Daughter of Xanadu

by Dori Jones Yang

Daughter of Xanadu coverEmmajin, eldest granddaughter of the Khan, has no desire to marry, immerse herself in the gossip of court life or produce children. As the best archer of the Khan’s many grandchildren, Emmajin wants the chance to prove herself as a soldier – to conquer far away lands and help the Mongol empire grow. While the Khan does not approve her request, he does give her a task: spend time with a group of foreigners and glean any information about the weaknesses of their homeland – then, with great consideration, she may be given the opportunity to join the army’s ranks.

So, there has been a slight switch with the Cybils and I’m now serving as a first round panelist for the Young Adult Fiction category. Which means, shorter reviews. Or reviews that are even less edited than before. Or rambling reviews due to exhaustion. Whee! Just thought I’d give you all a heads up for the possibility for crazy reviews in the future. Anyway, back to the review:

If I wanted to categorize Daughter of Xanadu somehow, I think I would file it under “epic.” At least, epic in scope. The historical details are to the tee, with long descriptions of setting and relationships within the Kahn’s empire. There are numerous story lines weaving in and out, with numerous characters interacting with each other.

The main issue I had with it, though, was that I wanted it to be a bit more ambitious, or a bit less ambitious. I wouldn’t care either way, but I wanted either more of a big, huge storyline, or a more streamlined one.

I also found the character of Marco Polo…rather one-dimensional up until the very, very end. Which was a disappointment.

Other than those two things, I found Daughter of Xanadu to be lush in details (including the epic battle in the middle!), especially since this was an era and setting in history I have only remedial knowledge about. Anytime the Khan was on the page was made of win. Seriously. And I thought Emmajin’s inner-struggle with who she was and what she wanted to do within the strict rules governing her life was spot on. Really, a good, historical read.

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Available: Now
Obtained from: the library
Read for the Cybils!

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