Sunday, January 9, 2011

ARC Tour & Review: Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang


Athletic and strong willed, Princess Emmajin's determined to do what no woman has done before: become a warrior in the army of her grandfather, the Great Khan Khubilai. In the Mongol world the only way to achieve respect is to show bravery and win glory on the battlefield. The last thing she wants is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who challenges her beliefs in the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no skills in the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Still, he charms the Khan with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a different Marco as they travel across 13th-century China, hunting 'dragons' and fighting elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a different battle as she struggles with her attraction towards Marco and her incredible goal of winning fame as a soldier.

  • Pub. Date: January 2011
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
The Elliott Review:

This novel stands apart from most others in the young adult genre. It carries an intellectual weight and a sense of timelessness that is a product both of refined, fluid prose and expert treatment of historical subjects.Yang has managed showcase Mongolian culture in as authentic a way as a modern-day author can while doing justice to themes that any teen today can relate to.

Princess Emmajin's voice stands out as unique and as representative of the Mongolian ideal of valuing glory on the battlefield. However, even in doing so she is highly relevant to the modern woman because to obtain her goals, she must go against everything is "proper" for a Mongolian woman. She navigates the waters of her first love with grace and maturity, all the time weighing her own feelings and desires against her responsibility to her society.

One thing I loved about this book is that the central focus was Emmajin's journey and development as a character. Although romance is an important and driving facet of the story, it is not the only thing we see. It's interesting to see how the ideas Marco brings from the West bring about changes in her mind and heart.

Source: Thanks to Holly at Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours for hosting this tour.



  1. Nice review. Very excited to be the next up on the list, though it won't be sent out until next week.

  2. A very thoughtful review! I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed this book. I haven't been able to get hold of a copy because it's not in the UK but the author has written a lovely guest post for my blog :)

  3. Now this sounds like a very different book in a good way. Nice review.

  4. Good review. Love reading characters that evolve.

  5. This sounds promising. I am intrigued by characters that grow. Thanks for your opinion.

  6. Nice review. I really liked this book. I thought it was great, although I didn't love the ending.

    This was a great book, with a fabulous and strong female lead. (Finally! Thank you!)

  7. I adored this book; can't wait to put a final copy on my Mod Podge Bookshelf.