Fox and Phoenix (Lóng City, #1)
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Fox and Phoenix (Lóng City #1)

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  270 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The king of Long City is dying. For Kai Zu, the news means more than it does for most former street rats in the small mountain stronghold, because he and the king's daughter are close friends. Then the majestic ruler of the ghost dragons orders Kai to travel across the country to the Phoenix Empire, where the princess is learning statecraft. In a court filled with intrigue...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Viking Children's
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At the beginning of this story I was lost. I was reading what felt like a sequel, but after double checking, I couldn't find another book that came before. Supposedly, this was the first in a new series. Only after I finished the book and read some reviews (which I never do before, way too many ways to spoil my reading experience) did I find out that this story was indeed a sequel to a short story published with several others. Okay. This kind of colored my reading, but I tried to get over it an...more
I’ve been slowly reading my way through every Beth Bernobich novel and story, and while FOX & PHOENIX may not be my favorite, it’s definitely a book I want to keep on my bookshelf (and not just because it’s pretty). Unfortunately, as I write this, it seems to be out of print, but it is still available as an e-book. This novel is ambitious and I think the author took great care to tell her story. It feels like she cares about her characters, because instead of making them perfect, she made th...more
Shannon Kitchens
Once upon a stupid time, I liked Fairy Tales.

Ai-ya, what's not to like? .... And they never tell you how your heart's desire might be a dangerous thing.

Or in my case, just so damn boring.

When I picked up Fox and Phoenix and read that opener, I was hooked. This was the story of a former fairy tale hero, and what became of him. This was going to be amazing!

Alas, Fox and Phoenix did not live up to my expectations. The story never became the story I wanted or hoped for. And it never became someth...more
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

It's been months since street lord Kai Zou and his second-in-command, Yún Chang, have helped Princess Lian Song Li achieve her heart's desire and won the prize of favor (and money) from the King of Lóng City...but nothing is going quite the way Kai had hoped. Instead of living a rich, luxurious lifestyle Kai somehow finds himself a failing wizard apprentice to his formidable mother. Instead of enjoying the company of his best friend - who could possibly b...more
Emily Collins
This book failed to mention one thing to me, which became blatantly apparent in only the first couple pages.
It is a sequel.
I used to be horrible at this. I would always pick up a book off the shelf that was a sequel to something, and not realize until I got home and either was completely confused when I started reading it, or would look inside the cover and it would say that it was a sequel to so-and-so. So I got extremely careful when choosing books. I always make sure that what I am getting do...more
Excellent story! It took me a bit to warm up to the main character but I really liked the world building, the eastern-inspired cultures and set up and interesting plot so I kept going.

Lots of fun things going on - ghost dragons sending the main on a quest to help the dying king, miniature zombie griffin who needs magic to stay alive and is able to weild magic himself, a princess being held against her will, the use of electrical type terms and devices powered by magic similar to electricity here...more
Karyn Silverman
3.75, let's say. Really unusual fantasy, with a Bordertown feel-- magic allows for lots of stuff that in our world is technology, and the magic flux operates almost like electricity. The Asian influence was fresh--like Eon, this takes it and transforms it. But while I'd certainly pass this on to someone who liked Eon for the Asian flavor, it's a totally different book. I did find myself wanting to read the first book, but actually this IS book 1; Kai references earlier adventures that seem like...more
It'd have been four stars if it hadn't felt weirdly like I was reading book two in a series. Which, as it turns out, I was reading a book that uses previous events from a short story. Word of advice? Let your reader know that. It drove me fucking insane.
Ah, for half stars. This might've made 3 1/2-stars... I liked it a lot, but some flaws kept me from REALLY liking it. What is it these days with series skipping over book 1 and plunking you straight into the middle of a series? There's a reason we get all that getting-to-know-you stuff, and I felt kind of shortchanged on it in this book.

Fox and Phoenix begins *after* a happily ever after. Kai Zou was once the King of the Street Rats. With the help of his street gang, he tricked his way past the...more
Sarah Rosenberger
Strange things are happening in the land of the Seventy Kingdoms. The magic flux that runs through the land is disappearing, there are whispers of courtly plots and machinations, and the King of Long City is dying of a suspicious disease. Sixteen-year-old Kai is no stranger to adventure...Last year he and his friends helped Princess Lian find her heart's desire, winning her friendship in the process. When a ghost dragon tells Kai he must travel to the Phoenix Empire to tell Lian about her father...more
C. McGannon
3.5 I'm rounding up.
Fox and Phoenix was a great little story. I think what stood out to me most was the wonderful world building. Everything about the world of Long City and the Phoenix Empire (and everything lying in between) was very well fleshed out and felt like a plausible history. I loved the mix of magic and tech, and especially loved the kinda old, kinda new setting in which this interesting and fresh blend is created.
Now for the characters. Reading other reviews, I don't unde...more
Not something I see or read in this case everyday. Mainly because this fantasy world is inspired by multiple cultures, but especially by Asian myth and philosophy. The idea that technology is run not by electricity but by magical fluctuations (known by the magic-users as "chi" also) is just thoroughly amazing. I found the concept of having a spirit animal guide also intriguing. It reminds me of elements seen in shamanism or of the daemon's concept from the His Dark Materials series. I found the...more
Kelli Lee
Upon flipping open the pages of Fox & Phoenix, I felt like I was some kind of interloper. Kai (protagonist) was going on and on about his adventures with Yún and Princess Lian. And it wasn’t going on and on in a regaling fashion, if felt more like I joined the party late and revelers were in the midst of remember-whens and you-should’ve-been-theres. “Remember when Yún did that thing . . .?” “Oh yeah. That was great. Oh, oh, oh remember when we were almost caught?” “Yeah, but remember when we...more
World-building was cute at first, with the china-ish-ness, magic tech, tutoring shop and tea snacks, but then it went into quest-adventure story, and that's not really my cup of tea. The protagonist was sort of bland compared to his friends. Still glad that it was much, much better than other ~asian-inspired~ fantasy books I've read lately, so there's that.

So the names/exclamations/some phrases ended up being this wade-giles on crack sort of thing?? And some ph...more
Jayme Swallow
So I started reading fox and Phoenix by Beth Bernobich, and I was a little lost, right off the bat. So I'm like, okay, it's a fantasy novel, I'll give it some time. But it just never kicked in. I was halfway through the book and I didn't understand anything. It was super scattered and everything was new and nothing was explained as far as her invented terminology and world, and there were references to a past adventure of sorts. So I start to think, "Hey, did I pick up a sequel?" and scan the co...more
After reading the reviews of others, I went to the authors website and downloaded and read the small prequel-novella. Um, Fox, Pig & Crane...something like that. It was only 37 pages.

In it Kai figures out how to do 3 impossible things to win the hand of the Princess and some money. However, he and Princess, I think neither party were interested in the whole hand winning, but he and his gang all became friends, much richer from winning the challenge.

I liked the premise, a slightly dystopian,...more
The most interesting thing about this book is the fact that it is a stand-alone—and a debut—that operates like the second book of a series, referring from page 1 to the grand adventure had by the main characters before this story's action even begins, and which dictates how the protagonist sees and behaves with the other characters. It works, but it does make me wish the "first book" existed, so I could get a more fleshed-out sense of who everyone was, without depending on flashback/sequel-ish n...more
Kai Zu was a street rat, and then he and his gang solved the king of Long City's challenge and made friends with the princess. Life changed for him and his friends, with more responsibilities piled on that he'd rather not face. When the king grows ill, and the king of the ghost dragons sends him on a quest to bring the princess home from her studies in a nearby kingdom, Kai doesn't have much chance to refuse.

There's more at work than simple miscommunication--and many who could profit from keepin...more
I wanted to like this book, but it is just not very well constructed. There's almost no character development: Why exactly is Kai being an apprentice to his mother? Why is he in love with Yun? Why is Yun in love with him? What exactly are we supposed to take from the story about his father dying?

And then the strange disjoints like: What was the purpose of the griffin? They talk about a wedding at the end, but never say who is getting married. And how does the magic works, exactly? And why do the...more
Maureen E
I picked this one up at the library, just on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Bernobich has created a not-quite version of China, where energy comes from the magic flux. The characters are nicely done and I liked the media raes aspect of the story--it starts after the princess has been saved and we slowly get the backstory filled in. All in all, it struck me as being very solid in setting, characters, and plot. There was a section in the middle that seemed a little...more
Huh. All I can really say is that this book was... interesting. Although it didn't seem like your average unputdownable book, I couldn't help but read this in one sitting. A sitting, I might add, that went past midnight on a, uh, school night for lack of a better word. Actually, I skipped school and went on a college visit, instead. However, I still had to wake up extremely early.

It mystifies me why I couldn't just put this book down to finish later. I mean, overall it seemed mediocre. There's...more

I picked this up quite randomly from the bookstore because it was half-price and seemed intriguing. Though I'm glad I didn't pay the full price, it was surprisingly fun and original. I especially loved the world it was set in: a sort of parallel universe in a simultaneously medieval and futuristic China where technology and magic go side by side, and everyone has their own spirit animal with whom they can communicate telepathically. The plot, characters, and writing didn't exactly stand out...more
Quick Word: 2.5 or 3 stars - I couldn't quite decide. The premise was fantastic and there were some aspects of the world building with real potential. I loved the idea of the animal spirit companions, the relational subtext between Kai's old gang members (especially Yun), and the Chinese influences. Despite all of that, I never quite bought into the emotional levels of the novel, or believed in Kai’s affection for his mother, friends, Yun, or even Chen, his pig spirit. I also felt that the merge...more
I accidentally read this without reading the first book in the series, but I actually don't feel like I missed too much. The protagonist gives you enough of a background in flashbacks, I think.

He's kind of annoying and whiny, and he is always complaining about how expensive something is, but deep down I think he's a good kid. I liked the world here - a little bit inconsistent, but if you don't think about it too hard, it all works out. You've got magic, machines, intrigue, food, all in an Asian-...more
Very confusing, I always felt like I had entered a movie halfway through.
Tamora Pierce has a cover quote indicating that she loved this, and yet her Goodreads rating for it is only four out of five stars. What am I getting into?!
Update: couldn't get into it. The story had potential , but the character development was poor. I didn't care about them at all.
Jo Oehrlein
Most of the time, I think that the e-novella prequels aren't necessary before reading the actual official "first" book in the series. This time, I think it IS necessary. So, start with Pig, Crane, Fox, not this book.

This is a nice adventure book with mild romance (kissing). It's partly about a pair of friends who journey to rescue their friend and bring her home. It's also about a group of friends that has grown up to be more than seemed possible.
Rene Kirkpatrick
Much fun. Set in a steampunk version of China. Lots of traditional lore, magic, world, but with electronic devices and magic.

The king is dying and Kai and Yun must make their way to his daughter to bring her back to him.

I really enjoyed this, especially liked that the author starts in the middle of the story, the friends have pasts we discover as we read along.

I hope there will be more in the world.
I love the world created. Some of it I was a bit iffy about, and there was a bit short when it came to the details of how the world works, but those things were minor, and I didn't really notice. It actually made me more aware of the fact that this book was probably at a younger audience. But...even saying so this was a fun read. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the adventure.
Not exactly what I thought it would be, but it was still a good story. {It would help if publishers would list on the cover somewhere that it is a part of a series - This one I think was #2 in a set} It would have helped if I had read the first one first; though I got the gist of the first one from the second. Characters are well realized and the story believable.
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Beth Bernobich is a writer, reader, mother, and geek. She loves to tell stories.
More about Beth Bernobich...
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