{Review/Giveaway} THE WARRIOR MAIDEN by Melanie Dickerson {Plus tour exclusive excerpt+audio sample!)

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!
O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   Galloping her horse past the big oak tree, Mulan pulled the bowstring taut. She aimed at the knothole with one eye closed and sent the arrow flying toward the target. It struck the tree but missed the knothole.
   "Don't shoot behind you!" Andrei flailed his skinny arms. "Keep the target in front of you."
   Shooting from a moving horse was much more difficult than when standing still, but she was improving. At least she'd escaped, for the moment, the cooking and cleaning chores. And practicing war skills kept her from facing the uncertain future -- and her mother's grief. 

(Page 1, US ARC edition)

“...I feel pleased and proud to be a woman, whenever I think of you. We all feel that way. You were willing, as some women would not have been. And you didn't make yourself into a man. You fight and live as you are -- a woman.”

The fairy tale lover in me always leaps for joy when a new retelling hits the market.  I've read several books by Melanie Dickerson and own her collection, even the ones I have yet to get to. My e-reader is filled with her books. They all take place in the same world, though they're all complete stand-alones. Some characters might be mentioned or make brief cameos, but they're like little Easter eggs for long-time readers and not something that would take away from the current story at all.

My Melanie Dickerson e-book collection.
(Ignore the two blank spaces at the beginning; I whited out the titles in my screenshot
since they weren't from this author!)
Because of the in-world aspect, a lot of readers will initially question the story of Mulan, so I'll just address that out of the gate. I was skeptical, too. Mulan lived in China. Her story is Chinese in origin. Why wasn't the author using the story as barebones and changing the main character's name? But you know what? The author actually thought about all of that and came up with solid reasons for the displacement. Mulan's father went off to war and had an illegitimate daughter. He brought her home with him and she was raised as his own -- well, actually, she was raised as an orphan so that her mother wouldn't be disgraced by her husband's cheating, and they kept the truth of her birth a secret. Having reasons for the displacement made the fact that the character was named Mulan palatable and much more easy for readers to accept when she was dropped into the universe where all of Dickerson's other fairy tale centered novels take place.

This Mulan is skilled with a bow and arrow, but knows little of swordfighting. Her father has been on multiple tours and taught her a little, as did his attendant, Andrei. Her father gets ill and passes away as war comes, and if Mulan doesn't disguise herself as his son and take his place, her mother will lose her house. Her only other option is to marry the town butcher, who will treat her poorly, and she doesn't want to have the same relationship woes her parents had. Now, it's up to Mulan to keep up the ruse so she doesn't bring disgrace to her family and fulfill the prophecy bestowed upon her as a child.

Mulan's true identity is found out pretty early on by Wolfgang, who will ultimately become the love interest of the story. They go from being adversaries to friends to having hidden feelings for one another over the course of the book. When Mulan's identity is accidentally shared with the enemy, it becomes known everywhere, but rather than shun her, everyone embraces her and holds her in great esteem -- except, of course, the enemy, who only grows more bitter and becomes bent on revenge. There are some great beats and fresh takes on the tale of Mulan that make the story more of an inspiration and less of a direct retelling. Though I still wish the character had a unique name, Dickerson manages to make her take work and make the story engaging.

I really liked that the "love interest" had a plot of his own. Sometimes, a love interest is just there to be a love interest. It's all about the development between the two characters. In THE WARRIOR MAIDEN, we do have that, of course, but we also focus on Wolfgang's own life and his relationship with his brother, which plays a pivotal role in the novel. I really enjoyed these nuances and seeing him fleshed out. It endeared him to me and added depth to the book.

As with all of Dickerson's other novels, this is also classified as historical Christian fiction. Some readers are uncomfortable with characters thanking God or saying that he is good, will help them in their time of need, etc. For me, whether you're a fan or not, that aspect of the book works based on its time period and lends a more historical feel to the time period because people were more outwardly pious then. In particular with this novel, there is a war based in part on religion, and there is also a prophecy. It was a little heavier than in other books, due to its genre, but it didn't feel like overkill due to the time period and felt natural for the characters and their beliefs.

While they aren't my all-time favorites in my fairy tale novel collection, I do enjoy Dickerson's Hagenheim world and continue to read and collect her novels. I'm behind on reading them and have a lot of catching up to do, but it was fun to return to this world with new characters. I never felt lost and, in fact, wanted to go back and re-read the books I'd read plus read the new ones whenever characters from past books had their prior adventures mentioned -- Wolfgang comes from a very fairy tale blessed family! ^.~

THE WARRIOR MAIDEN by Melanie Dickerson comes out on Tuesday, so you don't have much longer to wait!

Check out the book's summary and enter to win a copy below!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissingo )
Language: PG ( Some innuendo about a woman having her morality questioned because she had many lovers; Mulan is propositioned without any blatant sexual words being used. )
Violence: PG ( Some battle death )
Other: --

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I really like how she is looking out with her back to us and scenery in front of her. The aspect is fantastic! I like that she has weapons front and center, though you can't see much of her face and there's an emblem over the image that I hope is embossed on the final product!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Received: For Review

Purchase Links:



From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

Mulan isn’t afraid to pretend to be a son and assume her father’s soldier duties in war. But what happens when the handsome son of a duke discovers her secret?

Mulan is trying to resign herself to marrying the village butcher for the good of her family, but her adventurous spirit just can’t stand the thought. At the last minute, she pretends to be the son her father never had, assumes his duties as a soldier, and rides off to join the fight to protect the castle of her liege lord’s ally from the besieging Teutonic Knights.

Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim with several other soldiers to help their father’s ally in Poland. When they arrive, Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier Mikolai who seems to either always be one step away from disaster . . . or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.

When Wolfgang discovers his former rival and reluctant friend Mikolai is actually a girl, he is determined to protect her. But battle is a dangerous place where anything can happen—and usually does.

When Mulan receives word that her mother has been accused of practicing witchcraft through her healing herbs and skills, Mulan’s only thought is of defending her. Will she be able to trust Wolfgang to help? Or will sacrificing her own life be the only way to save her mother?



Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.  


You could win...

-   Win (1) physical copy of THE WARRIOR MAIDEN by Melanie Dickerson (US ONLY) or e-copy for (INT)
Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card. 

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