Read Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon Online


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 thatNo 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....

Title : Silver Phoenix
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061730214
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 340 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Silver Phoenix Reviews

  • Nikki
    2019-01-06 10:14

    Up to a point, this review shouldn't be majorly spoilery about events (although it will be about themes). I'll let you know just before I do the spoilery part.I had honestly never heard of Cindy Pon until the day before yesterday, and I might not have picked up her book to read even if I had. Mostly because I'm not supposed to be buying new books at the moment, admittedly. But inkstone's post about it, here, a post about the whitewashing of the covers for this book, caught my eye. You can find other links on the matter here, including a place to preview the first seventy pages of the novel. The story in brief: Silver Phoenix is a book heavily based on Chinese myth and history. The original cover is striking and beautiful, to my mind: it has the protagonist, Ai Ling, front and centre, dressed in a Chinese style. But... the book wasn't selling. This was partly because mainstream bookstores didn't stock it, although I know that this isn't a surprise, at least in the case of Borders. In any case, the publisher, in making the paperback, decided to redo the cover. Now, according to Cindy Pon herself, she totally supports the decision of her publisher, and they are working to include Chinese elements and keep those elements strongly present in the covers. But looking at the covers, which you can see here, I don't see that. I see something that looks a lot more like urban fantasy. That looks like it might be the cover of any number of the YA books I've picked up (and usually, put straight back down again with a sigh). Her clothing, the little we can see of her face... she looks more like me than she looks like the original vision of Ai Ling.In any case, in all this discussion, I got interested in the book and bought it -- the hardcover, with the original artwork. I'm told that this isn't going to help, but I wanted to read this book, and to be able to talk about it, and to have it with the original artwork.I ordered it, it arrived today, and I finished it just before I started writing this. It's easy to read and very accessible, and the story surprised me in two very major ways and a couple of more minor ones. It really isn't anything like the Generic YA Book my brain conjured up on looking at the new covers. The mythology is somewhat new to me, and it's lovely to wander through a story in which what happens next isn't what I would expect from a typical Western fantasy novel. The plot is bold -- it doesn't shy away from rape and death, from men trying to force young girls to do what they want.Parts of the plot felt a little thin to me, unfortunately. The sheer onslaught of the demons, and the way Ai Ling's powers quickly develop to handle any problem, are part of that, and also that I didn't feel that the problem, the climax, was quite worth the level of supernatural intervention we were seeing. I didn't feel major peril to the whole land of Xia, only to Ai Ling herself. That part is well written -- tense, a little difficult to read, in the way that it should be -- but it didn't quite seem to fit. And the freedom Ai Ling is given doesn't feel realistic -- although, granted, that's based partially on my own limited and Western understanding of the conditions in China for women in an equivalent sort of time period.This next bit is spoilery, because I want to talk about the two big surprises and one of the minor ones.The first surprise: we get to know and like a character who ultimately dies. I was so sure Ai Ling would go through with her plan to bring him back, but she doesn't. I think that's great. A touch of realism. Acceptance that you have to let someone go -- no matter how much you like them.The second surprise: the potential love interests do not fall into each other's arms at the end. I expected it all along and was glad when it didn't happen. It's different.The minor surprise of most note: Ai Ling loves to eat. Here is a girl who thinks food is important, who enjoys eating. I don't know to what extent the attitude is reflected in YA, but the girls I knew at the age of seventeen were all about being thin. Open enjoyment of food... well. Not really the done thing. But here is Ai Ling, enjoying food! It made me smile so much.Overall, it was a story I enjoyed. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, the mythology, the clear and easy prose style. It isn't my top recommendation of this year, or anything like that, but it's a solid and entertaining story, and if this review has intrigued you in any way, I hope you'll pick it up.08/02/2011: An edit to add in a couple of links! A critique of the 'feminism' of this book, and a critique of the writing and plotting. (Both are very negative toward the book; interesting reading, even if you enjoyed it -- perhaps especially if you enjoyed it, as you have to re-examine your feelings on the topic.)

  • Jimmy Navy
    2019-01-14 06:15

    EARTH!!!FIRE!!!WIND!!!WATER!!!HEART!!!Dan muncullah Captain Planet, seorang superhero yang terbentuk dari kekuatan alam dan dibungkus dengan kekuatan cinta manusia. Salah satu film kartun yang sangat saya sukai waktu kecil. Lima remaja berbeda bangsa. Terberkati dengan kekuatan super yang berbeda. Bersatu untuk menciptakan kekuatan yang lebih super dan bertanggung jawab untuk menyelamatkan dunia. Waktu kecil, saya suka berkhayal menjadi salah satu dari anak-anak itu, memiliki kekuatan super untuk … baiklah, bukan untuk menyelamatkan dunia, tapi untuk bisa disombongkan ke teman-teman saya yang lain. Saya berkhayal, dengan melompat saja, bisa nyolong jambu air tetangga yang sudah merah menggoda; dari jarak jauh, saya bisa ngejitak teman yang menyebalkan (walaupun sempat sadar kalau saya sudah termasuk orang yang menyebalkan dengan melakukannya.) Jadi untunglah, saya tidak pernah menjadi bagian dari kekuatan Captain Planet, karena kehadiran saya malah bisa menurunkan pangkatnya jadi Corporal Planet. Beberapa tahun kemudian, ada Spiderman (versi film). Dibandingkan dengan tokoh-tokoh superhero yang ada, Spiderman (dengan sejumlah alasan) menjadi superhero paling favorit buat saya. Menyingkirkan, Batman dan Superman, apalagi Superman Pinky …hehehe...Sebuah kutipan yang membekas ketika menonton film Spiderman adalah:“Peter Parker: [voiceover:] Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man.Kutipan itu semakin memperjelas kenapa saya tidak terpilih untuk dianugrahi kekuatan super semacam itu. *****Dalam sebuah cerita fantasi, sangat umum untuk menemukan sejumlah tokohnya yang memiliki kekuatan super. Demikian halnya dengan Ai Ling dalam buku Silver Phoenix. Sebuah kekuatan super dianugrahkan kepadanya dan tak ketinggalan sebuah tanggung jawab juga diletakkan di bahunya.Petualangan Ai Ling dilatari oleh keinginannya untuk mencari ayahnya ke istana. Dalam perjalanan, pencarian itu malah berubah menjadi sebuah petualangan untuk menyelamatkan ayahnya. Termasuk bertemu dengan dewi-dewi penghuni negeri atas, bertempur dengan monster yang menyebabkan salah satu teman seperjalanannya mati, menunggangi naga, dan berkesempatan menyaksikan makhluk berpayudara tiga (huh...makhluk yang maruk!). Benang merah yang bisa saya tarik dari cerita Silver Phoenix ini adalah petualangan Ai Ling untuk menuntaskan sesuatu yang belum tuntas di masa lalu. Jadi, tidak lagi hanya sekedar untuk menyelamatkan ayahnya. Tapi sayangnya, apa yang terjadi di masa lalu itu tidak diceritakan lebih jauh. Dan siapa itu Silver Phoenix hanya dimunculkan di bagian belakang cerita. Sehingga membuatku berfantasi, mungkin “Petualangan Ai Ling” lebih cocok jadi judul buku ini karena nama Ai Ling-lah yang disebut-sebut dari awal sampai akhir cerita. Atau mungkin “Silver Phoenix – Petualangan Ai Ling”. Atau mungkin, ada prolog mengenai Silver Phoenix ini. Baiklah, akan saya hentikan sebelum fantasi saya berubah menjadi sotoy. Berhasilkah Ai Ling menuntaskan tugasnya? Siapa sebenarnya Silver Phoenix? Dan seberapa serukah petualangan Ai Ling? Atau, jangan-jangan Ai Ling mempergunakan kekuatannya untuk urusan cinta? Jawabannya bisa Anda tanyakan pada Cindy Pon, selaku penulisnya, atau silahkan baca bukunya saja.Sebagai buku fantasi, cerita dalam buku ini tidak cukup ampuh untuk membuatku mampu membayangkan petualangan Ai Ling yang (jauh dilubuk hati saya yang paling dalam) sebenarnya seru. Awalnya, saya membayangkan akan menemukan pertempuran-pertempuran seru dengan menggunakan jurus-jurus kungfu yang dahsyat mandraguna (lebay!). Pertempuran Ai Ling - beserta dua temannya - melawan monster terbayang biasa-biasa saja dalam khayalanku. Baiklah, mungkin hal ini terjadi karena waktu kecil (dan bahkan sampai sekarang) saya sangat suka membaca dan menonton sesuatu yang berhubungan dengan jurus-jurus kungfu tingkat tinggi, sehingga membuat fantasi saya berharap terlalu banyak. Dan bagi saya, alasan awal kepergian Ai Ling untuk meninggalkan rumah dan mencari ayahnya mengingatkan saya akan cerita sinetron. Intinya … menurut saya, jalan ceritanya terlalu biasa untuk sebuah cerita fantasi. Deskripsi-deskripsinya juga terlalu datar untuk dikhayalkan. Tapi, dibilang membosankan, tidak juga karena saya masih mampu bertahan untuk menyelesaikannya. Tapi dibilang sebuah petualangan yang mempesona, tidak juga. Makanya saya kasih dua setengah bintang. *Ngomong-ngomong, desain sampul dan isinya keren.*

  • oliviasbooks
    2018-12-17 02:09

    Another book that has to go unfinished (after 108 pages).In the beginning I had a good feeling. Although the characters behaved a little anachronistically, which is completely alright for a fantasy novel set in an alternative version of an existing region, I liked them and I enjoyed the lush and exotic scenery - the food, the fabric, the means of transport. The 'problems' started with the onset of the road trip plot: The heroine flees an arranged marriage to an old, rich pervert and goes to search for her disappeared father outfitted with just one magical protection amulet, some food and a small bundle of clothes. After a few stops - the heroine gets permanently attacked by mythical creatures and accosted by sex-hungry geezers - I surmised the following: The novel turned into something like a passive role playing game, where you press the 'fight button' and the game does the rest: All the moves, all the talk, all the staying fit and out of reach. The heroine had by pure chance read a book about supernatural monsters before leaving her home and can thus identify them, when they attack. But even that is not really necessary for the plot, for the multi-talented protection amulet immediately starts doing what it is meant to do : Smashing beasts and demons around, whacking potential rapists to pulp etc. After that the heroine cleans her clothes, rests her body and licks her wounds. Until the next incident.Very unsatisfactory, indeed.

  • Sarah MacLean
    2018-12-23 02:18

    Ok...the back copy of SILVER PHOENIX references Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is one of my favorite movies of all I had extremely high hopes for this one. And Cindy Pon delivers. Ai Ling is an amazing character, I can't decide which I want to do more--be her BFF or hire her to be my bitchin' bodyguard. There's a perfectly vile villain and a rich, wonderfully built world that sucks you in. And can we talk about Chen Yong? And how much I love him? He's hawt. And tough. Which happens to be exactly how I like my action heroes. This is one book you can judge by its cover. Fricken Awesome.

  • Kristi
    2018-12-23 08:13

    Silver Phoenix was a fascinating novel. I literally could not stop reading it once I started. It was beautifully written and I was completely captivated by the world and characters that Cindy created. I thought Ai Ling was a very well developed protag. She was impulsive, courageous, yet shy, selfish, and yet compassionate. I wish we would have been divulged into the entire history of Silver Phoenix. I want to know more about her!I loved the creatures that were presented in this novel and all of the different lands that AI Ling and Chen Yong traveled though. That type of element truly fascinates me. I would love to read, The Book of the Dead, The Book of Devine and The Book of Lands Beyond that were referenced to throughout the novel. The plot was very fast paced it never faltered or lulled.. Ai Ling is constantly battling evil beings and I reveled in her butt kicking abilities. Even though she was traveling with two very capable boys she never expected them to fight her battles. Another aspect of the novel that I loved, and this really doesn’t have much to do with my overall recommendation to read the books, but all that talk of food! Oh MY! There was an abundance of mouth-watering meals that were deliciously descriptive! I’m hungry just thinking about it! Overall a completely satisfying read for fantasy fans. I’m hoping to see more of these characters!

  • K. O'Bibliophile
    2018-12-19 08:25

    So I saw the cover art for the first time, and I was like: YEEESSSS!And then I saw reviews on the book blogs I read, and they were like: NO!And then over a year later I found it at the library and saw the cover again, and was like: YES YES YES YES YES!And then I read it, and was like: Okay?Because it sounds good, right? Asian action/adventure/fantasy with a strong female lead! And that cover. There was no reason not to read it. Except for the reviews that didn't like heroine Ai Ling because they said she was a bad feminist character. And then I forgot about them. And then when I remembered them, I decided to ignore them because there have been several instances where I disagree with the reviews I read, and also that cover was pretty and begged me to read it.And yeah, I kinda ended up disagreeing with the reviews that I no longer actually remember in detail, but only because Ai Ling didn't have enough personality to be much of anything. Neither did the other characters. Is she a more traditional "Xian" girl? More untraditionally feisty? Readers get both vibes in a way that doesn't mix. Is there a particular reason we care about love interest Chen Yong? Not really, except for his designation. Are most secondary characters ridiculously flat? Absolutely. Do the bad guys get any characterization besides WE ARE BAD? Nuh-uh. The only character worth paying attention to is Li Rong, side character and flirt extraordinaire. Ai Ling isn't the brightest girl. So they meet a stranger in a mythological setting, Ai Ling wants to go with him to his city to get help, Chen Yong isn't sure and asks her to use her awesome super-special weirdly-defined coming-from-nowhere powers to read his mind. Guy's mind: the chief will be much pleased.Do you a) find out more about this guy before going?b) not go with him because he sounds sketchy?c) go with him because he sounds totally legit? If you chose Option C, congrats, you have the brain of Ai Ling. It is a stupid brain.And the story itself: Did it want to be more a historical (ish, since it was a China-analogue fantasy land) adventure? Fantasy? Or focused on Ai Ling's growth? Because again, the book can't decide what it wants to do, and thus it falls flat everywhere.A third of the way through, I vaguely remembered a reviewer noting the openings of the chapters and how repetitive they were. I remembered this because a chapter had just opened with Ai Ling waking up for the third time. No, really, check it out: Chapter 4: Ai Ling awoke to the sound of twigs crackling on a fire.6: Ai Ling woke on the hard ground.8: Ai Ling walked at a brisk pace, already wondering where she would find a place to sleep.9: Ai Ling woke with a start and sat straight up.11: Ai Ling woke before daybreak, stirred by violent dreams.13: Ai Ling sat up and rubbed her face, embarrassed to be the last one to rise.14: Ai Ling woke from a dreamless sleep.15: Ai Ling woke to find Chen Yong steering the pivot as it he'd done it many times before.18: Ai Ling dreamed of Li Rong.Seven. Seven out of twenty chapters have her waking up, and another two have to do with sleep. And they all start with her name. Actually, a grand total of 13 chapters begin with AI LING (counting chapter five below, since the first sentence is so very short.): Chapter 3: Ai Ling traveled onward through the night, guided by the half moon.5: It was midday. Ai Ling wiped the sweat from her brow and touched the top of her head.7: Ai Ling climbed down the narrow stairs.20: Ai Ling tapped on Chen Yong's bedchamber door at dawn. Yeesh.This is the kind of book I would rather recommend to myself in 7th grade, because I would have picked up Tamora Pierce's Alanna books the year before, and I loved pseudo-historical fantasy adventures, but I wouldn't have noticed the flaws as much. That's why it's a 3-star review; it kept my attention enough, and would be more enjoyable for a younger reader.Like the whole mythological/immortals mentions. (view spoiler)[The book really seems to be setting itself up for action/adventure, with a bit of magic done by the main character--though that also feels forced--and then suddenly "HERE TRAVEL THROUGH MYTHOLOGICAL LANDS AND MEET GODS AND DRAGONS FOR A CHANGE." Wait, what? Very different from the bits of power Ai Ling had and the nightmare demons that occasionally accosted them. (hide spoiler)]And then there's this "Lady in White," who they're going to see but don't know why! And then there's a monster! Who can...make you switch places with someone else when it blinks! What? How is that even a useful attribute? What was the purpose besides [really big spoiler](view spoiler)[ killing Li Rong? That whole thing was just weird. "I have to try and save Li Rong! I can do this by cutting out his heart from his dead body and doing some mystical thingy within a month!" [several chapters pass] "I never did anything with it and it played no part for the rest of the book! Let me dispose of this in your memory, Li Rong!"That is, possibly, not an exact quote.And related because it's from the Lady in White: "take these tears of yours I just turned into glass. You'll know when you need them." [several chapters pass] Ai Ling takes the tears and they remind her that she was sad when Li Rong died. Obviously, she would have forgotten him otherwise except for his heart, in a jar, in her knapsack and would have just gone along with everything and not killed Zhong Ye.No. Bad writing. There was nothing in the text to indicate that anything would have been different without them. (hide spoiler)]Oh, and the Silver Phoenix of the title? (view spoiler)[Ai Ling's previous incarnation. (hide spoiler)] Which was a really odd plot thingy by itself, but why the sudden English words? To make the title appealing? Because it is, but EVERY other character had a Chinese name. It was jarring and weird.And one last thing: the country is "Xia," so the people of this country are called "Xian." However, "Xian" is also shorthand for "Christian" (like "Xmas" is "Christmas"). So every. single. time. the nationality was used, which was quite a lot, I immediately wondered why we were suddenly talking about a religion that didn't even exist in the book.

  • Yan
    2019-01-13 02:05

    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 marked or they did notice this fumble. Overall: I hope to see some type of sequel to this gorgeously written novel.

  • Arminzerella
    2019-01-02 10:23

    Ai Ling, 17, runs away when an unbearable suitor tries to force her into marriage. She goes on a journey to find her father, who has been missing these past 6 months. On the way she discovers that she has hidden strength and powers – she can get inside of people’s heads and hear their thoughts. She is attacked repeatedly by creatures of darkness, beings she’s read about in The Book of the Dead, but never imagined were real. She is joined by Chen Yong, and his brother Li Rong (until Li Rong is killed by a monster), and together they make a perilous (and circuitous) journey to the Palace (where her father is supposedly imprisoned). Ai Ling gradually comes to know that she is the reincarnation of Silver Phoenix – beloved by the Emperor’s advisor – and that she volunteered (while she was in the underworld) to kill this man. He has used dark arts to live long past the lifespan of a normal human being – collecting and feeding off of other souls. His jealous concubine sends the creatures against Ai Ling and her companions to keep them from her lover, but eventually they triumph, and Ai Ling faces (and defeats) the advisor and rescues her father.I liked the idea of this story – unfortunately, the experience of reading it is rocky. I didn’t like when and how information was revealed – it felt choppy, and lacking in details/explanation (until things were conveniently revealed by some god or goddess or immortal being). The author had some really interesting monsters (and other ideas) that were great, but were also easily expendable. The effect was a lot like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign – the adventuring party had regular encounters with monsters, and during the downtime, the author didn’t quite know what to do with them. The characters aren’t very well-developed – you never feel like you really know Ai Ling or Chen Yong. The author relies rather heavily on a few major characteristics, such as Ai Ling’s healthy appetite (oh, good, a girl who actually eats!), or Li Rong’s penchant for flirting with attractive women (and he dies, rather needlessly, to present Ai Ling with an opportunity to allow her guilt over his passing to tempt her into committing some dark act later on – which just fizzles out, thank goodness). I’d have loved more details about Xian life and mythology (based on Chinese culture) and less about how Ai Ling woke up late again but really packed away her breakfast and morning tea. Finally, when Ai Ling and Chen Yong have triumphed over evil, there’s not even an embrace or a kiss or a moment of heated passion between them – even though Ai Ling’s been attracted to Chen Yong practically since she met him. He’s off to foreign lands, and she’s…going to stay home? The book ends abruptly, but I suspect there will be a sequel that follows Chen Yong (and most probably Ai Ling when she sneaks after him).

  • Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
    2019-01-12 10:13

    DNF at about 20% according to my Kindle. Ai Ling is too passive of a character for me; I want characters who act, not react, but she only ever operates as a reactive character. Plus I'm tired of the fantasy superpatriarchies.If I'd read it earlier in my time as a YA blogger, I might have gotten along better with Silver Phoenix? Who knows. I just know what I've got from this book is not entertaining me.

  • murphy ✌
    2018-12-31 02:13

    3 / 5a lot of this worked for me, but some of it really didn't. RTC when irl stuff cools down and i have some free time on my hands(read for #OWBookClub's theme for February - Adventures & Journeys)

  • Jacob Proffitt
    2018-12-28 04:30

    I have never come so close to literally throwing a book through a wall. The only thing that stopped me was that it was past midnight and Melissa was sleeping peacefully and didn't deserve to be woken by mayhem. I was well on my way to a five-star rating until the ending. I'm still a little reluctant to only drop it to three...So yeah, it's an original oriental-flavored fantasy with a strong female lead and really fantastic support from Chen Yong. Ai Ling (afore-mentioned female lead) has one weak moment and one TSTL moment but I mostly got past both (particularly as she redeems the weak moment later on).Indeed, Pon does a fantastic job crafting a quest/journey fantasy into something deeper by giving the heroic encounters along the way a narrative and unifying purpose. Ai Ling finds herself trying to solve the mystery of why are so many evil things seemingly out to get her even as she struggles just to survive. Both the assistance she finds as well as the resistance flow from a central narrative purpose that comes to a marvelous and beautiful conclusion that was as creepy as it was effective. It's extremely well done and all the book had to do for its five-star rating was end (and preferably wrap up well, but I'd have settled for simply ending).Unfortunately, the last chapter completely betrays Ai Ling by making her suddenly weak and stupid. And yes, I'm going to spoiler-tag the rest.(view spoiler)[ Throughout the story, Ai Ling is courageous in both physical and emotional situations. She holds together despite threatened slavery and sexual assault and manages to brave through the loss of Li Rong despite a bit of temporary denial. Further, she has a stunning example of a successful love match in her parents. Chen Yong even says how he sees the power of a marriage with love at its heart in his own parents. So she can't own up to her feelings towards him why? She's flouted tradition in every conceivable way regarding marriage, I see no reason she wouldn't just tell him she loves him. Heck, the narrative through-line regarding her gift practically begs her to do so without first ascertaining his feelings towards her. Talk about an ultimate culmination of her determination to do right with it. But no. Pon has to save that for a sequel for no other reason than that she wants to save it for a sequel. Ask yourself this: if there hadn't been the prospect of a sequel, would that ending have held up at all? No. Two people who love and trust each other (I'm taking Chen Yong's love for granted here, I think not without cause) and are further pretty much unmarriageable to anybody else due to cultural circumstances beyond their control should have marriage to each other practically screaming at them from both internal and external sources. Heck, Ai Ling's own parents seem to be in on her feelings perfectly well and if nobody else suggests it they should have. Gah! (hide spoiler)]Anyway, with that ending I'm a bit torn about picking up the sequel. A character betrayal that manipulative bodes ill for Pon's commitment to her characters and I shudder to think how she could mess things up in order to service a continuing storyline--particularly if this is supposed to be a longer series than just the two books...

  • Weni
    2018-12-29 09:20

    Buku berisi perjalanan Ai Ling untuk menyelamatkan ayahnya yang ditawan di istana Mimpi-Mimpi Harum ini menawarkan sesuatu yang baru buat saya. Baru karena (rasanya) saya belum pernah membaca kisah fantasi yang penuh dengan mitologi Cina. Judulnya pun menggoda: Silver Phoenix. Phoenix selalu diceritakan sbg makhluk luar biasa. Mengingatkan saya pada phoenix milik Albus Dumbledore dan Phoenix Ikki di film Saint Seiya, favorit saya selain Dragon Shiryu *komen ga penting*Perjalanan Ai Ling tentu saja tidak mudah. Ia dihadang oleh begitu banyak makhluk2 yang sebelumnya ia pikir hanya mitos, hanya ada dalam buku. Ia lalu bertemu dengan Chen Yong, pemuda yang ingin mengetahui masa lalunya.Sayangnya, buku ini tidak menceritakan kisah Silver Phoenix lebih banyak. Selain bahwa ia berabad lalu mati bunuh diri ketika akan menikah dengan Zhong Ye dan kemudian bereinkarnasi menjadi Ai Ling.Tiga bintang untuk Ai Ling yang suka makan dan buku yang penuh dengan makanan: bebek panggang, siomay kukus, roti isi kacang merah, mi pedas kuah sapi, setup lidah dan telur, ikan segar kukus, nasi lengket isi ayam yang dibungkus daun teratai, dll... *ngiler*

  • penn
    2019-01-13 05:24

    Misogynist, poorly written, offensive in many ways.Also contains a lot of sexual threat and a lovingly-described rape attempt. I don't know why people don't warn for that.

  • Colleen Houck
    2019-01-12 03:31

    I love that the author painted backgrounds to the chapters. So pretty! This one is full of Asian mythology, goddesses, and frightening creatures. The thing made of body parts? So cool yet disgusting! The attire and customs were so detailed and fascinating, I felt swathed in silk just reading. Lovely.

  • Chachic
    2018-12-31 08:17

    Originally posted here.Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon is a Chinese-inspired YA fantasy novel. Last week, I mentioned in my Knife review that R.J. Anderson is a fellow Sounisian and Megan Whalen Turner fan. I believe Cindy Pon is also a fan and look, they even went surfing together! My friend gave me a copy of Silver Phoenix for my birthday last year so I've had it for almost a year. I'm sorry it has taken me this long to read it but there are just so many books in the TBR pile.I know there's been a lot of talk about the cover for this book and how the design from the hardcover (pictured above) changed to this design for the paperback. I don't want to go into that here but I wanted to point out an artwork for the book that I found from the author's website:Isn't that beautiful? It shows Chen Yong and Ai Ling. How I wish that this lovely artwork was used for the cover instead. So I really liked that this book is different from other fantasy novels because of its Asian flavor. I may not know a lot about Chinese history and culture but it was refreshing to read about Eastern myths for a change. Several people warned me that I might go hungry while reading this book because of all the food references. I just said that we have a lot of Chinese restaurants here in the Philippines so that's not going to be a problem. I thought it was great that Ai Ling had such a big appetite and that most meals are described in detail. At the start of the novel, Ai Ling reminded me of Disney's Mulan because they're both unsuccessful at becoming proper brides and they both run away from home to go on quests. That's where the similarities end and Ai Ling's story goes a different way.As much as I loved that Ai Ling's adventures involved demons and mythical creatures derived from Chinese lore, I felt like there were too many of them in the story. I mean yes, I get that Ai Ling is coming into her own powers and these demons were needed to show how she developed her abilities while fighting against them but eventually, I got tired of it. Also, I wasn't as invested in Ai Ling as I would've liked - I wasn't rooting for her because I felt like she would be able to get out of whatever predicament she manages to fall into because that's what kept happening in the book. It felt like there was a disconnect between me as a reader and Ai Ling as a character and that kept me from being truly immersed in the story. Those were some of the problems that I had and while I didn't exactly fall in love Silver Phoenix, I'd still recommend it to fantasy fans because of its unique world. It's certainly better than some of the YA paranormal books (yes, I'm not a fan) that are available right now. I think it would be great if more Asian YA fantasy novels are released in the future. I would probably pick up the sequel, Fury of the Phoenix, to find out what happens next to Ai Ling because this one was a bit open-ended. Oh it looks like Fury of the Phoenix will be released on my birthday, March 29. :)

  • Eilonwy
    2019-01-17 10:23

    When her father disappears on a mission to the Emperor, 17-year-old Ai Ling, desperate to escape an unwanted betrothal resulting from his absence, decides to take matters into her own hands and sets out to seek her father herself. Very strange things begin happening almost as soon as she leaves town, and she soon realizes that many of them are directed at her. Luckily, she meets a nice 19-year-old boy, Chen Yong, who is also journeying to the Emperor's palace. Will Ai Ling and Chen Yong be able to complete their journey and find what they each seek despite the forces working against them? This is a rather unusual book. I read it because a friend liked it and because I met Cindy Pon at a Diversity in YA presentation and was quite charmed by her, so I bought a copy and had it signed (paperback, darn it, with a fairly boring cover, although it does illustrate part of the story).Overall, I really liked the story. Ai Ling is determined and resourceful; I enjoyed the journeying aspect of the book; and while she does fall in love with Chen Yong, the attraction is earned and faces genuine complications. Many demons appear and do terrible things, so there is a violent aspect to the tale, but I didn't find it terribly gory or too creepy. I found the writing mostly good and evocative.On the minus side, the mythology of the story didn't quite make sense to me, and I thought too many of the demon vanquishments came a little too easily to Ai Ling. And while I really enjoyed it as I was reading it, I would put it down and not feel a very strong draw to pick it back up, because it felt more like a series of episodes in some ways than a cohesive whole. I should probably also mention that the author originally thought she was writing an adult book, and that shows through quite a bit of it. This is definitely an older YA book, not for the 12-year-old set. They might enjoy it, but there is quite a bit of focus on marriage and sex right from the get-go, and while I think much of it would have gone over my head at that age, some kids might have awkward questions while reading this.Cindy Pon stated that she wrote this as a stand-alone novel, but there is a sequel called Fury of the Phoenix, and I'm definitely on board to read that.

  • Jackie
    2019-01-07 07:21

    This is a decent fantasy set in ancient China (here called Xia) that incorporates demons and other folkloric elements into this quest tale. Seventeen-year-old Ai Ling's father was once a high-ranking official at the emperor's court. Because of his role in shielding a love affair between one of the emperor's concubines and a foreign scholar, he was forced to leave in disgrace. Now, he has been called back to the court, and has not returned. It is up to Ai Ling to rescue him from the evil forces holding him there, aided by her unusual ability to read minds, and the jade pendant her father gave her which has protective abilities and a variety of powers. Too many powers for the good of the book, actually. It becomes a deus ex machine, saving the day over and over again.Along the road, she is joined by Chen Long, a young man of mixed heritage. His past is intertwined with Ai Ling's, which readers will figure out immediately, but the characters will not discover until the end. Together they battle the demons that Ai Ling's adversaries have sent against her, and also accept the help of goddesses on whose side they are fighting. I was surprised by the big climactic battle between Ai Ling and her father's adversary, because of the sexually graphic nature of the encounter. This, for me, places the book squarely in young adult territory, and I wouldn't hand this to elementary age kids.I wish Ai Ling would have relied less on the pendant, and more on her own strengths to survive her journey, or even that she had to figure out how to use the pendant's magic to make it work for her. As it was, she was a bit too passive as a heroine for my tastes. For a more self-reliant heroine, I recommend Tamora Pierce's "Alanna" books. There's no character development here, just quest with a side of mild romance. But because of the way the book leaves Ai Ling's and Chen Long's relationship unresolved, I expect a sequel. Not bad, I enjoyed the Chinese setting and the unfamiliar demons and goddesses, but not great either. I give this one a shrug.WashYARG book.

  • Margaret
    2019-01-10 06:31

    Ai Ling is supposed to be getting married, as a good daughter should. But at the dinner that's meant to seal her betrothal, her prospective mother-in-law publicly rejects her, ruining her chances for a good marriage. In order to escape a bad one, Ai Ling journeys to the Emperor's court at the Palace of Fragrant Dreams to seek her father. Along the way, she meets Chen Yong, who has a quest of his own. Their quests are made more challenging by the new and mysterious power emerging within Ai Ling and by the evil forces which seek to destroy her and Chen Yong. I loved Ai Ling's rich world: the Chinese gods and creatures, the delicious food, the sights and sounds and colors and textures, all beautifully described. The plot meanders a little, but the things Ai Ling encounters along the way are so fascinating I didn't mind that much. Ai Ling is a wonderfully real heroine, neither beautiful nor always brave, but always fighting for what she wants. She has a temper and she doesn't always make the right choices, especially when it comes to using her strange mind control powers. Chen Yong and other male characters support her and help her, but when it comes down to the climax of the book, she fights her own battle and wins, not easily. I wasn't entirely satisfied by the ending, which was oddly open-ended as regards the book's romance, but I've heard (I hope correctly) that Pon is working on a sequel, which I hope will be as much fun as this book was.

  • Hirondelle
    2018-12-22 02:04

    One and a half-stars actually. I have read worse, much worse, and I did like all the food references butthis is a maddeningly written book. It reads almost as if it was some sort of game adventure, possibly geared at young readers, except there are some scenes of near rape which are quite creepy and would keep me from recommending this to any young readers.The plot is IMO ridiculous, stringed together like subadventures in a game, where unlikely characters know things which should be political secrets and the plot ambles along from monster or magical entity to the next one, with lots of meals, and lots and lots of episodes starting with the main character waking. Ai Ling adquires objects which turn out to be useful just to defeat the next opponent and which then are not mentioned again. Ai Ling herself turns out to be always have some psychic power or object she had been so far been unaware of (or at least untested) which will be just the thing to defeat the next threat. She *senses* things. Bah. And the main plot arc is, I repeat, IMO ridiculous. And there is not even the redemption of a nice romantic story - or better there is alove interest, but it seems ridiculous perfunctory and like a naïve crush rather than a real relationship.

  • Margaret Stohl
    2018-12-30 04:05

    With shades of Graceling and Fire, Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix is a spirited take on a classic coming-of-age quest. Teeming with incredible creatures and spirits, plots within plots and worlds within worlds, Silver Phoenix is truly unique among the Debs of 2009. Cindy Pon seeps every word in a delicacy of thought and plot that is rare in a YA novel. She is all about the craft, and I expect her next novel will be even more finely wrought.And I haven't even mentioned the food. THE FOOD! Do not attempt to eat this book on an empty stomach. Whoops. I mean read. ;)

  • Barry
    2019-01-08 09:18

    Hurray for non-Western fantasy...we need more of it! Really liked this, though I could quibble with the ending, which I found a bit unsatisfying...but I suspect there's a sequel in the works. Give this to fans of Shannon Hale.

  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    2018-12-22 07:01

    Actual Rating:3.8 stars

  • Jennifer Wardrip
    2018-12-26 08:10

    Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.comFrom 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.A woman traveling alone is a dangerous undertaking, but more than three months pass and an opportunistic merchant tries to force her into an unwanted marriage, and Ai Ling knows that 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, the outrageously flirtatious Li Rong, the three teenagers embark on a pilgrimage that will lead to the gods themselves...and eventually to a 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 exhibits a deft ability in characterization, giving us multidimensional humans, appropriately removed deities, and viciously single-minded evil entities. Even Zhong Ye boasts enough shading and nuance to become more than the stereotypical archvillain. 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 that while Chong Ye is clearly the odds-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.

  • Margo Kelly
    2019-01-10 10:30

    I'm a sucker for cool covers and I thought this cover was really cool.In a time period when women were told what to do and when to do it - this book gives us an interesting character that is rebellious and heads out on her own to save her father. She comes to discover that she has unique powers that allow her to do some amazing things. She hooks up with another character who does not fit into the sterotypical ancient Chinese mold. Together, they battle evil and attempt to save the reincarnated lives of many souls. The adventure and action scenes in this book are fun to read.Cindy Pon does an excellent job of describing all of the foods and meals the characters get to enjoy in the book, however, I wish she did just as great of a job describing the time period and the setting of the book.I am such a dunce, that when I read the beginning of the book and saw that a character rode in a "sedan" - I thought that meant she rode in a car. So, I was confused about the time period of the story for most of the book until another "sedan" was described, and I realized it was not a car, but something that was carried by other people. Also, not knowing much about the ancient Chinese lifestyle, I wish the locations were described better. The mystical locations were described wonderfully, but I wish the realistic locations were pictured better for me.There was not a pretty bow at the end. I'm not sure if it was left open for a sequel or just left open to keep you wondering for a few days. But, I wish the ending would have wrapped up the relationship better between Ai Ling and Chen Yong.Finally, I always like to rate a book based on language, sex, and violence - because these are things that I consider - especially when recommending books to my teenage kids. The language was totally fine. The voilence was not offensive. There were a lot of sexual references and one small "almost" sex scene. I don't think it was too much for an older teenage girl to read, but I certainly wouldn't want my boys to read this book because it describes the female anatomy quite often.Again, I think the sexual references would have been more appropriate if the setting and time period had been better established. I know it may be assumed that most people understand there were concubines and arranged marriages in ancient China (AND that women were objectified rather than valued as individuals with rights) - but not everyone knows this.

  • Angela
    2018-12-27 09:04

    I heard about Silver Phoenix as yet another example of a trend that bothers the hell out of me: putting white faces on the covers of books that are not about white people. Thus, I wanted to give this book a bit of support. But, given that Cindy Pon was an unfamiliar author, I opted to check the book out of the library first and see whether this was a story I'd want to own.Unfortunately, it wasn't. I'm writing this review several months after I actually read the book, and at this point, I have to admit that I have very little recollection of what it was about--this being a measure of how little it stayed with me. So I had to refresh my memory by reading other people's reviews of the story, which got me three overall problems I have with the book.One, I never found any of the characters particularly well-drawn. I often have this problem reading YA, but Silver Phoenix is worse than other YA I've written, since the characters were ephemeral enough that I didn't retain them at all within months of readin the book.Two, I specifically didn't care for the heroine's love interest, and how he was so dismissive of her after one scene where she is almost raped. (Which some might call a spoiler, but which I'm noting here as a potential trigger warning for those who might find that scene an issue.)And three, the heroine Ai Ling is sadly pretty much a non-entity. I'm calling her out separately from the rest of the cast because, as the ostensible protagonist of the novel, she should have stood out for me far better than she actually did. Yet the book doesn't give her nearly as much agency as it does her love interest, Chen Yong--and much of what I do remember about the book involves Ai Ling pining after Chen Yong. Which I can do without. One star.

  • Munch
    2019-01-09 08:07

    Hello reader!This book is so wonderful, it uses sexual assault as a plot device! It also features bland, spineless heroines, a dark and mysterious dude who just so happens to be the whitest (and therefore most attractive) guy in the book, and consistent ill judgment mistaken for bravery!Isn't that so unique?

  • Valerie
    2019-01-17 10:26

    This book was difficult for me to rate. I had such high hopes for this book so I'm glad that the journey with Ai Ling was good, but there were a few things that bothered me. Ai Ling has always tried to do what was right even if she didn't always like it. So she surprises herself as she embarks on a journey to run away from a betrothal and search for her father who hasn’t returned in months. Not long after, Ai Ling meets Chen Yong. He is the love interest as the blurb suggests but don't expect any professing of love; thought that was good and refreshing. On a side note why do all of the chacaters have to say Ai Ling is pretty? At one point or another they pretty much all do, though I guess she doesn't dwell too much on her beauty. The journey itself was all I could want: magic and fighting, all that good stuff. They travel by numerous means and find interesting beings. But I just can't shake the parts that bothered me. This book had a few moments that I might go as far as to say are disturbing. In content about sex, it didn't go that far but one part in particular made me cringe. It bothers me. I'm not permanently scarred for life, but I still don't like it. I should say that it's not put in a particularly good light and I know why it was put in but did I really have to know the details? I know there is a sequel in the works and I might read it. I'm kind of on the fence.

  • Ali Cross
    2018-12-23 04:21

    I quite enjoyed this book. Probably the thing that I most liked was the culture and setting and how it is so different from your typical YA. The story is set in the kingdom of Xia, which is modeled after China. The characters have Asian-sounding names, there are ancestor altars and a definite class system. The story also takes a detour into the kingdoms of the gods which allowed for some pretty fantastical settings and adventures. I quite enjoyed all of that.I found there were some editing problems that took me out of the story and made me go "huh", but nothing elemental. The story was strong and believable, engaging and touching. I wish I'd known, at the beginning, that this was the first in a series (somehow I missed that, though I see it now in the book's description, lol) because I was expecting the story to tie up and when it didn't, I was disappointed. I will definitely read the next book (in fact I NEED to read it because I need my happy ending!)If you enjoy fantasy and the Asian-based stories, you would enjoy this book. The characters are endearing, the story is captivating, and the world Cindy Pon creates is full-color and three-dimensional. Enjoy!

  • Steph Su
    2019-01-11 06:13

    SILVER PHOENIX is first and foremost a nonstop tale of fantastical adventure. Demons and mythical places pop out of the pages nonstop, and so there is an almost constant stream of butt-kicking, done by an extremely appealing heroine. Ai Ling is an enviable protagonist, with her neverending arsenal of abilities. Even with all the unwanted problems that destiny has placed upon her shoulders, she forges on, not relying on others to do what she needs to get done.The heavy reliance on evil creatures to move the plot along, however, is also what disappointed me about the story. The strength of the book lies in the imagined details, but not in the overarching story line. Characters fall flat in the face of such physical adversaries; almost all of the challenges that Ai Ling and Chen Yong face can be overcome with physical actions, leaving very little psychology and mental study in the story. Despite the distance I felt from the characters, however, I know that SILVER PHOENIX will appeal to the tomboy who wants a different heroine and setting than the norm.

  • Books written by POC
    2019-01-15 04:06

    Silver Phoenix has many pleasures. The descriptions are vivid and clear; Ai Ling is real, neither "feisty" (although one person calls her that) nor constantly heroic. She is not a trained warrior; she is, however, slowly growing in mindreading (a very mixed blessing), and carrying a knife blessed by a monk. She's no Mary Sue -- she is not strikingly lovely, she has a temper, and she sometimes abuses her mindreading powers. The world itself is a treasure for me: Ai Ling's alt!China contains Chinese demons and gods, Chinese clothing and architecture, and Chinese mythology. I really enjoyed encountering all these things for the first time, as well as envying Ai Ling's lovingly-described meals. Along the way, Ai Ling suffers genuine losses; in the final battle against the ultimate evil, she fights and wins alone, but not at all in the way I was expecting. Furthermore, at the end of the book, she decides to keep wandering. I wish I could have read this book when I was sixteen.