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Silver Phoenix

(Kingdom of Xia (Phoenix) #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  3,362 ratings  ·  527 reviews
No one wanted Ai Ling. And deep down she is relieved—despite the dishonor she has brought upon her family—to be unbetrothed and free, not some stranger's subservient bride banished to the inner quarters.

But now, something is after her. Something terrifying—a force she cannot comprehend. And as pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, Ai Ling begins to understand that he
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Greenwillow Books
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Mellie G. I do not recall swearing, but this book does have (in order) a semi-detailed attempt at rape, a graphic scene of sexual assault, along with another at…moreI do not recall swearing, but this book does have (in order) a semi-detailed attempt at rape, a graphic scene of sexual assault, along with another attempted rape. (less)
Virginia The genre is fantasy, so I'm sure it's based on a real-world China, but with the author's fantasy twist.…moreThe genre is fantasy, so I'm sure it's based on a real-world China, but with the author's fantasy twist.(less)

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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Up to a point, this review shouldn't be majorly spoilery about events (although it will be about themes). I'll let you know just before I do the spoilery part.

I had honestly never heard of Cindy Pon until the day before yesterday, and I might not have picked up her book to read even if I had. Mostly because I'm not supposed to be buying new books at the moment, admittedly. But inkstone's post about it, here, a post about the whitewashing of the covers for this book, caught my eye. You can find o
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Silver Phoenix was a fascinating novel. I literally could not stop reading it once I started. It was beautifully written and I was completely captivated by the world and characters that Cindy created.

I thought Ai Ling was a very well developed protag. She was impulsive, courageous, yet shy, selfish, and yet compassionate. I wish we would have been divulged into the entire history of Silver Phoenix. I want to know more about her!

I loved the creatures that were presented in this novel and all of
Kayt O'Bibliophile
Apr 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So I saw the cover art for the first time, and I was like: YEEESSSS!
And then I saw reviews on the book blogs I read, and they were like: NO!
And then over a year later I found it at the library and saw the cover again, and was like: YES YES YES YES YES!
And then I read it, and was like: Okay?

Because it sounds good, right? Asian action/adventure/fantasy with a strong female lead! And that cover. There was no reason not to read it. Except for the reviews that didn't like heroine Ai Ling because they
Sarah MacLean
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: debs2009, young-adult
Ok...the back copy of SILVER PHOENIX references Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is one of my favorite movies of all I had extremely high hopes for this one. And Cindy Pon delivers. Ai Ling is an amazing character, I can't decide which I want to do more--be her BFF or hire her to be my bitchin' bodyguard. There's a perfectly vile villain and a rich, wonderfully built world that sucks you in. And can we talk about Chen Yong? And how much I love him? He's hawt. And tough. Which happ ...more
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacob Proffitt
Oct 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I have never come so close to literally throwing a book through a wall. The only thing that stopped me was that it was past midnight and Melissa was sleeping peacefully and didn't deserve to be woken by mayhem. I was well on my way to a five-star rating until the ending. I'm still a little reluctant to only drop it to three...

So yeah, it's an original oriental-flavored fantasy with a strong female lead and really fantastic support from Chen Yong. Ai Ling (afore-mentioned female lead) has one wea
Another book that has to go unfinished (after 108 pages).

In the beginning I had a good feeling. Although the characters behaved a little anachronistically, which is completely alright for a fantasy novel set in an alternative version of an existing region, I liked them and I enjoyed the lush and exotic scenery - the food, the fabric, the means of transport. The 'problems' started with the onset of the road trip plot: The heroine flees an arranged marriage to an old, rich pervert and goes to sear
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
DNF at about 20% according to my Kindle. Ai Ling is too passive of a character for me; I want characters who act, not react, but she only ever operates as a reactive character. Plus I'm tired of the fantasy superpatriarchies.

If I'd read it earlier in my time as a YA blogger, I might have gotten along better with Silver Phoenix? Who knows. I just know what I've got from this book is not entertaining me.
Jackie "the Librarian"
This is a decent fantasy set in ancient China (here called Xia) that incorporates demons and other folkloric elements into this quest tale. Seventeen-year-old Ai Ling's father was once a high-ranking official at the emperor's court. Because of his role in shielding a love affair between one of the emperor's concubines and a foreign scholar, he was forced to leave in disgrace.

Now, he has been called back to the court, and has not returned. It is up to Ai Ling to rescue him from the evil forces h
Margaret Stohl
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing

With shades of Graceling and Fire, Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix is a spirited take on a classic coming-of-age quest. Teeming with incredible creatures and spirits, plots within plots and worlds within worlds, Silver Phoenix is truly unique among the Debs of 2009. Cindy Pon seeps every word in a delicacy of thought and plot that is rare in a YA novel. She is all about the craft, and I expect her next novel will be even more finely wrought.

And I haven't even mentioned the food. THE FOOD! Do not atte
Sep 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Misogynist, poorly written, offensive in many ways.

Also contains a lot of sexual threat and a lovingly-described rape attempt. I don't know why people don't warn for that.
Colleen Houck
I love that the author painted backgrounds to the chapters. So pretty! This one is full of Asian mythology, goddesses, and frightening creatures. The thing made of body parts? So cool yet disgusting! The attire and customs were so detailed and fascinating, I felt swathed in silk just reading. Lovely.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Originally posted here.

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon is a Chinese-inspired YA fantasy novel. Last week, I mentioned in my Knife review that R.J. Anderson is a fellow Sounisian and Megan Whalen Turner fan. I believe Cindy Pon is also a fan and look, they even went surfing together! My friend gave me a copy of Silver Phoenix for my birthday last year so I've had it for almost a year. I'm sorry it has taken me this long to read it but there are just so many books in the TBR
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for

From the beginning, Ai Ling has lived life differently from most young women in Xia. Born of parents who married for love, she is a cherished only child in a society that prizes sons, educated by her scholarly father and, as she comes of age, the ability to sense the thoughts of those around her.

When her father is called to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams expecting to be away no longer than two months, he leave his daughter with two things: a green jade pendant
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When her father disappears on a mission to the Emperor, 17-year-old Ai Ling, desperate to escape an unwanted betrothal resulting from his absence, decides to take matters into her own hands and sets out to seek her father herself. Very strange things begin happening almost as soon as she leaves town, and she soon realizes that many of them are directed at her. Luckily, she meets a nice 19-year-old boy, Chen Yong, who is also journeying to the Emperor's palace. Will Ai Ling and Chen Yong be able
Ai Ling is supposed to be getting married, as a good daughter should. But at the dinner that's meant to seal her betrothal, her prospective mother-in-law publicly rejects her, ruining her chances for a good marriage. In order to escape a bad one, Ai Ling journeys to the Emperor's court at the Palace of Fragrant Dreams to seek her father. Along the way, she meets Chen Yong, who has a quest of his own. Their quests are made more challenging by the new and mysterious power emerging within Ai Ling a ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
One and a half-stars actually. I have read worse, much worse, and I did like all the food references but
this is a maddeningly written book. It reads almost as if it was some sort of game adventure, possibly geared at young readers, except there are some scenes of near rape which are quite creepy and would keep me from recommending this to any young readers.

The plot is IMO ridiculous, stringed together like subadventures in a game, where unlikely characters know things which should be political s
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Loved this. Bought because of all the racefail surrounding the cover--that booksellers didn't think a book featuring an Asian heroine would sell (New York publishers and booksellers need to seriously get their heads out of their collective asses). However, I was sucked into the story from the first page and hated for it to end. I know there's a sequel. ...more
winifred muncxa
Jan 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hello reader!

This book is so wonderful, it uses sexual assault as a plot device! It also features bland, spineless heroines, a dark and mysterious dude who just so happens to be the whitest (and therefore most attractive) guy in the book, and consistent ill judgment mistaken for bravery!

Isn't that so unique?

Apr 02, 2009 added it
Hurray for non-Western fantasy...we need more of it! Really liked this, though I could quibble with the ending, which I found a bit unsatisfying...but I suspect there's a sequel in the works. Give this to fans of Shannon Hale. ...more
murphy ✌ (daydreamofalife)
3 / 5

a lot of this worked for me, but some of it really didn't. RTC when irl stuff cools down and i have some free time on my hands

(read for #OWBookClub's theme for February - Adventures & Journeys)
Jun 16, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf, own-voices
DNF @ 158 pages

I do adore Cindy Pon. However, I prefer her later work, Want, to this. I love the incorporation of the Chinese beastiary and also those food descriptions :D but I feel Silver Phoenix lacks plot structure that is much needed. I've never been a fan of the LOTR movies because it just feels like walking, walking, walking and More Walking. Silver Phoenix feels the same. Ai Ling takes a very observational role in the story and every chapter feels like an episodic monster of the week lis
Margo Kelly
Mar 31, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for cool covers and I thought this cover was really cool.

In a time period when women were told what to do and when to do it - this book gives us an interesting character that is rebellious and heads out on her own to save her father. She comes to discover that she has unique powers that allow her to do some amazing things. She hooks up with another character who does not fit into the sterotypical ancient Chinese mold. Together, they battle evil and attempt to save the reincarnated l
Jul 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, ebooks, fantasy, ya
I heard about Silver Phoenix as yet another example of a trend that bothers the hell out of me: putting white faces on the covers of books that are not about white people. Thus, I wanted to give this book a bit of support. But, given that Cindy Pon was an unfamiliar author, I opted to check the book out of the library first and see whether this was a story I'd want to own.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. I'm writing this review several months after I actually read the book, and at this point, I have to
Mar 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book was difficult for me to rate. I had such high hopes for this book so I'm glad that the journey with Ai Ling was good, but there were a few things that bothered me.

Ai Ling has always tried to do what was right even if she didn't always like it. So she surprises herself as she embarks on a journey to run away from a betrothal and search for her father who hasn’t returned in months. Not long after, Ai Ling meets Chen Yong. He is the love interest as the blurb suggests but don't expect an
Ali Cross
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book. Probably the thing that I most liked was the culture and setting and how it is so different from your typical YA. The story is set in the kingdom of Xia, which is modeled after China. The characters have Asian-sounding names, there are ancestor altars and a definite class system. The story also takes a detour into the kingdoms of the gods which allowed for some pretty fantastical settings and adventures. I quite enjoyed all of that.

I found there were some editing probl
Steph Su
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poc, debs09
SILVER PHOENIX is first and foremost a nonstop tale of fantastical adventure. Demons and mythical places pop out of the pages nonstop, and so there is an almost constant stream of butt-kicking, done by an extremely appealing heroine. Ai Ling is an enviable protagonist, with her neverending arsenal of abilities. Even with all the unwanted problems that destiny has placed upon her shoulders, she forges on, not relying on others to do what she needs to get done.

The heavy reliance on evil creatures
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Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent duology Serpentine and Sacrifice (Month9Books) were both Junior Library Guild selections and received starred reviews from Kirkus an ...more

Other books in the series

Kingdom of Xia (Phoenix) (2 books)
  • Fury of the Phoenix (Kingdom of Xia, #2)

News & Interviews

The idea for The Gilded Ones came to author Namina Forna in a dream. The recurring image was one of a young girl in armor walking up a...
60 likes · 2 comments
“A plate of roast duck, steamed dumplings, spicy noodles with beef gravy, pickled cucumbers, stewed tongue and eggs if you have them, cold please, and sticky rice pearls, too,' Ai Ling said, before the server girl could open her mouth. "I don't know what he wants." Ai Ling nodded toward Chen Yong.

'I'm not sure I have enough coins to order anything more,' he said, laughing.”
“You judge the gods by who bows down at their altars?" Ai Ling asked.” 9 likes
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