Sherwood Smith's Reviews > Fury of the Phoenix

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
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Apr 03, 11

bookshelves: fantasy

Fury of the Phoenix is the conclusion to the story begun in Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix. In that book, sheltered, psychically gifted Ai Ling meets Chen Yong, and falls into adventure as they cross Xia to rescue her father. Their adventures draw on Chinese history and custom and mythology, leading to a powerful climax.

This book creates some nice symmetries, while deepening the story: this time, Chen Yong is in search of his father. Ai Ling joins him on a ship. As the two learn how to deal with ship life, including pirates, and Ai Ling takes lessons in self defense, she is increasingly disturbed by visions . . . of non other than Zhong Ye, who she hated and thought dead. As Ai Ling and Chen Yong get to know one another better, we learn about Zhong Ye's life--what made him the way he was. A shocking bit of news unsettles Ai Ling, precipitating a rapid flow of events that once again leads to a powerful climax.

I love Pon's fantasy China in part because it doesn't feel like a Westernized China, as do so many fantasies that draw on Chinese history or myth. The characters are engaging, and there is this sense of beauty so that reading the book is like watching a masterfully shot movie. The descriptions of the food make me hungry.

The conclusion made me want to reread Silver Phoenix all over again; about the only negative thing I can say (and this has nothing to do with the quality of the book) is that I am disappointed that the publishers saw fit to whitify the cover to a sort of pretty, generic blandness instead of find beautiful Chinese-influenced art. Stained glass windows are an important feature of the book--a cover that evokes the lapidary beauty of stained glass I think would have been a standout.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Shveta (new) - added it

Shveta Thakrar I totally agree! It was so well done.

message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Haven't read this yet, but the first book was definitely originally published with a clearly Asian character on the cover. I definitely had a conversation with my sales rep when I saw the new covers. Boo whitewashing.

message 3: by Sherwood (new) - added it

Sherwood Smith I want the book to do well--it deserves to--but yecch, I really hate that their marketing dept might chalk it up to "whitewashing works!" I don't believe it does.

message 4: by Katharine (new)

Katharine Kimbriel Sounds like we need to find the first book in hardback, if we can. I don't think the readers are so biased -- but some of the buyers may be, or think that readers may be.

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