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When the Sea Turned to Silver Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The Tiger Emperor is conscripting all the men of the mountain villages to build the Vast Wall surrounding the kingdom. But when they reach Pinmei's village, they also take her grandmother, the Storyteller. In order to save her, Pinmei and her friend Yishan embark on a voyage to find the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night—the only thing the Emperor will trade for a prisoner's freedom. From the top of Never-Ending Mountain to the City of Bright Moonlight to the bottom of the sea and back, their journey brings readers to familiar characters and settings as well as new ones. Combining the epic quest of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the tight, cyclical plotting of Starry River of the Sky, this is the strongest addition yet, binding the previous volumes together even more closely. As in the earlier companion novels, stories inspired by Chinese folktales are frequently interspersed, giving astute readers critical background information and clues and letting them see the future of their favorite characters, as many stories gain additional chapters. The framing narrative is bleaker and darker, and greater emphasis is placed on the importance and role of stories and storytellers. Lin's vibrant chapter decorations and full-color, full-page paintings add to the work's beauty. VERDICT A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA
*"Lin's vibrant chapter decorations and full-color, full-page paintings add to the work's beauty....A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections."―School Library Journal (starred review)
*"Compelling....Lin's fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Pinmei's journey has a compelling urgency that quickens the pace and enlivens the adventure, while the short stories are smoothly integrated and provide sly, subtle connections to plot events, making satisfying the climactic scene in which the elements converge....Lin's characteristic elegant prose...keeps its enchanting, luminous quality."―BCCB
"In this captivating tale... readers will not only enjoy the 'frame' story revolving around Pinmei and Yishan, but will also like (and recognize) some of the other stories being told."―School Library Connection
* "The lively mixture of adventure, mystery, and fantasy, supported by compelling character development and spellbinding language, will captivate a wide swath of readers."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
Top customer reviews
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So where do I begin? These books are brimming with eastern folklore and magic. I drunk everything up; I was thirsty for tales like this and I didn't even know it until I found it. A little background about me: I'm Asian and came to the United States when I was little. I've always felt like I was in limbo, not quite American but not quite Asian either. Asian stories, when translated, are always a little clunky in my opinion. And I've never been able to read my native language so original texts were out of my reach. This, an Asian story told in such beautiful, lyrical English, was so refreshing to me. I want more! More!
Of the three books, this one is probably for older kids just because the narration style and plot lines are more complex. There's a lot going on and the timeline isn't linear so it can be confusing. But the characters are lovable and the story is compelling. Plus, it wraps things up very nice and neat in the end.
Can't recommend this series and this particular book enough!
Thundering hooves pounded the mountainside. The front door crashed to the ground. The Tiger Emperor’s soldiers roared when they saw Amah standing in the open doorway. “She’s the one we want! Take her!” Torchlight flared across Amah as they dragged her from the hut.
With his head raised high, a young boy fought his way through the soldiers to their commander. The watchful Yishan, who lived alone high up the craggy slopes, barreled into the hut like a fierce mountain dog. “Do not take her!”
The commander threw Yishan against the wall like a bag of rice. Torches hurtled into the room. Orange flames licked the thatch as Pinemei’s home caught fire. Yishan flew to the back wall and ripped down shelves, kicking a shuttered window. Pinmei scrambled from hiding and out the smoking window. Her blazing hut lit up the night sky.
The Tiger Emperor’s armies swept throughout the land, attacking villages in the deep of the night. Thousands of men were captured and conscripted to build the Vast Wall. Any appeals to the Emperor were met with the same reply: Bring a Luminous Stone that Lights Up the Night if you seek freedom for the one you love.
But why take Amah? The old woman was the Storyteller, not capable of forced labor. Pinmei and Yishan decided their best chance of saving Amah was to find a Luminous Stone for the Tiger Emperor. They knew a dragon’s pearl was in the City of Bright Moonlight. Could that save Amah?
They set out in the deep snow. A mysterious rider in gleaming blue silk galloped past through the mist, only to be thrown from her horse. The children rushed to her crumpled body and were amazed by her beauty. Her voice rang like water chimes when she spoke, but her eyes were marred by sorrow. She too was bound for the City of Bright Moonlight. The three walked together down the icy road.
Their journey takes them through places where harsh realities and legend intermingle. The greed and cruelty of the Tiger Emperor invade every village in the land, even disturbing the watery realms of the Sea King. Crimson butterflies, stone fish, scarred women—even Spring itself—fall under the iron rod of his wrath. With every new tale from the Storyteller’s trove, this world expands, rising to the Starry River and plunging into the silver sea.
Grace Lin’s masterful storytelling entwines three timeless themes: good fortune, peace, and the quest for immortality. She is a Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist.