Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 28th, 2009
Source: E-branch from public library
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: I'm not sure exactly what to say about The Silver Phoenix---It started out promisingly in the beginning but as the story unraveled, I was a little underwhelmed by what was happening.

There's plenty of adventure but instead of my being excited about Ai Ling fending off demons and other dark forces, I was mostly bored. We as readers know that a story has to have a sequence of events that build up but a good story will slowly piece together the clues so that the reader puzzles along, trying to figure things out. Instead of being pulled along by intrigue and mystery, I was too busy being distracted by the systematic feel of Ai Ling's journey:  Ai Ling encounters some danger, she (along with her friends) somehow save themselves, and go on their way until another obstacle appears. And then the process starts all over again. I felt that in particular took away a lot of my enjoyment in reading the story--how could I be interested when I knew what was coming?

As for Ai Ling, she was a conflicting character at times. I admired her whenever she fought against the role that society tries to impose on women (to be quiet, submissive, etc.). She is well-educated and has a lot to offer but then she would revert into this naïve girl who let her shyness and self-consciousness dictate her feelings. The changes in character were too swift at times, and I wasn't sure if I was reading about the same girl. But despite this I still liked her and I am curious to see where her journey in the next book leads her. Especially in regards to her relationship with Chen Yong. (He was a cute character, I gotta say.)  

Final Verdict: I liked this story enough to want to pick up the sequel, but I can't say I absolutely loved The Silver Phoenix. I'm not entirely impressed with the story line but I have hope that the continuation will make up for it since Pon's characters made me curious enough to see where they end up. For some reason, I enjoyed the beginning and ending of the story while the middle left me feeling neutral. If you're interested in reading this, I'd recommend picking it up from the library first before going out and buying it.

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  1. Thanks for your honest review. I've often contemplated this one.

  2. Thanks for the honest review, Sandy!
    I don't think I would love it either because of some stuff you mention, though I have heard generally good things about Silver Phoenix, I think I would find it hard to really get lost in the story.

    1. it's not a bad book but it didn't live up to what I THOUGHT I was going to read :/

  3. I remember liking this book well enough when I read it as well as the sequel but I don't think it ended up being a favorite, just a library read.

    1. And that's ok since not every book will be a knockout :) I'm happy to hear that you liked both books--I feel like I'll enjoy the sequel better.