigued by the world Dori Jones Yang has written so beautifully. So glad you enjoyed it! :) I have an interview with Dori on my blog, as well as a giveaway, if you want to check it out.

  6. I would not have thought of reading a book set during this time period, either. It sounds like a great way to learn more about a period I know nothing about, though, so on my TBR pile it goes. Great review.

  7. Yup, I'm ignorant like that all the time. Totally a bad thing. I'd have to read this...although, I don't know when that will be. Sounds like Marco Polo is freaking awesome. And pretty hot. Haha. I'm actually quite curious now!

  8. Great review! I enjoyed this book as well.

  9. I am ignorant about this time period so maybe I'll read this book since you loved it so much.


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