Daughter of Xanadu
Dori Jones Yang
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Source: Copy for Review
Rating: 4.5 stars
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.
I love historical fiction – I read all of it I can. When read the description, I’m not going to lie, I was not sure if I was going to like it. The time of the Mongol Empire isn’t one that had interested me all that much. Daughter of Xanadu bypassed every single expectation I had for it, and it was absolutely amazing! I got addicted to the story, and didn’t want to put it down.
I loved the characters. I think that’s one of the things I love most about historical fiction is the characters and seeing how they lived and how they react to different events. Emmajin was a really strong character, and I love books where the main character is represented as such. Marco was a really cool character and a much warmer character than I had been expecting him to be.
The places the characters visited were so interesting, and I loved reading about them. Yang made me feel like I was right in the story, next to Emmajin and Marco. Everything was so real, and I really appreciated that. I loved seeing the cultural differences between what Emmajin grew up with and what Marco had.
Daughter of Xanadu is a book you will not want to miss! If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is DEFINITELY a book to check out. Even if you are not a usual fan of historical fiction, I suggest giving it a try. Daughter of Xanadu is a book that will not disappoint, and I’m anxious to read future works from Dori Jones Yang!