“Reflection: A Twisted Tale” by Elizabeth Lim, review

Reflection: A Twisted Tale is one of the novels in the Twisted Tales series. When being written, the series includes seven titles that was published over the past 4 years, with the seventh being newly released this summer and the eighth due in early 2020. Each book of the series is stand-alone, which means you can read whichever stories that intrigue you the most in whichever order that you feel like.

If you are
unfamiliar with the series, each novel provides a spin on a Disney classic,
twisting the tales we know clearly and discovering how the characters would
react should be an element of their story go astray. The twist takes place at
this point where Mulan defeats the Huns after causing an avalanche on the
mountain. In the midst of the commotion, Captain Li Shang is wounded mortally.
Mulan has to travel to the underworld, under the reign of King Yama, in order to
rescue Shang and bring him back to China.

Reflection was written by Elizabeth Lim while the other novels of the series were written by Jen Calonita and Liz Braswell. However, as with the past installments in the Twisted Tales series, this novel is jam-packed with adventure, with Elizabeth Lim’s descriptive style perfectly weaving Chinese underworld and cultural mythology into Mulan’s established character lines. The result really is a beautiful read.  Surely, Mulan is our powerful protagonist, along with Captain Shang by her side throughout. Mushu, who is everyone’s favourite dragon, also has a brief appearance, but disappointingly does not present throughout most of the novel. Instead, we will be joined by the great lion ShiShi – the captain’s family guardian. Although nowhere near as sassy or scrawny as Mushu, the lion ShiShi serves as a lovable and wise guide through the underworld, which doesn’t sound like the place where you would want to travel alone, even if you are a coursing river. Similarly to Once Upon a Dream, the adventure narrative follows our heroes on a long journey through countless action scenes, with bandit ghosts and demons, family ancestors to battle along way through the levels of King Yama’s realm.