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by Cynthia Pon

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-173025-2
Publisher: Greenwillow

Ai Ling's second adventure is every bit as sensuous as Silver Phoenix (2009) in a tale that moves between two times and two cultures. Chen Yong, Ai Ling's unattainable love interest from her previous world-saving adventure, is traveling on a quest to find his unknown foreigner father. Ai Ling has premonitions of danger and stows away to join Chen Yong on his journey to the Europe-inspired country of his father's birth. Ai Ling's developing powers will be instrumental in fighting off pirates and sea monsters, but they may also be causing her strange dreams. These dreams, of her old antagonist Zhong Ye, appear as interleaved chapters within Ai Ling's own adventure. In these historical visions, Zhong Ye is not the archvillain defeated so recently. Instead, he's an eager young power player in the Empire's distant past, his search for success touched by love and betrayal. Zhong Ye’s tragic history, like Ai Ling's own, is grounded in sensuous and carnal detail. The meals alone—from perfectly spiced beef tongue in one country's past to sugar-encrusted almonds in another land's present—can be more enthralling than Ai Ling and Zhong Ye’s parallel quests. The intertwining of the two histories is rushed and chaotic, but lush detail will enthrall, from tantalizingly detailed food to gruesome demonic tortures. (Fantasy. 14 & up)