Aug 2, 2021

Review--Reflection by Elizabeth Lim


What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?

When Captain Shang is mortally wounded by Shan Yu in battle, Mulan must travel to the Underworld, Diyu, in order to save him from certain death. But King Yama, the ruler of Diyu, is not willing to give Shang up easily.

With the help of Shang's great lion guardian ShiShi, Mulan must traverse Diyu to find Shang's spirit, face harrowing obstacles, and leave by sunrise⁠—or become King Yama's prisoner forever.

Moreover, Mulan is still disguised as the soldier called Ping, wrestling with the decision to reveal her true identity to her closest friend.

Will Mulan be able to save Shang before it's too late? Will he ever be able to trust her again? Or will she lose him—and be lost in the Underworld⁠—forever?



I picked up Elizabeth Lim's Reflection when I was wanting a nice standalone novel and since I am enjoying the Disney Twisted Tales series thought why not pick up one of the older ones? In this one we encounter a tale with Mulan in that Shang gets injured and is dying and she must travel to the Chinese underworld to rescue his soul because he is gone forever.

Shang gets injured when he takes the blow meant for Ping while they were battling Shan-Yu. When Shang is about to die, Ping is visited by the ghost of Shang's father pleading her to save his son. That is she were to travel to the underworld and plead a case to King Yama, Shang could be saved. Since Mulan considers Shang a friend of sorts, and since he took the blow meant for her, she readily agrees. Sadly, she leaves Mushu behind--a huge mistake in my opinion because come on, it's Mushu! Joining her instead is ShiShi, Shang's family guardian.

Ping--for that's what she still goes by for the time being--and ShiShi enter Diyu and make a deal with King Yama. Mulan has until the end of the night to find Shang and reach the 100th level of Diyu in order for them to both leave and return to their mortal lives. If she fails, they both remain in the underworld and Ping will turn into a demon and will be under Yama's command. Finding Shang will be the next step and overcoming all the challenges lie in wait.

I guess one thing I thought odd was that everyone still saw Mulan as Ping. I mean, I guess I sort of thought that the god of the underworld would be able to see into Ping's soul and see her true identity, but alas it seems even gods and ghosts and demons can still be fooled by Mulan's charade.

I don't know much about Chinese mythology but I did find the encounters and trials Mulan had to face interesting. I always loved mythology growing up, so I did enjoy this story even if I was unfamiliar with everything.

It's not long before Mulan finds Shang and convinces him of her Ping identity and that his father led her to rescue him. Soon, he joins her and ShiShi on their quest to escape.

Mulan does a lot of self-discovery in this one as well. Much like in the movie, she realizes the choices she was making were not just about saving her father. She was trying to proves something to herself as well. While the book doesn't follow the course of the movie, we do still see some famous lines pop up here and there in a new light. Mulan comes to all the same answers and self-discoveries that she did there too. 

Another thing I thought odd was how this time, the avalanche really did seem to defeat the Huns. Though what really happened to Shan-Yu afterwards was a little unclear. So there's no big rescue at the end with the emperor...unless that's something that happens off the page of course, but I feel like it's not, but the mystery of Shan-Yu though was still not quite clear.

All in all, this was a fun story. I did still enjoy how Mulan and Shang came together in the end. In some ways it was still like the movie though the path to get to those certain moments was different. Reading this definitely makes me want to watch the movie again! Loved that one (the animated one of course!) and all the music included. Reflection was a nice twisted version of the beloved classic, Mulan, and what would have happened if Mulan had to travel to the underworld!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

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