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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: Daughter of Xanadu (Yang)

Title: Daughter of Xanadu
Author: Yang
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Ancient China, Mongolia
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Princess Emmajin, grandaughter of the Great Khubalai Khan, wants nothing more than to be a warrior in her grandfather's army. But the Khan wants her to act as a court liason to three travelers from the West...Marco Polo, his father, and his uncle.

Emmajin is a strong, female character, wanting to go against tradition. Her first-person narrative provides an excellent account of the action and adventure of the Mongol army, but also what is was like in China at the time Marco Polo arrived.

The setting and sense of time, place, and culture in the story are fully realized. There is action, drama, history, and a little romance. But at its core, it is a universal story about a teenager who must decide whether to follow her family's expectations, or go against tradition and dare to follow her dreams.

An excellent example of historical fiction, as well as a novel that appeals to girls and boys equally. Because we had the author visit in the spring (a visit I highly recommend by the way...see my earlier post about it), many of my students have read this book and it is popular with both genders.

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