What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?
When Captain Shang is mortally wounded by Shan Yu in battle, Mulan must travel to the Underworld, Diyu, in order to save him from certain death. But King Yama, the ruler of Diyu, is not willing to give Shang up easily. With the help of Shang’s great lion guardian ShiShi, Mulan must traverse Diyu to find Shang’s spirit, face harrowing obstacles, and leave by sunrise—or become King Yama’s prisoner forever. Moreover, Mulan is still disguised as the soldier called Ping, wrestling with the decision to reveal her true identity to her closest friend. Will Mulan be able to save Shang before it’s too late? Will he ever be able to trust her again? Or will she lose him–and be lost in the Underworld—forever?
In the Twisted Tales series, we encounter Disney Princess retellings, published BY DISNEY, that ask a question that throws a wrench in the storylines of the original movies. In Reflection specifically, the twisted tale asks the question, “What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?”
I have loved Mulan since I first watched it a few years ago (yea I know, I’m late to the party) so having stumbled across this fascinating concept for a retelling, I was immediately compelled to purchase it and dive in. If you follow me on Goodreads, you’ll notice that I started it at the end of 2018 and…… just now finished it. To be honest, I got caught up with A LOT of other reading and simply forgot that I had started this book (I really don’t read on my kindle much), but still, I wasn’t as interested in this book as I thought I would be.
I think it was just a little too slow, and too long, for me. The entire book takes place over the course of one night. 416 pages for ONE. NIGHT. It was just incredibly a lot packed into such a small time frame, and I mean I get it, it’s the Underworld so it has to operate on a different time, but still, it was hard for me to grasp the fact that hours and hours were passing by in each scene and struggle, for it all to only be in one night. The only other reason that I’m giving it 3 stars instead of 4, is that the challenges were very repetitive in my opinion. Mulan had to deal with illusions in almost every problem she encountered and even though she walked away from the previous illusion stronger and more determined to recognize future illusions. She STILL always fell for them! By the climatic ending challenge, I was so aggravated that she had fallen for the illusion AGAIN that I almost rolled my eyes. Our Mulan is so much smarter and stronger than that!
I did like the entrance of Shang’s guardian ShiShi the lion, though I did miss Mushu on the adventure. I’m thankful that he at least made an appearance as the same loveable dragon though!
“That’s it,” Mushu encouraged. “Keep going. Maybe you should give him a little kiss.” “Mushu!” The dragon shrugged. “Hey, it works in all those folktales.”
Overall, I did like the story and there is certainly a lot of quotable material in this book. If Mulan is your favorite Disney princess, you likely won’t be disappointed with Reflection. It is a wild ride though, so prepare to fight the ghosts and demons of the Underworld!
There is no cursing, no sexual content (not even a kiss). The only word of caution I offer to young readers is the creepiness of the creatures and “levels of the Underworld” that are passed through. The action can get decently detailed, though I wouldn’t call the book “gory” in any way. I recommend it to ages 13+.