Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Silver Phoenix

Ai Ling flees her home to find her missing father and avoid a betrothal to a nasty man with three other wives. On her journey to the Emperor’s palace, with only a magical jade necklace for protection, Ai Ling falls in love with the half-blood Chen Yong, meets gods, goddesses, dragons, and spirits of various kinds, and has many adventures. The immortals are taking an intense interest in her affairs, and she begins to wonder if she may be more important than she can imagine…

Entertainment: ★★

First of all, although I’m all for a more unique kind of mythology, I'd rather it be understandable. The monsters and spirits of Ai Ling’s world were sparsely described and rarely explained, leaving me very confused at several points.

Second, there was nothing unique about this book. I’ve read the same story with the same characters a hundred times before, just set in different worlds. There was very little memorable or interesting about Silver Phoenix. I keep waiting for a suprise twist or something unexpected, and when it never came I was more than a little underwhelmed.

Plot: ★★

See above comment. Nothing unique, except the setting. The ending was predictable, the action not particularly well written, the romance inevitable-feeling and almost clumsy. Basically, it was boring.

Characters: ★

Ai Ling, the stereotypical “rebellious princess” type of character, given an Unusual-For-Girls education by her doting father and raised to Think Daring Thoughts; these lead her to Stand Up For The Rights of Women. Hooray. Her boyfriend Chen Yong was almost as cardboard-cutout; he was Dark and Brooding, with an Unknown Parentage, and also some Really Good Looks and Epic Fighting Skillz. Also, he's a half-blood.  Snore. It would be nice if any of them had, you know, flaws. Or something distinctive about them.

Writing: ★★★

There was nothing bad about Pon’s writing. There wasn’t really anything exceptional either. It was just average.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

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