Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Greenwillow/Harper Teen
My rating: 5/5
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.
I love 'Silver Phoenix' on so many levels, for SO many reasons. I love Chinese history and folklore which is included in 'Silver Phoenix.' Ai Ling's adventure was full of suspense, sadness, possible love, the paranormal, everything! It is packed with demons and spirits, which I LOVE! It was very easy to picture everything from the book. The places Ai Ling went and the people she spoke to just sprang to life in my mind as I read because of Cindy Pon's incredible writing!
The story is told through Ai Ling. She is a young woman and, in the beginning, her parents are trying to arrange a marriage for her but no one seems to take interest or want to be with her. Mostly because of her father's and the families reputation. Her father eventually has to return to the Palace and Ai Ling runs away to look for her father-and avoid having to marry a disgusting man.
Ai Ling's compassion and kindness are admirable. Despite all the horrific things that happen to her, she still has a conscious and tries to reach out and help people, even if they have done her wrong. For example, Fei Ming attempted to rape Ai Ling and she fends him off and hurts him rather badly. Regardless of what he tried to do to her, she still reached out to help him. She still healed him and saved his life.
I can relate to Ai Ling in ways that I usually can't with other characters. One of those things is her height issues. She's regarded as being "too tall" and I have also had that problem my entire life. So I feel like I connected to her more because of that. You never really read books were the main character has an abnormal quality. Not that I attribute being tall to abnormal. I'm just saying, usually female lead characters are flawlessly beautiful and oblivious to is....sometimes. I also never got the imression that Ai Ling was stunningly gorgeous OR ugly. She, for once, was just average! I get tired of always reading about beautiful women/girls who are always like "Oh, I am so average and boring, why would he be attracted to me?" Meanwhile, they are perfect: height, teeth, hair, eyes, attitude, completely flawless. It's AWESOME to read a book that I love that has an actual average girl in it! It's different, and I love different! : )
'Silver Phoenix' is a beautiful story. It's written in an enthralling way that leaves you wanting more. Especially between a Ai Ling and a certain someone!!! Ha ha. I won't spoil it and say who, but the whole time I was like "AHHH!! JUST KISS ALREADY!" lol. If you haven't checked out 'Silver Phoenix' by Cindy Pon yet, I highly suggest that you do. And be on the lookout for her upcoming book "Fury of the Phoenix' which will be released in April, 2011. It's the 'Kingdom of Xia, book 2" so it's a continuation from 'Silver Phoenix' which I should be posting a review for really really soon!! AH! I can't wait to tear through it!
Has anyone else read 'Silver Phoenix' yet? What did you think? If you haven't, what are you waiting for??? : )