There had dang well better be a sequel. Honestly. It borders on criminal to leave readers hanging like that.
Ai Ling is horrified when her parents start trying to make her a wife and, though she's embarrassed to be rejected by potential suitors, she's also secretly relieved.
But then her father leaves to visit the palace-- and is gone for months. When her mother is confronted with a choice-- either pay a sum of money they don't have or give the merchant Ai Ling-- Ai Ling leaves home to find her father.
The journey that follows is beautiful and terrible-- a lyrical piece that was wonderful to read.
It reminded me of Little Sister and The Heavenward Path by Kara Dalkey (which I loved) but Silver Phoenix is for an older audience. (The library sticker says YF, but I think I'd call it YA.)
Anyway, I really loved it. (And you have to love that cover!!) According to Cindy Pon's author page on GoodReads it looks like there is a sequel planned! I can't wait!!
You can learn more at Cindy Pon's website!