February felt like a drag. Maybe it was the never-ending freezing temperatures and snow or maybe it was all the madness in the world, I’m not sure. But the month certainly felt like it was never going to end.
Stagnancy permeated the air throughout the month, and it bred this slow, sluggish feeling in me that I just could not shake. I felt stuck throughout February, repeating everything day-in-day-out, and it just burned me out. I still feel that way actually, and I don’t know how to shake it.
I did, however, get in a little more reading in February than I had expected to. I finished five books during the month, most of them were on the shorter side in terms of length, but it was enough for me.
My two favourite books that I read during the month happened to be on two of my favourite subjects, Mulan and Ms. Marvel.
If you didn’t know already, I love Mulan. I love absolutely everything about Mulan. I especially love the animated 1998 animated Disney movie. You can read about my full love for that movie here. I’m also highly terrified about many of the decisions that have been made in regards to the upcoming Disney’s live-action Mulan. Like really, really terrified that they’ll fuck it up and ruin all my magic of the animated version for me. (I pray they don’t, but I don’t have great feelings considering all that I’ve heard about the live-action.)
Luckily for me, Reflections by Elizabeth Lim didn’t disappoint when it came to reinterpreting Mulan’s story, well it’s Disney-fied version. The novel is part of Disney’s ongoing Twisted Tales series of books that puts a twist on many of the classic Disney films like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. In this version of the story, Mulan journeys into the Underworld to rescue Shang after he is mortally wounded in the final fight that takes place in the mountain between China’s army and the Huns.
The book’s plot is a mixture of Chinese lore and the Greek Orpheus myth, both of which piqued my interest immediately. The novel explores the dynamic between Mulan and Shang more than the first movie did. You get to see them work one-on-one with each other and see a real friendship form between the two of them. I loved seeing that dynamic. One of the bonuses was that the book explored the Chinese lore surrounding death and the afterlife. I remembered being told these stories when I was younger but hadn’t really thought about them until I read this book.
Reflection stirred a lot of good memories for me and expanded the world of Mulan, and I absolutely loved that. I kind of wish Disney would make this the plot of their live-action movie instead whatever they’re doing. (Did I mention how terrified I am about the live-action movie ruining Mulan for me?)
February was also the month I said goodbye to Ms. Marvel, a very bittersweet goodbye. I’ve been reading Marvel’s Ms. Marvel comic series for the better part of the last four years. It was one of the first series that got me into reading comics and I’ve loved every moment of Kamala Khan becoming this iconic superhero that has and continues to inspire many around the world including me. Kamala Khan was one of Marvel’s first Muslim superheroes and not only did she front her own series, she was one of the few women of colour superheroes to have an ongoing series at the comics publisher.
It’s honestly one of the best series that I’ve read from Marvel, one that explored ideas that few other comic series ever had including race, religion, bullying, relationships in all its many forms, family dynamics, sacrifice, and what it truly means to be a hero and a friend. This series has been a constant for me, and I’m sad to see it come to an end. Luckily, Kamala continues to live on in many other Marvel series including a new series called Magnificent Ms. Marvel from Saladin Ahmed and Minkyu Jung, which debuts later this month.
If you’ve ever been interested in reading comics and don’t know where to start, I would say to start with Ms. Marvel. You can start off with the first volume of the series (here) or pick up the first omnibus edition (here).
If you want a more updated look at what I’m reading and my thoughts about them, check out my Instagram: @civiilyreads.
What were your favourite books you read in February? Any recommendations?
Thanks for reading!
* I am a Chapters-Indigo affiliate.