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FOX & PHOENIX by Beth Bernobich

FOX & PHOENIX

By Beth Bernobich

Age Range: 13 - 15

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-670-01278-7
Publisher: Viking

A ghost dragon sends Kai and his spirit pig on a quest to rescue the princess of a cyberpunk China-analogue.

Kai’s grown apart from his friends since the adventure that brought him money and the friendship of Princess Lian. At least he still sees his best friend Yún daily during their shared apprenticeship, but he can't talk to her without arguing. Now the king of Lóng City is gravely ill, the magic flux powering the city's talk-phones and electronics is failing and Kai's mother is missing. His unwilling quest to save the day takes Kai across the Seventy Kingdoms all the way to the mysterious Phoenix Empire. It's a good thing Yún joins him, because Kai simply isn't clever enough to deal with all the bureaucracy the journey entails, from taxes to passports. They travel by foot, pony and luxurious train to find Princess Lian, who can surely help them. As an adventurer, Kai is on the passive side and tends to let the world happen to him, but this is a minor quibble. He also frequently refers to the adventure that brought him together with his now-estranged friends, but since those events were from a short story ("Pig, Crane, Fox: Three Hearts Unfolding" from the fantasy anthology Magic in the Mirrorstone, edited by Steve Berman, 2008), readers are more likely to be frustrated then familiar.

Overall, the blurred magic/technology boundary gives a compelling flavor to an adventure well worth reading. (Fantasy/cyberpunk. 13-15)