I know it took me FOR-EV-ER to get around to reviewing this, considering I read it during vacation a few months ago. But life has been crazy. What can I say? I'm reviewing now, so it's all good. Don't forget to check out all the links at the bottom.
Silver Phoenix is a coming of age story set in a mystical asian universe called the Kindom of Xia. Ai Ling is a young asian girl from Xia who is troubled to have reached the age of matchmaking, but to have been turned down by all available suitors - except for a libelous, manipulative man who claims that Ai Ling's father owes him a debt, and wants Ai Ling as payment. But Ai Ling's father is not here to defend her. He left months ago following a summons to the emperor, and no one has heard of him since. With the shame of her family upon her, Ai Ling sneaks away from home and sets out to find her father.
But immediately, strange demons begin attacking her at every turn, threatening her to turn back or be killed. Why are they so desperate to stop her? With her newfound ability to reach into other's souls, and the help of a fellow traveler, Ai Ling begins a journey that will take her to places she that were known only as myths. There is a secret waiting for her at the emperors palace. But how much will she sacrifice to save the ones she loves?
This was a really fantastic book. The author (Cindy Pon!) has a great imagination and vivid descriptions that bring you into the story. The magical elements were introduced so naturally that it gave them a realism they wouldn't have had otherwise. The plot itself was a little rough, and I found myself irked by the main characters a few times. But otherwise, this was a great debut that straddles the line between fantasy and mythology. I'm looking forward to see what Cindy Pon will write next. 3.5 stars.