A girl who reads souls and the thoughts of others, legendary demons that take on physical form to attack, and a quest to save a father; it is always exciting when an author’s first novel turns out to be a page turner, and Cindy Pon has done just that with her award-winning young adult fantasy novel, Silver Phoenix.
Inspired by ancient China, we follow Ai Ling as she escapes a forced marriage and sets out for the Emperor’s palace in search of her missing father. Evil follows her in the form of demons thought only to be myth, and Ai Ling quickly discovers an unknown power to fight them off, read their thoughts and take control of their actions. Along the way she meets Chen Yong and together they fight their way through the world of the Immortals, encountering chariots that fly with thoughts, a monster composed of corpses, and a serpent that takes the form of a beautiful woman. Death mingles with hope, love with hate in this engaging novel for older readers.
In the sequel, Fury of the Phoenix (scheduled to be released in May 2011), Ai Ling must call on her growing supernatural powers when she accompanies Chen Yong on the search for his father.
Pon also has a picture book in progress, showcasing her Chinese brush art.
(For more about Cindy Pon’s work, and a reading guide to Silver Phoenix, visit her website: cindypon.com).
—Heidi Håvan Grosch, educator and children’s literature enthusiast
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