Grade 9 Up—At 17, Ai Ling is past the age when most girls in the kingdom of Xia have married and borne children. The gods, it would seem, have a different destiny in store for her, one that begins to reveal itself when her father travels to the Emperor's Palace and fails to return. Ai Ling is determined to find him and destroy his captor, a corrupt advisor who has unnaturally extended his life by feeding on the souls of others. On her journey, which is rich in action but a little slight on character development, Ai Ling meets Chen Yong, a young man of mixed race who seeks the truth of his birth and faces a variety of predators, both demonic and sexual. Fans of Tamora Pierce's and Robin McKinley's work will enjoy the adventure and strong female protagonist; the Chinese-influenced society and bestiary may also tempt aficionados of Asian culture and media.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* If the cover image of a fearless Chinese heroine reminds readers of such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that’s intentional; the story inside will, too. First-time novelist Pon has a screenwriter’s talent for producing a sweeping saga, and in this, the first of two books set in ancient China, 17-year-old Ai Ling faces demons, monsters, and gods as she tries to fulfill her destiny. Frightened after a local man tries to blackmail her into marriage, Ai Ling resolves to journey to the emperor’s palace, where her missing father was last seen. Along the way, she meets the handsome Chen Yong, who is of mixed parentage and on a quest to find answers to questions about his family that have haunted him his whole life. (In the story’s prologue, readers get hints about his origins.) As in most martial-arts movies, the story sometimes takes a backseat to the action, but Pon doesn’t stint when it comes to her characters. Ai Ling is a clever and determined heroine, Chen’s younger brother is a witty teen whose girl-crazy ways transcend the centuries, and even the monsters have dimension. Pon’s writing, both fluid and exhilarating, shines whether she’s describing a dinner delicacy or what it feels like to stab an evil spirit in the gut. There’s a bit of sex here, including a near rape, but it’s all integral to a saga that spins and slashes as its heroine tries to find her way home. Grades 9-12. --Ilene CooperSee all Editorial Reviews
An engaging story, a bit like Eon and Eona.
A marvelously strongly young woman who does not fit the usual mold society offers. Read more
I finished reading Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX around one in the morning last night – I simply couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened to Ai Ling and Chen Yong, her father... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Madhuri Pavamani Blaylock
I enoyed this book a lot. The descriptions were wonderful (btw all the food descriptions made me hungry! Don't eat on an empty stomach) and I liked the heroine's spunk.Published on March 7, 2013 by Nin
This is the first book in Beyond the Kingdom of Xia duology by Pon. The second book, Fury of the Phoenix, has already been released. Read morePublished on January 30, 2013 by Karissa Eckert
Silver Phoenix is the story of Ai Ling, a strong, independent young woman who leaves her home to both escape an unwanted marriage and to find her missing father. Read morePublished on July 19, 2012 by Hepius
this book definatly has a lot of action in it but the author doesn't really take the time to develop a lot of key events. they just seem to happen out of nowhere. Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by B. Dropping
The Silver Phoenix was a mixed bag for me. I wanted to absolutely love it from the glowing reviews it received, but it fell short of most of my hopes and expectations. Read morePublished on January 25, 2012 by Joanna Steele
Why I read this: I've had it on my shelf for more than a year and on my wishlist even longer than that. It was about time to finally pick it up. Read morePublished on July 21, 2011 by Kristen M. Harvey
I love 'Silver Phoenix' on so many levels, for SO many reasons. I love Chinese history and folklore which is included in 'Silver Phoenix. Read morePublished on July 12, 2011 by Faye