July 21, 2010

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Date Started: July 17
Date Finished: July 20

Summary: Ai Ling has been rejected repeatedly by suitors and she is okay with that, even though it brings her family shame. Ai Ling's father leaves for the castle and doesn't return. After a lecherous old man asks for her hand in marriage to pay an old debt by her father, Ai Ling runs away to bring him home. Along the way, monsters and demons are out for her soul. She finds shelter and comfort from Chen Yong and his adopted brother Li Rong

Likes: This was as refreshing departure from the standard fantasy. It has all the same tropes most fantasies do (long quests, monsters, etc...), but the Asian-inspired myths and monsters were a breath of fresh air for me. The writing, while it took me a bit longer to get into, was beautiful and the style was very lyrical and visual. The characters felt familiar in a way and their stories felt familiar, but they came together in a way that was different. For the first half of the book, Ai Ling's ability didn't necessarily feel completely convenient, especially since it seems to endanger the party that she's traveling with. The tension was high when it time to confront the bad guy and I thought it was going to be a total blood bath, but it wasn't. It was a subtle fight and it had me at the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. (I bet the people at the library were wondering why I was gasping so much)

Dislikes: It had its share of cliches that I was willing to overlook because of the setting and the writing. There were points in time where things were too convenient for the characters. I was mad that the ending was so simple. (Of course there is a sequel so I'm excited to see where the next book picks up).

Overall: I enjoyed this book. However...

I hate how the whole repackaging issue sort of peppered the way I read the book. My biggest question was who were they trying to market this book to? Was it people like me and those who enjoy anime and Avatar: The Last Airbender (I have to spell the whole thing out of these out now so people know I'm not talking about the blue smurf kittens or the epic fail that was the live-action movie) or specifically Asians (who have seen this type of story before according to T). Did they even do any marketing to both markets? If it wasn't for dedicated PoC book bloggers, I wouldn't have known this book existed. And that's a shame because there are thousands of people out there like me in all colors of the rainbow that would like this book, regardless of the cover. If those people are anything like me, they are tired of seeing covers that look like paranormal romances.  

That being said, I enjoyed it. Like I said, even though it does have its cliches, it was a nice deviation from the standard fantasy. 

Recommended by: Reading in Color. Like I mentioned before, I'm not sure I would have read this novel if I hadn't heard about the repackaging scandal. My library carries this book at another branch, but I wouldn't have known to look for it otherwise.

Acquired: Library


Merrilee said...

I've been wanting to read this one, because Asian based fantasy is far too rare. Thanks for the review!

MissAttitude said...

Everything was pretty convenient in this novel. I'm re-reviewing Silver Phoenix on Friday, that review is more well written than the one you first saw!

Hooray for Li Rong love! I'll take him since Ai Ling didn't want him :)

I adore Tamora Pierce's work especially the Lioness Quartet (that's the only series of hers that I've read entirely, I've read a few books in the others but I'm so busy with other books that it's taken a backseat).

I'm looking hard at Brown, it's in my top 5 or so (not really sure how many colleges I should apply to).

Oh I'm going to run your Blogger Spotlight next Friday. Is that OK?

Najela said...

@Merrilee: I hope you enjoy it. It's a fun read.

@Ari: Okay. I remember you mentioned that you were going to re-review it. It didn't occur to me this was the one I read before.

I loved the Lioness Quartet as well. I tried to read some of the other series, but I haven't found them at my old library. I haven't even thought about looking at my current library. I know the Circle of Magic series has a book with a "Black" main character(she physically looks Black, but it's a fantasy world). I think her book also has LGBTQ themes as well.

I applied to 9 schools all together. 3 UC, 3 state schools, 3 privates schools. I got into my number one school, but I also had some options too. I think you should probably apply to your top five, and then 3-5 safety schools. If you have any questions about the app process let me know. I'm about to go through it all over again for grad school.

Yes, that's perfect. That will give me time to whip up a nice little giveaway. =)

MissAttitude said...

I will defintely take you up on that offer for info about the college process! I'm going to be a junior so I'll wait a bit and see what new information we get.

Yes I never read the Circle of Magic series but I do remember picking it up once because there was a Black girl on the cover. I read a two books about the girl knight who came after Alanna, one about Alanna's daughter and three of the Wild Magic series.

For the spotlight, I'll mention that people should check out your blog for the giveaway. Hopefully it will still be going on so I can Tweet about it when I get back :)

Najela said...

Alright. Let me know. Feel free to shot me an email or comment if you have any questions.

I've been trying to read the two about Alanna's daughter, but I had trouble getting into them for some reason. Same with the Terrier series. I might go back and try to read them, but

Okay. I'm kinda excited. I need to get back on twitter. I used to be twitterfiend, but I cut back.

Najela said...

I might go back and try to read them, but I have trouble getting into them. They always seem to start a little slow, but once they pick up it's always good. I just have trouble getting past the boring parts.

MissAttitude said...

Quick reminder: your spotlight runs Friday July 30.

I usually get sucked into the world of Tortall. oh I did read the 1st one in the Beka Cooper series, I forgot. I liked it well enough. One day I'm going to read all of her books. I liked the one about Alanna's daughter in the beginning because I liked reading about her and George. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I read that one, I think I only read an excerpt that included her parents. lol.

I love Twitter!

Najela said...

Nice. I'll probably debut the giveaway and whatnot then. It'll be for August. I still have no idea what the prize is going to be.

Alanna's daughter's books, Trickster's Choice is really interesting. I got right to the good part and had to return it to the library. That happens with a lot of books I read.

I need to get back on twitter, but it took so much (fabulous) time out of my day.


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