Want to read a fantasy set in a world similar to ancient China, with delicious descriptions of food, awesome action, and heart wrenching romance? Then check out Cindy Pon’s “Silver Phoenix” and “Fury of the Phoenix”.
To steal from Goodreads.com so I don’t reveal too much by my raving, here is the summary for “Silver Phoenix”.
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 her journey to the Palace of Fragrant Dreams isn't only a quest to find her beloved father but a venture with stakes larger than she could have imagined.
Bravery, intelligence, the will to fight and fight hard . . . she will need all of these things. Just as she will need the new and mysterious power growing within her. She will also need help.
It is Chen Yong who finds her partly submerged and barely breathing at the edge of a deep lake. There is something of unspeakable evil trying to drag her under. On a quest of his own, Chen Yong offers that help . . . and perhaps more.
I devoured these books! They are so refreshingly different from other fantasies out there. I especially loved the second book, “Fury of the Phoenix”. Ms. Pon really found her flow in Fury. The book moves back and forth between past and present so gracefully. It is also much more romantic than the first, so of course I loved that too. I’m going to kick it old school and do a bullet point list to make sure I don’t miss all the aspects I enjoyed in Cindy Pon’s series.
- Setting - Ancient China-esque fantasy world - exotic and beautiful. It was so refreshing to have a true fantasy world be so different. So many fantasy worlds are boring and basically medieval/renaissance Europe, but with different names. This was really refreshing!
- Ai Ling - our heroine. I really connected to her. She’s smart, vivacious and independent, despite the confines her society places on women. She feels things deeply which makes her so easy to connect with. I felt her pain, her fear, along with her. I love it when an author writes so well that I actually get frightened too!
- Hotties - What YA fantasy is complete without hotties? Um, the sparring scene where they take their shirts off? My imagination thanks you, Cindy.
- Food - Recently, we interviewed Cindy for the Authors are ROCKSTARS! podcast and asked her about her use of food in her books. She believes food is essential to world building and I really agree. I really felt like a part of the world as I got hungrier and hungrier while reading her delicious food descriptions. YUM!
I purchased these books at Vroman's Bookstore at the "YA in Bloom" event. You can hear Cindy discuss her books "Silver Phoenix" and "Fury of the Phoenix" as well as her career on the August Special Edition of Authors are ROCKSTARS!