×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
  • Alternative view 1 of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
  • Alternative view 2 of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia
     

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia

4.4 49
by Cindy Pon
 

See All Formats & Editions

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 the edge of the deepest evil.

Chen Yong has a quest of his own, but then his path crosses Ai Ling's. And there's a connection so strong

Overview

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 the edge of the deepest evil.

Chen Yong has a quest of his own, but then his path crosses Ai Ling's. And there's a connection so strong that neither can ignore it.

Now they must face terrifying demons determined to kill them, and battle through treacherous lands. It is their destiny. But can destiny keep them together?

Editorial Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
“A sweeping saga . . . Pon’s writing, both fluid and exhilarating, shines whether she’s describing a dinner delicacy or what it feels like to stab an evil spirit in the gut.”
Meg Cabot
“I couldn’t put it down. Your heart will be racing, and you’ll be aching for more. An addictive gem.”
Alyson Noël
“Beautifully written, lush, exotic, and romantic, with a gutsy heroine who defies convention to fulfill her destiny—Silver Phoenix has it all!”
Children's Literature - Michael Jung
On the day of sixteen-year-old Ai Ling's failed betrothal, she discovers she possesses incredible mental abilities that allow her to read minds and delve into the spirits of others. When her abilities help her learn about lecherous Master Huang's plot to trick her into an unwanted marriage, however, Ai Ling decides to travel to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams and find her missing father—but finds the road to the palace is filled with mythical demons that want to attack her. Using her powers, Ai Ling fights back and receives additional help from Chen Yong, a young man seeking the truth behind his mixed heritage, and his playful brother, Li Rong. When the trio's adventures send them to The Golden Palace of the Immortals, Ai Ling learns her quest is part of a greater destiny that will not only determine her fate but also the fate of countless generations to come. Taiwan-born author Cindy Pon's first young adult novel carries many intricate subplots and is richly adorned with legends, practices, and foods inspired by Chinese myths, culture, and cuisine (although the actual locales and tales are largely Pon's own creations). Character-wise, however, both Ai Ling and Chen Yong are rather stiff figures who possess interesting histories and destinies but often come off like idealized heroes rather than relatable characters. The book is not boring by any means—and certainly showcases genuine writing talent—but requires more refinement to tell the human stories Pon wants to share. Reviewer: Michael Jung
VOYA - Emily Olive Petit
Silver Phoenix has its moments of depth and beauty, but most of it is strange and gruesome and there is nothing particularly gripping about the characters. The prose is occasionally rich and refreshing but more often comes across as plastic. This story, with its setting in ancient China, will appeal more to those seeking a strongly cultural novel than those in want of fantasy. The former would be much better off with Padma Venktraman's Climbing the Stairs. Reviewer: Emily Olive Petit, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Christina Fairman
Spirit possession, reincarnation, nasty demons, and even a touch of romance permeate this novel set in ancient China. The story follows the young heroine, Ai Ling, across a landscape of altered reality as she searches for her father, who she suspects is a prisoner within the Emperor's palace. Her travels elicit a string of grisly encounters that lead her to the evil Zhong Ye, who has survived for centuries by consuming the souls of unborn children. A terrified Ai Ling finally learns the truth: she is the reincarnation of Silver Phoenix, Zhong Ye's ancient love who has returned to be his wife. Sensitive readers will squirm as Zhong Ye weds Ai Ling and then tries (unsuccessfully) to consummate their marriage against her will. Strong characters and lyrical writing make this story compelling for young adults. The various demons that cross Ai Ling's path during her travels are brilliantly conceived. Violence and some sexual references are relevant to the story and generally teen-appropriate. There is only one small point that bears mentioning: Ai Ling is a strong young woman who defies traditional gender roles, except when she is with her male travel companion, Chen Yong. Their budding romance would be all the more interesting if she were to challenge him a bit more, both through her actions and her observations. It would be satisfying to see the author expand upon Ai Ling's inner strength as she matures in a sequel. Reviewer: Christina Fairman
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—At 17, Ai Ling is past the age when most girls in the kingdom of Xia have married and borne children. The gods, it would seem, have a different destiny in store for her, one that begins to reveal itself when her father travels to the Emperor's Palace and fails to return. Ai Ling is determined to find him and destroy his captor, a corrupt advisor who has unnaturally extended his life by feeding on the souls of others. On her journey, which is rich in action but a little slight on character development, Ai Ling meets Chen Yong, a young man of mixed race who seeks the truth of his birth and faces a variety of predators, both demonic and sexual. Fans of Tamora Pierce's and Robin McKinley's work will enjoy the adventure and strong female protagonist; the Chinese-influenced society and bestiary may also tempt aficionados of Asian culture and media.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Ai Ling wants to be a dutiful daughter, but surely marrying the vile widower Master Huang is a bad idea. If Ai Ling finds her missing father, then won't she and her mother be freed from blackmail and manipulation? Ai Ling sets off across the kingdom of Xia to find her vanished father, but finds herself embroiled in both Imperial and mystical intrigue. Her quest is aided by her new friends, the exotically handsome half-Xian Chen Yong and his flirtatious foster brother, Li Rong, both seeking Chen Yong's birthparents. Together, they rescue gods, fight zombies and travel to dangerous lands where three-eyed men ride flying chariots. Luckily, Ai Ling has newfound powers that aid in their fight against the forces threatening both the trio and the entire land of Xia. Ai Ling is a well-developed protagonist, from her shyness to her great love of food (leading to plentiful mouthwatering descriptions of meals). This fantasy heroine, who shows her spunk with quiet self-determination instead of swordfights, headlines an appealing magical adventure set in a refreshingly non-Western milieu. (Fantasy. 12-14)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
“Brilliantly conceived . . . strong characters and lyrical writing make this story compelling for young adults.”
Booklist
"A sweeping saga . . . Pon’s writing, both fluid and exhilarating, shines whether she’s describing a dinner delicacy or what it feels like to stab an evil spirit in the gut."
Alyson Noel
"Beautifully written, lush, exotic, and romantic, with a gutsy heroine who defies convention to fulfill her destiny—Silver Phoenix has it all!"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061730245
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Pages:
338
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Silver Phoenix

Chapter One

The book lay heavy in Ai Ling's lap, so massive it covered her thighs. She pressed her knees together, for fear the tome would crash to the ground otherwise. Bound in a brocaded cover of rich crimson, characters embroidered in gold read The Book of Making. She didn't want to open it.

"Take a look." Mother inclined her head. Black hair spilled over her shoulders in thick cascades, and the subtle scent of gardenia oil drifted with her every movement. Ai Ling rarely saw her mother's hair loose. She looked beautiful.

Ai Ling let the book fall open to a random page. Her face flushed at what she saw—a man and woman stark naked, their limbs entwined. The Dance of the Cranes was printed neatly above in black ink.

"Mother . . ." She could not bring herself to meet her mother's gaze.

"Keep looking, Ai Ling. This book is informative, with all the things you need to know about the bedchamber and what it takes to pleasure your husband."

Her mother put a gentle hand over hers. Ai Ling had always admired her mother's slender fingers, so deft in embroidering and playing the lute.

"It's soon time for you to wed. It's been one year since your monthly letting began." Her mother flipped the pages, and more nude figures filled Ai Ling's vision. "It tells you how to gauge your most fertile days, which positions are best—"

"But you didn't have me until you were twenty-four years!" Ai Ling wanted to slam the book shut, even as she was riveted to the drawings on the page. The only color came from the lotus pink of the woman's lips and the tips of her breasts.

"Imarried late, my heart." Ai Ling's mother stroked her hair, tucked a strand behind her ear. "It wasn't that your father and I didn't try. We lost one before we were blessed with you. He was born still—without spirit."

She could have had an older brother. Her mother's light brown eyes were bright with remembered sorrow.

"I didn't know," Ai Ling whispered.

"Now you understand what a true joy you are to us." She touched Ai Ling's cheek. "Keep the book. Look through it. I'll visit in the evenings before bed so we can talk." Her mother rose, stepped delicately from the platform bed, and bade her a peaceful night.

Ai Ling remained sitting with the book in her lap. Its weight on her legs did not compare to the thoughts which weighed on her heart. After a few moments, she rose, placed The Book of Making on her writing desk, blew out the lantern, and slipped into bed.

Rest did not come quickly that night. When she finally drifted into slumber, her dreams were of couples etched in black, moving in jerky motions, passive smiles painted upon their faces, an emptiness within their eyes.

Ai Ling jostled against the plush silk cushions of the sedan seat. Father had hired it for the occasion. She had suspected her parents' intention when Mother shared The Book of Making last month, but she wasn't prepared for a betrothal so soon. She would be given away, traded off like cattle, fortunate to see her parents perhaps once a year—if her future mother-in-law allowed it.

Her empty stomach turned. She wished she wasn't alone, being presented as if royalty, under just as much scrutiny. What would her betrothed look like? With her luck, he'd have squinted eyes and not reach past her chin.

Despite it being in the tenth moon, the days were still hot. She fanned herself, feeling stifled, wishing protocol allowed her to draw aside the heavy drapes. Muffled shouts from vendors offering their wares reached her ears. Ai Ling peeled back the corner of the drape and peered out, spying a cobbler bellowing from his stand. A mother pulled her toddler son by the hand past the sedan, promising a candied fruit if he behaved. Ai Ling was whisked down the main street and allowed the curtain to drop once more, isolating her in a hot muted red.

The sedan stopped too soon. She wasn't ready. She brushed a nervous hand over her hair, where Mother had placed the delicate jade hairpin from her betrothed among the coils piled on her head. She had always worn braids until today. As a married woman, she would never be able to wear loose braids again. Her stomach clenched, and she fisted her hands tight to gather courage.

"Mistress Wen arrives!" shouted a deep sonorous voice.

Ai Ling wilted against the cushions. They had hired a master of ceremony? The Goddess of Mercy help her.

The curtains were swept aside, exposing her to the harsh light of midday. She blinked a few times and saw her mother and father, along with, she assumed, Master Wong, Lady Wong, and her betrothed, Liao Kang.

The master of ceremony, a rotund man with a fringe of hair circling his scalp and plump red cheeks, bowed low with surprising grace and proffered one hand. She took it and stepped into the empty street. She dared not look around but wondered if they had somehow cleared the area. She walked past her parents and immediately went to Lady Wong, her future mother-in-law, as protocol dictated.

The petite woman raised one arm, clad in a lavender silk sleeve banded in gold. Ai Ling took the woman's cool hand and pressed it to her lowered brow.

Not a bad-looking girl. Good hips.

Her stomach seized as if someone had hurled a rock at her middle. She nearly reeled but managed to remain standing. Ai Ling lifted her head in shock, felt the blood drain from her face; but no one else indicated they had heard Lady Wong's comment.

Lady Wong regarded her with calculation. A palpable sense of disdain poured toward Ai Ling. The woman flicked her gaze up, then down.

Silver Phoenix. Copyright © by Cindy Pon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Meg Cabot
“I couldn’t put it down. Your heart will be racing, and you’ll be aching for more. An addictive gem.”
Alyson Noel
“Beautifully written, lush, exotic, and romantic, with a gutsy heroine who defies convention to fulfill her destiny—Silver Phoenix has it all!”

Meet the Author

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix, named one of the top ten fantasy novels for youth by Booklist. She lives with her husband and two children in San Diego, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews