Cover Image: The Queen's Council #2: Feather and Flame

The Queen's Council #2: Feather and Flame

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher  for providing me with this advance listener copy. 


Description from NetGalley:
She brought honor on the battlefield. Now comes a new kind of war…
 
The war is over. Now a renowned hero, Mulan spends her days in her home village, training a militia of female warriors. The peace is a welcome one, and she knows it must be protected.
 
When Shang arrives with an invitation to the Imperial City, Mulan’s relatively peaceful life is upended once more. The aging emperor decrees that Mulan will be his heir to the throne. Such unimagined power and responsibility terrifies her, but who can say no to the Emperor?
 
As Mulan ascends into the halls of power, it becomes clear that not everyone is on her side. Her ministers undermine her, and the Huns sense a weakness in the throne. When hints of treachery appear even amongst those she considers friends, Mulan has no idea whom she can trust.
 
But the Queen’s Council helps Mulan uncover her true destiny. With renewed strength and the wisdom of those that came before her, Mulan will own her power, save her country, and prove once again that, crown or helmet, she was always meant to lead. This fierce reimagining of the girl who became a warrior blends fairy-tale lore and real history with a Disney twist.
 
This is the second book in the series with the first one being about Belle becoming queen. Mulan’s book felt both a natural progression for her character development and unnatural with her being the heir. However, her becoming the empress does make it so that she can access the power that is available to the Disney princess becoming queens in this series. Either way the political men’s reactions towards her feel real and made me so mad on her behalf. I liked the way the story progressed and there didn’t feel like any long down stretches. I think if you liked the first book then you will enjoy this one as well.  
 
Overall: 4/5
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As someone who was never super into Mulan, I found that this book still made sense and you don't need a lot of the background to enjoy it. I found the audiobook a little slow in some parts, but overall enjoyed the story. Will definitely recommend to any Mulan/Disney fans.
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Title:   The Queen's Council #2: Feather and Flame
Author:   Livia Blackburne
Genre:   YA
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

The war is over. Now a renowned hero, Mulan spends her days in her home village, training a militia of female warriors. The peace is a welcome one, and she knows it must be protected.

When Shang arrives with an invitation to the Imperial City, Mulan’s relatively peaceful life is upended once more. The aging emperor decrees that Mulan will be his heir to the throne. Such unimagined power and responsibility terrifies her, but who can say no to the Emperor?

As Mulan ascends into the halls of power, it becomes clear that not everyone is on her side. Her ministers undermine her, and the Huns sense a weakness in the throne. When hints of treachery appear even amongst those she considers friends, Mulan has no idea whom she can trust.

But the Queen’s Council helps Mulan uncover her true destiny. With renewed strength and the wisdom of those that came before her, Mulan will own her power, save her country, and prove once again that, crown or helmet, she was always meant to lead.

I really enjoyed this! The Disney Mulan cartoon is my absolute favorite, and I kept seeing those characters in my mind throughout the entire book. I loved how Mulan’s confidence developed, showcasing her strength. She wasn’t afraid to find help from unexpected sources, and she wasn’t so committed to what she thinks is correct that she ignores anything that doesn’t agree with it. I loved the mix of action and romance, and found this a compelling story.

Livia Blackburne is a bestselling author. Feather and Flame is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Disney in exchange for an honest review.)

(Blog post scheduled for 6/14.)
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The war is over and Mulan has headed back to her village where she has formed a militia of woman who help her carry out missions for the emperor.  When Shang comes to her village asking her to make an appearance before the emperor, she doesn't expect that the emperor will name her his successor.  Will Mulan be able to learn how to rule China?  Can she trust those who are supposedly there to protect and lead her?  IS every one as they seem?  Join Mulan as she learns what it truly means to become a defender of China.

This book does such a lovely job of drawing the reader into Mulan's story shortly after the tale we know has ended.  Yes time has passed as Mulan and her militia have helped on many different missions throughout China, yet they are not left wondering what came between.  Even though this book is published under Disney, please know that characters such as Mushu do not exist in this retelling, yet they are not missed and the author does such a lovely job of integrating the important aspect of ancestors and spirits that is throughout the Chinese culture.  This book seamlessly weaves together a tale that I think Mulan would even be proud of.  Her growth and discovery of herself and how to become a leader who can properly defend China is just beautifully laid out.  

Thank you so much to Disney and NetGalley for allowing me to have an advance copy of this title.
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This one surprised me in a good way! It’s more of a sequel to the Mulan movie. The book was well-paced and had good sword-fighting action. The best part of the book was hands down the forbidden romance! Love love loved it! Kept true to the essence of the original Disney Mulan movie. A joy of a read!
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This was a very good audiobook. I liked the narrator quite a bit, although I will say, at times their narration got a bit breathy, which made it more difficult to hear. I kept having to adjust the volume for proper sound control. That is very minor however. Overall, great job. My full review for the story can be found below:

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Feather and Flame is the second book is Disney's The Queen Council series.If you are unaware, this series imagines what happened post-happily ever after for some of our favorite Disney Princesses. Each book is the story of a different heroine written by a different author.

This story follows Mulan after her victory on the battlefield at the end of the animated film. As the story begins, Mulan is living a quiet life at home. Well, quiet if you consider training her own female militia quiet. But China is at peace and it is a good feeling.

When Shang arrives with an invitation to the Imperial City, Mulan has no idea that her entire life is about to be flipped on its head. Again. Once there, Mulan is treated to a private counsel with the ailing Emperor. He tells her he has a plan for his succession and it is her. She will be named his heir to the throne.

Unfortunately, the transition occurs more quickly than Mulan would have preferred. She is terrified, but must do what she can to rule her country to the best of her abilities. With enemies lurking around every corner and the Huns sensing weakness, will Mulan's reign be doomed from the start?

Mulan is filled with doubt and she's scared. She feels alone. What if she can't do this? There's so much at stake. Luckily, the Queen's Council is there to help Mulan find her true destiny. What is the Queen's Council, you may be asking? I don't want to give anything away, so let's just call it Mulan's Spirit Advisor. Not spiritual advisor, mind you, SPIRIT advisor.

I had a lot of fun reading this story. It was great to be back with Mulan and to get an extension of her story that I think was greatly needed. I have always loved Mulan as a character. She has such a quiet grace about her. She is humble, strong and determined in the face of danger. I was so happy to see that she kept all of these wonderful characteristics throughout this story.

This is a highly political story, so for those of you who maybe don't enjoy a lot of political maneuverings in your stories, you have been forewarned. For me, I love political fantasy, so this worked for me. I would have been happy with a bit more depth, but overall, I was quite pleased with this one!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books. I look forward to getting the next installment of this series!
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I was 16 years old when Disney's Mulan was released.  As a half Asian American I was so happy when it was released!  First time that asian inspired movies where coming out that showed a BA of a female heroine.  

Feather and Flame did not disappoint.  I not only loved the audiobook but I loved Livia Blackburne's take on Mulan as well!

Being dropped into a story like we were with Feather and Flame, one would expect to not know what was going on.  However, this is story of Disney's Mulan and the writing was so well written that I was able to connect immediately to Mulan, Shang, Khan, and so many more.  The new characters added in where a big hit.  I love the sass and the general attitude of Liwen.  I teared up when characters who I learned to love didn't make it.  

The romance was adorable as well.  Shang and Mulan are always endgame in my eyes!  

Overall, I loved this book and I'm sad I read/listened to it in one day.  While it was a great book, you never get to go back and read something again for the first time, so finishing it one day is sad but a testament to Blackburne's writing.
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Thank you to the Disney audio and NetGalley for the advanced electronic audio copy of this amazing book. I really enjoyed this retelling of the story of Mulan — what could have happened after Mulan’s renowned victory on the battlefield. I loved the characters, the world, and the sprinkling of magic that added to the overall feel of the story. Looking forward to the next retelling in the series.
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Feather and Flame is a continuation of the story of Mulan of the Disney franchise. I LOVE a franchise tie-in, especially ones that follow their maturing audiences with more mature content. 

Mulan has returned home to live with her parents and has trained a group of women fighters who are essentially arms-for-hire, doing tasks for the government that others have failed at. She is summoned to the Imperial City where the currently dying emperor declares her to be his successor. 

The story follows Mulan's initial hesitancy and lack of confidence in her abilities as a leader, when she is undermined by her ministers and advisors, to her eventual reclaiming of her role and belief in herself as the best choice to lead. Her success in overcoming the challenges and obstacles provided by the ministers as well as her desire to do her best for all her people illustrate for her that she is not only well-qualified but needed in the role of emperor. Mulan's initial discomfort in such a powerful leadership role followed by the development of confidence in herself and her abilities is a very relatable situation to us all.

This book would be great for middle-grade and YA's and falls into the "clean teen" category. I did not love the audio narrator because I don't feel her voice had enough range to animate each character with distinction.
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Even though this was a sequel in The Queen's Council series this reads like a standalone and I really enjoyed that and think it will be great for students that connect with a princess and they do not feel like they need to read other books to pick up the right one for them. This kicks off after Mulan ends up saving the Empire and is now thrown into her next adventure. It may not be the adventure she had planned or hoped for but the one thing I love about Mulan is her heart and determination. She is loyal to her country and care fiercely. The narrator did a great job and made me feel swept up in the world. I will definitely be adding this to my classroom recommendation list and library.
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Feather and Flame is the second book in The Queen's Council series, stories following the princesses post-Disney film. This one focuses on Mulan after her movie. She's living her best life, training female soldiers in her village until Shang comes to her with a summons from the emperor.

The good news is that The Queen's Council stories are basically standalones nestled under the series title, so each one can be read independent of the other books. I like Mulan (FYI "Once Upon a Time's" is my favorite iteration). She's a great character, a strong woman warrior. However, at its core Mulan and subsequently this story is essentially a war story, one story I really don't like. So what happens when you put a great character in a story I don't like to read? Well, you get this review. This is entirely my opinion based on how I feel about war stories and political stories which this also is.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ALC. I've listened to other stories narrated by Nancy Wu, and she's a great narrator. She's the perfect voice for Mulan.
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