The sequel to the epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy “Silver Phoenix” continues the sweeping quest of Ai Ling, a young woman with astonishing powers granted by the gods.
This book explained why Silver Phoenix did not contain all the details that I so needed. This one was slower in its pace and plot and there were moments when the switch from the present to the past was jarring. However, I appreciated that Pon took the time to return to Zhong Ye and tell his story and let us understand the man behind the villain.
Even in the first novel, I got the sense that Pon was a lot more sympathetic to Zhong Ye than I felt he was created to be and I wondered why. Fury of the Phoenix tells his story and juxtaposes that story with the present happenings in Ai Ling’s life. The novel reads much more smoothly than the first installment in the duology and the pacing and plotting are tighter. I liked the new characters that were introduced in this installment and I was happy to observe that Pon is becoming much more adept at character development as several of her characters, despite their relative importance in the novel/narrative, are in possession of actual personalities and not cardboard stereotypes.
Pon succeeded in making me see Zhong Ye in a different light and though I cannot deny that he was a villain, I begin to understand and perhaps pity him just a little bit. Pon was most successful in depicting the amount of love Zhong Ye felt for Silver Phoenix and his devastation at her apparent suicide on their wedding night. The novel is a discourse on human greed and addiction. The mythology remains engaging and new and I think I ended up liking the second installment in this duology a whole lot more than the first. I can’t wait to see where Pon takes us next.