The Magnolia Sword

The Magnolia Sword : A Ballad of Mulan

4.1 (3,146 ratings by Goodreads)
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Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education

Bestselling writer Sherry Thomas weaves an enthralling #ownvoices retelling of a story that has thrilled readers for centuries: the ballad of Mulan.

CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan's father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling--the royal duke's son, who is also the handsomest man she's ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan's life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion ... before it's too late.

Inspired by wuxia martial-arts dramas as well as the centuries-old ballad of Mulan, The Magnolia Sword is perfect for fans of Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, or Kristin Cashore--a thrilling, romantic, and sharp-edged novel that lives up to its beloved heroine.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 146 x 218 x 30.48mm | 498.95g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1620148048
  • 9781620148044
  • 308,765

Review quote

* Rich cultural references, intricate political machinations, and thrilling Wuxia elements distinguish this deftly woven Mulan retelling by Thomas, who was born and raised in China... Skillful martial arts scenes combine with crucial discourse on power, gender, and the impact of language on history in this gripping, thoughtfully layered reinterpretation. -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

New life is breathed into the ballad of Mulan... A refreshing new take that pays homage to a legendary character. -- Kirkus Reviews

The Magnolia Sword is the epic adventure I have always wanted: an intense, riveting, heart-pounding race against time coupled with a surprisingly tender forbidden love. -- Courtney Milan, New York Times bestselling author of After the Wedding

I found this book historically rich like few other tales of the setting are, and full of both family drama and exciting action. -- F. C. Yee, author of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

A fierce, beautifully written Mulan retelling. The Magnolia Sword, much like its titular weapon, is sharp, glimmering with detail, and intensely powerful. Adventure seekers: this one's for you. -- Arvin Ahmadi, author of Down and Across and Girl Gone Viral

Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education

Spirit of Texas Reading Program - High School List, Texas Library Association (TLA)
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About Sherry Thomas

Sherry Thomas is the author of nineteen novels across multiple genres, including the acclaimed Lady Sherlock mystery series, a YA fantasy trilogy that began with The Burning Sky, and more than a dozen romance novels, which have twice won her the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA(R) Award. Born in China, she learned English as a second language, and now lives and writes in Austin, Texas. Please visit her website at and follow her on Twitter at @sherrythomas and on Instagram as @writersherrythomas.
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Rating details

3,146 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 38% (1,182)
4 40% (1,268)
3 17% (536)
2 4% (136)
1 1% (24)
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