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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Silver Phoenix

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon (April 28th 2009—Harper)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “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.”

Review: Silver Phoenix definitely was a fantasy read. The way it was written made me think of an RPG (role-playing game). Granted I have not played a single video game in my entire life but I like to watch others play. It was set up as a fight monster A, talk to townspeople, fight monster B, eat and rest, and so forth until you fight final boss. And let me tell you, they ate quite frequently and was told in great detail. After a while even I started to get hungry, mostly because I have eaten many of the food described so I can imagine it, and ended skimming through those scenes. And there was many of those scenes skimmed…Kill final boss, gigantic scene where spirits and sparkly lights come out of said boss’s mouth. Heroes or heroine in this case goes back home after completing her goal.

Cindy Pon had a never ending supply of mystical creatures! Some were interesting, others disturbing, but they were all, how should I say this, unique. But some scenes had me twitching like a rabid bunny.

“The Life Seeker can easily be distinguished by the extra breast on her sternum. The tips are dark blue, as her tongue and womanhood. Legend has it that the extra breast was given to replace the heart she does not have…” This is also a creature that wears a sheer top so you really cannot miss the other “thing” sticking out…Thankfully that is about the worst of the demons.

Another twitching scene: ‘“Don’t worry, Ai Ling. My manhood may be sitting in a jar, but I can still satisfy you in every way…” I may not be a guy, but this still makes me cringe and uncomfortable. Speaking of awkwardness, this book talks about rape and sex so if are not comfortable or allowed to read about such topics, then I suggest ask permission or skip those scenes. It is only a few short scenes, but a disclaimer can never hurt anyone.

This was a fast-paced book that took you all over the lands! From country side to country side, to the heavens and below, the reader embarks on the journey with Ai Ling. The tales were riveting and the details and explanations were exceptionally acute. Sometimes being more of the focal point than the actual plot.

Ai Ling and the rest of the characters took some time to get used to. She was a bit stubborn and naïve but later learned to…tolerate?

What I would have wished for the more details of Silver Phoenix, Ai Ling is the reincarnation of her. I think it would be a great idea if she wrote a sequel/prequel type of book told in Silver Phoenix’s point of view. It would clear up a lot of questions as well as provide another fascinating read.

Also this may be an ARC issue of not, but towards the end, Ai Ling’s father talks about Chen Yong’s past. There is a sudden shift of point of views that took a while to figure out and by the time I did, it went back to third person. You know, with the he’s/she’s instead of I’s. Either the editors missed some quotations marks or they did notice this fumble.

Overall: I hope to see some type of sequel to this gorgeously written novel.

Cover B+
I am still awkward seeing an oriental girl on the cover but the shininess draws me in like a moth.

EDIT: Quite the comments I seem to have obtained. Anyway concerning my cover opinion I would just like to state that I have not seem many oriental girls on American novels so my first reaction was of course, huh. It took me by surprise and slightly out of my comfort zone. After some time I was able to digest and thus graded the cover. I hope I have offended anyone by my statement (if fact I'm oriental myself so...?) or perhaps I am reading more into the comments than necessary.


  1. Why is it awkward to see an Asian girl on the cover? Now THAT is something worthy of a blog post. I may have to work on that...

  2. Why is it awkward to see an Asian girl? This one doesn't sound like my thing, but the cover is awfully pretty!

  3. This is the best book I've read in a while. It took me a while to finish it because I was savoring the gorgeous prose - definitely no skimming for me! I loved how Ms. Pon balanced spunkiness in the MC with vulnerability so she never comes across as irritating like a lot of MCs with the same characteristics are. And I liked how the characters stayed true to themselves right to the end so that the story came to its natural inevitable conclusion. The last scene was heart wrenching. I have high hopes for the sequel.


  4. I've always wanted to read that one. It sounds different to me. And yeah, why is it awkward to see an Asian girl on the cover?