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Fox and Phoenix

(Lóng City #1)

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  490 ratings  ·  82 reviews
"One cool, lively, exciting book set in a unique new world-more, please!" - Tamora Pierce

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
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published October 13th 2011 by Viking Juvenile (first published October 11th 2011)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
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 ·  490 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Picked this up on a whim at the library. Though I hadn’t read the short story that precedes this book, I didn’t find it hard to follow the action in this story. I liked this world with its mix of Chinese-influenced spirits and magic, and tech such as cellphones. Main character Kai Zu is tasked with bringing Princess Lian back to see her ailing (possibly grievously ill) father, king of the ghost dragons. Kai's mother is tending the King, and Kai and a pig spirit Chen (this guy’s funny) head out, ...more
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Emily Collins
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Abandoned after reading 9% of the lot, 1) because of the bratty, bragging hero and 2) because I felt cheated/at loss/demented due to the fact that I wasn't informed that this is a series that really starts counting at zero, and that volume one is the sequel, in which a famous trickster hero had to learn to live a normal life, doing normal household chores and getting the girl of his dreams by being a friend instead of just being as male as possible. Duh.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
At the beginning, it sort of feels like a sequel, but there is no previous book. There is a short story which I assume was written previously. It's kind of fun to feel like you're jumping into the middle of things though.

A fun blend of science fiction-fantasy and Chinese culture. At first I was a little unsure about the Chinese part, because it's a bit weird for a non-Chinese author to incorporate so much pinyin and such into her book. Then I thought that maybe she's half-and-half, and you
Yeah, this book should have included the prequel short story cause the lack of context makes getting into this book way too difficult.
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
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Sydney Gorelick
In Fox & Phoenix, by Beth Bernobich, two apprentices of magic in a magical, imperial asian setting, are out to find the princess. Her father, the king, is sick with a deadly disease, and the princess is the only one who can save him.
I think this book falls into the category of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, in that it is based off of Japanese mythology, at least loosely. Every person has a spirit companion, and that strikes me as quite like Imperial Japanese mythology. The magic system in
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
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
Jayme Swallow
Jul 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Karyn Silverman
Nov 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, arcs, z2012-reads
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
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-kids, fantasy
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
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
you know, it would have been WONDERFUL if it mentioned somewhere, ANYWHERE on this book that this was the sequal in a series. no wonder i felt like i was getting half the story and NOTHING was explained properly. i'm sorry to give this a low rating, but i guess i might enjoy it better after i read the first book....
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Fox and Phoenix had an intriguing world that combined magic and technology and an interesting premise. Unfortunately, as the story progressed, the less I liked Kai. So, I stopped listening to the story, but the narration was pretty good.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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.
Chris Evans
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
The world is decent, but I'm afraid it's a bit dull. It became a slog to finish towards the end.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Just couldn't get into this.
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very confusing, I always felt like I had entered a movie halfway through.
May 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Started this, but quickly became bored out of my mind with endless world-building and minimal plot and character development. Gave up quick.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is great! I would recommend it to people who like fantasy and adventure stories, and I bet lovers of realistic fiction would also appreciate the quality of writing in intense plot. The book starts out by explaining what happened to Kai, the main character in the story, before the time in which the book takes place telling this information won't really ruin the story, to read on! Kai used to be the leader of a gang of friends in Lóng city. The gang won a competition in which they had to ...more
I really enjoyed this story! It's a bit confusing at first - the author throws you right into the middle of her plot and her rather involved magical world. After I got settled, though, I found the book to be good fun. (Evidently there's a prequel somewhere?)

I listened to the audiobook. The narrator did a great job of keeping the various characters distinct, which I really appreciated. He brought the various (and fascinating) magical creatures to life particularly well.

Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, eh-it-s-okay
The world was fun and interesting, but I didn't really become invested in the characters.
I can see why this book got the green light to be published--you don't often see a modern fantasy/steampunk world based in Chinese culture rather than European. The concept alone is enough to get a look, and the story isn't a bad one. The worldbuilding is done fairly well and is the highlight of the book.
The plot is nothing particularly unique and at times delves into predictable. The biggest problem is that it feels like the sequel to a book that doesn't exist rather than the first book in a
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
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
This was a solid first book. It had interesting characters and scenery, but it was too short. Nothing was truly explained fully and it ended way too abruptly. Also, if this is book one, where is book two? It has been 6 years.
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 ...more
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Beth Bernobich is a writer, reader, mother, and geek. She loves to tell stories.
“And if wishes were crickets, we’d never get any sleep,” 0 likes
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