Monday, January 27, 2014

Young Adult Review: Fury of the Phoenix

Fury of the Phoenix (Kingdom of Xia, 2) Cindy Pon, March 29, 2011. 362 pages. Published by Greenwillow Books. Source: library.
The Gods have abandoned Ai Ling.

Her mysterious power haunts her day and night, and she leaves home—with just the moon as her guide—overwhelmed by her memories and visions and an unbearable sense of dread. For Ai Ling knows that Chen Yong is vulnerable to corrupt enchantments from the under-world. How can she do nothing when she has the skill and power to fight at his side? A dream has told her where he is, the name of the ship he is traveling on, his destination. So she steals off and stows away on board.

The ocean voyage brings with it brutal danger, haunting revelations, and new friendships, but also the premonition of a very real and terrifying threat. Zhong Ye—the powerful sorcerer whom Ai Ling believed she had vanquished in the Palace of Fragrant Dreams—is trapped in Hell, neither alive nor dead. Can he reach from beyond the grave to reunite with Silver Phoenix and destroy Chen Yong? And destroy whatever chance Ai Ling has at happiness, at love?
First Sentence:
Chen Yong was already on board the ship.
Well, I had planned on writing my review for The Silver Phoenix before posting the one for book two, but first I'd need to re-read it since that is one book I need fresh in my mind to write about. So until then, I' going to give y'all my thoughts on Fury of the Phoenix.

Ai Ling and Chen Yong, there are so many reasons I enjoyed reading about the two of them. One of them is how they came to know, respect, and care for each other through both books. But what I also loved was that things weren't always easy for them, cause hey, life isn't; also the dialogue between them had such an easy flow that you just got wrapped up in it.
   So, while I really enjoyed the characters and the way they interacted, the book setting is what completely sold me on the greatness of Fury of the Phoenix and its' ability to be both fantasy and historical fiction.

Two reasons the plot in book two swept me away.
Reason the first: I enjoyed seeing the characters work through the secrets they kept from each other (ones that carry over from book one). It was interesting because they weren't little secrets, they were ones that could irrevocably change the other person's opinion.
Reason the second: Closure. There were a couple things that were left unanswered after the end of The Silver Phoenix, so, I was happy to see how things concluded. While it was nice to see long-standing questions answered, what really made me happy was that the answers were ones that made you look at certain characters in a different light.

Having finally read both of Cindy Pon's Kingdom of Xia books, I have come to the conclusion that her writing and ability to weave such complex story-lines that pull at your feelings that any books by her will be added to my must read list. Seriously, it has been a couple months since I first read Fury of the Phoenix and I cannot get her writing and the conclusion to Ai Ling's story out of my head.
   So, I guess you can say that Ms. Pon's writing and the conclusion to the series is what I loved most. You really can not ask for a better ending then the one you'll get at the end of this duology; factor in the excellent writing and this book is made of win.

Okay, so while I loved, loved Fury of the Phoenix, I wish that I had re-read The Silver Phoenix before starting in on it. Why, because there were a couple details that slipped my memory that would have been handy to know. Even though I wish book one had been fresh in my mind, if I had any complaints from reading book two they've disappeared.

Final Verdict: Fury of the Phoenix- Only one word is needed to sum up my thought's Cindy Pon's book: Beautiful.

Fury of the Phoenix earns 5 out of 5 pineapples

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