Silver Phoenix

Whenever a bookstore owner tells me about her favorite book, I must buy it. Megan O’Sullivan, owner of Main Street Books in Cedar City, Utah not only recommends “Silver Phoenix,” she has a watercolor painted by the author, Cindy Pon, hanging above her shelves.

This young adult fantasy has no vampires nor zombies, but there be dragons and demons. The heroine, a young Chinese girl who had vowed in her former life to return to destroy the villain, has special powers – as most superheroes do. Ai Ling can hear others’ thoughts as well as connect her spirit to read their innermost feelings.

The quest to free her father connects her to a young handsome boy who is also in search of his father, a former ambassador from another country who loved his mother, one of the Emperor’s concubines. They both are outcasts – Chen Yong for his mixed heritage and Ai Ling for a crime in her father’s past.

The emphasis is on adventure, with only hints of romance. I read it between flights – fun and fast fantasy – the first in a series of three, and passed it on to a young girl who was trying out her new skateboard on the carpet at the gate.