Book Review: SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon



Published April 2009

Look back again, she thought, and I will follow you.

I finished reading Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX around one in the morning last night – I simply couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened to Ai Ling and Chen Yong, her father and the evil Zhong Ye. Despite needing to work on my own book, despite needing to do some lawyering, despite needing to pay attention to the other humans in my life – the canine in my life does not allow for being ignored, so he is not on this list – my nose stayed glued to Pon’s epic tale of magic, mythology, and brutal love until the last word

which if you’re wondering, happens to be “twilight.”

Check out the notes I furiously typed at that late hour subsequent to closing the book, needing to get my immediate thoughts down on paper:

SILVER PHOENIX is epic and awesome and so freaking good. a journey reminiscent of The Odyssey and really, does it get much better than that?

the feels, the adventure, the friendship, the unrequited love. it’s too much but you only want more, more, more

the badass girl and the boy who lets her be badass, promising always to be at her side – swoon

the magic and evil and wonder

Chen Yong’s pain of feeling other, being spoken to as if a lesser being, always seeking a place to belong when it’s right under his nose, with Ai Ling – meep

I promise you I was not delirious – Silver Phoenix is just as fantastic as classics like The Odyssey and Lord of the Rings and as I turned its pages, it reminded me of the pure joy I feel whenever I read those tales – the escapades and intrigue, the danger lurking around every corner, in every face, the overall genius of the hero’s journey. Silver Phoenix is just all. so. good.

But for me, because I am an admitted sucker and fucking sappy ass romantic at heart – although please, please, please make my lovers total badasses to the end – even more moving and poetic than the journey is Pon’s underlying theme, that wicked slow burn she weaves throughout her novel, of unrequited love.

She had me stopping and taking notes several times throughout the book:

when Ai Ling notices Chen Yong’s eyes and immediately wishes she hadn’t

“I’m glad I followed you here.”

the LOVE LOST TREE – ugh – stop it! – please

“Besides, you always had my heart, I just never had yours.”

Ai Ling’s memorization of Chen Yong’s letter to her, “the curves and lines of his calligraphy” – dying

And this doozie

“Ai Ling realized then she would be willing to leave her home, her family, everything to be by his side – and the revelation stunned her…Look back again, she thought, and I will follow you. Instead Ai Ling watched him walk away, with easy grace, until he turned the corner. She shut the heavy wooden door…her chest tight with all the words she had not said…” – just kill me now because you already ripped out my heart

at one point, I got so brave as to tweet Cindy:


Based on her response, I think she enjoys that slow burn and our suffering for unrequited love. She damn sure knows how to write it.

I already had a huge girl crush on Cindy because of all the phenomenal work she’s done and continues to do to diversify our bookshelves – and the fact she was such an enthusiastic participant in my Getting Proustian With… interview series – but now my love for her is on a whole other level.

Silver Phoenix, Ai Ling, and Chen Yong are going to hold special places in my little bruised and battered heart for a very long time and already have me rushing off to Amazon to order the sequel. #Ididthat

Get the book, folks.


For real.



6 thoughts on “Book Review: SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon

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