Friday, April 22, 2016

A way better version of Mulan

Need an epic get away for the weekend to wild, exotic places with strange and unusual guests? Check out the book below. It will immerse you in a whole other world. The story is a more in-depth and gruesome reality-driven version of Mulan. Though I do miss my Mushu. The whole thing actually took me several weeks to read, which is a truly rare occurrence in my bookworm zone.

The Pirate Empress by Deborah Cannon

This is a compilation of stories that were released in serial format on Kindle where I found it in my recommendations section of Kindle Lender Library. I am really pleased I rented a copy. My blog is strong proof of my love for folktales and lore, when I read the Mulanesque plot I was hooked instantly. European stories are obviously the most known to me, so I really love diving into the tales from "exotic" countries.  

The Asian beliefs have been founded around mysticism and superstition; it is a natural fit for my fantasy mind. I love reading tales from China especially. This collection of works was truly exceptional at capturing the fantastic otherworldly stories of the bygone days. A highlight for me, these tales are not happy. Now don't misunderstand. They are not sad in the sappy way you have to keep the tissue box near by; they are real. The heroes receive hardship and struggle to overcome in exchange for the assistance of the gods. They actually have to work for their gain. As it should be!

I love Chinese myths. They are so ghoulish and dynamic. Hopping corpses and fox faeries and all other manner of disturbing demons constantly trying to interfere with the mortal plane juxtaposed with gods who are rather aloof in their human interactions. Their stories are a fresh change of pace from the Greek and Roman gods of my humanities classes. Then the mortal heroes themselves are humans--real-blooded humans, flaws and indecisiveness included.

Another aspect of the Chinese folktale is the passage of time. These stories aren't heroic epics of months to possibly a year; they span decades. The characters evolve and journey. There are places for the story to take you into the epic and get lost in the imagining. That is exactly what happened with The Pirate Empress.