Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

This book will make you hungry. I'm not kidding. I had to fight the urge to order chinese takeout more than once. Pon uses culinary dishes to great effect, creating a distinctly east Asian fantasy novel. I swear I could smell the food while reading.

From the back cover: "Ai Ling can see into other people's minds and reach into their spirits. But she doesn't know why this power has awakened inside her. She only knows that it is growing. It leads her on an epic journey -- one that brings her to to edge of the deepest evil."

Mythology plays a significant part in this story as Ai Ling and her traveling companions, two brothers, encounter strange beasts, spirits, immortals and other worlds that seem to co-exist with our own. Some of these mythical scenes went by too fast for me. The text felt too rushed to continue the storyline and so some sections felt like they were not fully realized. Many traditional fantasy novels are heavy on world exploration, developing the setting. Many, what I consider "light" fantasy novels are heavy on character development/relationship building and the setting gets much less attention (Graceling comes to mind). I found Silver Phoenix to be somewhere in the middle but perhaps leaning towards heavier character development.

The text lingers on the relationship between Ai Ling and her traveling companions. A romance crops up between Ai Ling and Chen Yong. With Ai Ling's special ability she spends time analyzing, not unlike regular teen girls, what others are thinking. While there is action in this novel and plenty of other-worldliness, I think young readers who enjoy watching the development of relationships will be as drawn to this story as much or more than traditional fantasy readers. This text counts towards the POC Reading Challenge!

Publisher: Greenwillow, 2011 (hardcover in 2009)     Pages: 338
Rating: 3 Stars     Source: Received from the author for participating in the POC Reading Challenge. Thanks, Cindy!

1 comment:

  1. This book had been on my TBR list for way too long, but I will be reading it for sure because I heard nothing but good stuff about it. And now the food mention??? woah!