Books I Read: Silver Phoenix

— January 27, 2010 (2 comments)
(Note: It may appear that I'm reading books fast, because I posted a book just last week. The truth is I meant to start talking about books a while ago, but haven't gotten around to it until now. I usually only read a book a month, if I'm lucky.)

Title: Silver Phoenix
Author: Cindy Pon
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 2009
Content Rating: R for a scene of almost-rape, a scene of almost-sex, and many scenes of violent action.*

On the day of her (unwanted) betrothal, Ai Ling discovers a strange and frightening ability to hear the thoughts of others. When her father disappears on a trip to see the Emperor, she goes to rescue him and finds that her ability is more powerful than she thought. She has been chosen by the immortals to destroy an ancient evil that has ruled the Kingdom of Xia from the shadows for generations.

I'm sort of a sucker for Asian, or even pseudo-Asian, folklore. This book is like a YA version of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Set in ancient China, Ai Ling faces demons, makes mixed-race friends (to which I also have a soft spot, I guess), and talks to the immortals themselves. That was the most interesting part to me: the portrayal of the gods and immortals of ancient China. We just don't get enough of that in the West, and it was weird to read sometimes, but also very cool. Like watching Spirited Away.

At the same time there was something that didn't grab me as tightly as I wanted it to. (MINOR SPOILER): It may have been the idea that Ai Ling was living out someone else's destiny -- actually that of a previous incarnation. I was really curious about the character of Silver Phoenix (Ai Ling's past life) and why she did what she did, setting things up for Ai Ling. (END SPOILER)

Although it may have just been my Western mindset messing things up. Whatever it was, I'm definitely interested in a reading a sequel and staying in this world a while longer.

* I base content ratings on what a movie might be rated if the things shown in the book were shown in the movie. Please remember that ratings are subjective, and I don't always remember/notice things. If you're unsure the book is right for you, do some research so you can make your own decision.

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  1. I really enjoyed Silver Phoenix, and I'm hoping there is more about her history in the second book. From what Cindy has said, I'm thinking there will be.

  2. This is the second time I've read a recommendation for this one, and it does look fascinating. I loved Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Thanks!