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Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia Hardcover – April 28, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Without giving away a major plot point, I'll just say that reading this book really made me want to hear the story of the Silver Phoenix.
The lead is a kick-butt female with a cool power.
Throughout the entire book, I didn't really get a sense of who the villain was and what the motivations for attacking Ai Ling throughout the book were; I didn't really feel like we got to know the villain(s) well enough to fear them. I know it's explicitly spelled out for us near the end, but that seemed too late. I think it could have helped tie together some of the events of the book so they seemed less like a series of episodes and more like a complete story.
Ai Ling's power seems to work a little too well for someone who is making it up as she goes along.
I wouldn't call this story romantic in any way. I read reviews that mentioned romance, and so was disappointed to find that though there are two people who have feelings for each other, that relationship is not really explored, and it's left unresolved at the end. I don't hold it against the book that it wasn't romantic, more against the reviews that mentioned a romance that isn't really a *romance.* Unresolved sexual tension? Yes. Romance? No.
All that being said, if a prequel is ever written about the Silver Phoenix I will definitely read it. If more is written about Ai Ling, I'll probably read that too. This book was a nice change of pace from the more euro-centric fantasies I generally read.
From the beginning, Ai Ling has lived life differently from most young women in Xia. Born of parents who married for love, she is a cherished only child in a society that prizes sons, educated by her scholarly father and, as she comes of age, the ability to sense the thoughts of those around her.
When her father is called to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams expecting to be away no longer than two months, he leave his daughter with two things: a green jade pendant carved with the character "spirit" and the reminder that she is special beyond the belief held by a doting father.
A woman traveling alone is a dangerous undertaking, but more than three months pass and an opportunistic merchant tries to force her into an unwanted marriage, and Ai Ling knows that she must journey to the Palace herself and bring her father home. Attack by an unknown, dark force brings rescue and a traveling companion in the form of nineteen-year-old Chen Yong, a young man also searching for his father.
It is only after another attack, the counsel of Master Tan, and a glimpse at The Book of The Dead, that Ai Ling truly begins to grasp the enormity of her power and the menace she faces. Joined by Chen Wong's brother, the outrageously flirtatious Li Rong, the three teenagers embark on a pilgrimage that will lead to the gods themselves...and eventually to a confrontation with an evil sorcerer Ai Ling has (unknowingly) faced before.
Where do I start with all the things I love about Cindy Pon's debut fantasy SILVER PHOENIX? Finally, a novel based on Chinese legends and myth rather than the same, tired rehash of Celtic and other western European folklore. I relished Ms.Read more ›
Hmm... Silver Phoenix, for me, was kind of a mixed bag. I was strongly attracted by the fantasy imperial China setting and enjoyed all the unique "sights" so to speak (and the tastes, while we're at it! The food descriptions are sumputuous throughout~), but the story overall felt a little disjointed to me. I didn't feel much of a sense of urgency for Ai Ling's quest throughout the story, even when--logically--I knew there was a lot at stake (e.g. her dad is missing, maybe dead; her household is running out of money; perverts keep pressuring Ai Ling to marry them, etc). There was just something about the narrative that left me feeling strangely detached.
My other big "huh?" moment comes from this huge and sudden turnaround in the story halfway through it. At almost exactly its midpoint, the Actual Quest (featuring the Final Villain) abruptly kicks in in a *literally* deus ex machina way (a flying dragon appears in our heroes' path to take them up to the Heavenly Mountain where a goddess appears and conveniently Explains All about the Final Villain, the goal and stakes of The Quest, etc, in one fell swoop).
That said, this sudden-turnaround was kind of where the story came to life for me. Fun but somewhat extraneous characters quickly exit, and the story shifts from Merry Band Journeying Through Monster-ridden Countryside to kind of a Chinese mythology phantasmagoria version of Alice in Wonderland, with our heroine and company traveling through truly wondrous and strange new lands (which, sadly, don't all get fleshed out).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this after liking the author's Serpentine, which I discovered through a Kindle daily deal. I really enjoyed further exploring the land of Xian and its fantastic mythology... Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Clafoutis
Fairly straightforward YA novel, and a good story that stretches between two books. The stuff on Chinese mythology and gender issues in Ancient China is spot-on, and I enjoyed... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Reader
I love this book. It arrived exactly as described, in excellent condition. Thank you, I cannot wait to get the sequel.Published 10 months ago by michelle austin
Completes first book in series and is so interesting. Another page turnerPublished 10 months ago by Sandy Worchester
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 15 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