Also by this author: Serpentine
Published by Greenwillow Books on 2009
Genres: Action & Adventure, Asia, China, Family, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fantasy fiction, Fiction, General, Girls & Women, Imaginary kingdoms, Monsters, Parents, People & Places, Supernatural, Supernatural/ Fiction, Voyages and travels, Voyages and travels/ Fiction, Young Adult
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.
After several failed attempts to arrange a marriage, Ai Ling’s father travels to the palace to fix his reputation, which has been the cause of all the failures. After he doesn’t show up for a long time, Ai Ling sets out to find her father in the Palace of Fragrant Dreams, she doesn’t expect the dangerous journey she’s starting. She gets attacked by demons, ones that seem to specifically target her, and she encounters numerous life-threatening situations. Along the way, she meets Chen Yong, a young man who’s journey is also taking him the same direction. Ai Ling faces trial after trial while she attempts to find her father.
Cindy Pon is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. SILVER PHOENIX is a stunning, lush novel. Like in SERPENTINE, Pon does a perfect job at setting up a journey story. Ai Ling has to travel far in attempt to save her father. The fighting scenes between her and various demons are incredible, and you won’t want to put down the book. Likewise, Ai Ling’s internal journey is just as magnificent. Even though her parents love and care for her, she’s still limited by her society. As she travels, she discovers a freedom she never knew she had, and she blossoms in it.
The minor romance with Chen Yong is a delicious slow-burn, full of romantic tension side plot. I love their interactions, as well as the the scenes with other secondary characters. There are some seriously heartfelt moments, and these characters will stay with you for a long time.
I couldn’t be more excited to read the sequel, FURY OF THE PHOENIX, soon. This duology-start is so incredible, and I can’t wait to see where the characters go next.