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Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia

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Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia Cover

ISBN13: 9780061730214
ISBN10: 0061730211
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.

But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.

Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.

It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.

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About the Author

Cindy Pon was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and her family immigrated to California in 1980, settling in the suburbs of Los Angeles. She began writing stories before she was officially declared English proficient. She received her bachelor's from the University of California, San Diego, and also earned a master's from New York University. The author is a student of Chinese brush painting, and her love for the art is reflected in her storytelling. Cindy Pon lives with her husband and two small children in San Diego, California.

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

The Eager Readers, March 10, 2010 (view all comments by The Eager Readers)
Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia is and adventure-filled YA fantasy novel of the refreshingly non-Western variety. Fans of epic adventure stories, independent heroines, and Chinese culture will definitely enjoy this book.

I Liked:
- the Asian-inspired setting and mythology
- Ai Ling's healthy appetite! This book had me craving delicious Chinese food every few pages. Ai Ling's passion for tasty meals added a very endearing characteristic to her personality.
- the courageous heroine who rescues herself
- that Ai Ling was no cookie-cutter, generic heroine but a well-developed individual with her own desires, strengths, fears, and flaws.
- Chen Yong as Ai Ling's steadfast and intelligent companion. His history is intriguing and the roll he plays in her journey is valuable and pleasantly complex.
- the ending, which surprised me and is not generally the type of conclusion I enjoy. But in this case, it feels true to the characters and makes me eager to read the second book.

I Wished:
- there were not quite so many 'epic quest' moments and objects (glowing pendant, enchanted dagger, vial of magical tears, etc.). At times, it seemed that every single person or creature they met along the way either brutally attacked them or conveniently had some significant item to bestow upon them.
- the story's momentum didn't lag a bit toward the middle. Most of the time, the encounters with new characters and locations helped to propel the plot or character development forward rather than distracting from the primary focus of their journey, but around the middle of the book the forward momentum seemed to falter a bit. Thankfully, the main characters are consistently compelling and the story's pace & tension both pick up again in the last few chapters.

Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix will appeal to fans of adventure stories and to readers with an interest in Chinese culture and/or courageous heroines. Reading this book made me want to look for more Asian-inspired fantasy novels, and I look forward to reading the second half of Ai Ling's story.

Silver Phoenix does have a significant amount of violence & contains several sexual references (including a scene of attempted rape), so I would not place this book on the middle-grade end of the YA spectrum. Readers who enjoyed Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days or who love to read about strong female characters embarking on fantastical quests, will thoroughly enjoy Silver Phoenix. But I recommend having an ample supply of noodles and pot stickers on hand before starting to read this book because Ai Ling's passion for delicious food is highly contagious! :)
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catie james, January 13, 2010 (view all comments by catie james)
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.

Women traveling alone is a dangerous undertaking, but more than three months pass and an opportunistic merchant tries to force her into an unwanted marriage, Ai Ling knows 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, outrageously flirtatious Li Rong, the three teenagers embark on a pilgrimage that will lead to the gods themselves...and eventually 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. Pon's vividly rendered portraits of both Ai Ling's normal and paranormal "worlds," from the quiet tranquility of her family's home, to the lush splendor of the Golden Palace, or the frightening grotesqueness of The Chief and The Anatomist.

Ms. Pon is exhibits a deft ability in characterization, giving us multidimensional humans, appropriately removed deities, and viscously single-minded evil entities. Even Zhong Ye boasts enough shading and nuance to become more than the stereotypical archvillan. Ai Ling is a compelling protagonist and though some might say it's unusual for a young woman in her position to so easily overstep society's boundaries (even to save a beloved parent), Ms. Pon has already established that Ai Ling is unaccustomed to those restraints. My only complaint in this area is while Chong Ye is clearly the odd on favorite for Ai Ling's romantic interest, he falls flat in the presence of Li Rong's flare and charm.

And while the continued reference to characters packing and unloading their knapsacks (did knapsacks even exist in ancient China?) kept jarring me out of the story, I loved everything about SILVER PHOENIX. This is one of those rare books that has made my "keeper" shelf.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
emmejo, July 22, 2009 (view all comments by emmejo)
Ai lIng is secretly pleased not to be betrothed like most girls her age, she has too much she wants to see and learn and do. When her father goes to the imperial palace and doesn't return Ai Ling sets out to try and help him. However she starts encountering strange, terrifying beings she starts to realize that she has unusual powers and that she has a destiny that requires her to learn use them.

I really enjoyed this book. Asian fantasy is far less common then fantasy set in a world based off European type countries. The writing was beautiful and flowing and the characters interesting.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061730214
Subtitle:
Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
Author:
Pon, Cindy
Publisher:
Greenwillow Books
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
History
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
People & Places - Asia
Subject:
Girls & Women
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Voyages and travels
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090428
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.13 in 17.28 oz
Age Level:
from 14

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Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » General

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