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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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WTV's Ryan Shapiro, Karina Grokhovskaya, and Sadie Johnson bring you a few last words

Every Book Has a Silver Lining: Swordbird

Christina Huang
In this weekly review, Every Book has a Silver Lining, staff reporter Christina Huang takes a look at books to find their silver lining.

Childhood imagination can tend to be more vivid, and while teenage authors may lack experience, this creativity can boost their stories. In the case of Nancy Yi Fan, who wrote her debut novel at 11 years old, Swordbird was an ambitious project. 

In Stone-Run Forest, tensions are high as the cardinals and the blue jays fight. Milton, a robin, was taken and enslaved from his tribe by the hawk lord Turnatt. Turnatt creates conflict between the cardinals and the blue jays, stealing from both groups so that he can do as he pleases while they fight each other. Milton runs away and meets Aska, a blue jay. Aska then stops the conflict, warning her tribe of Turnatt. The two bird groups reconcile and decide that in order to stop Turnatt, the only thing to do is to call on the legendary Swordbird with the Leasorn Gem to save the forest. When Milton escapes Turnatt, he then rejoins Aska in journeying to his village, where the Leasorn Gem lies. 

In the ‘About the Author’ page, Yi Fan describes the idea behind the novel as having come from a dream. Accordingly, the final product she creates has a fever-dream-like quality, though it isn’t unpleasant. The story carried a somewhat non-traditional story structure, with the first part of the book dedicated to set-up, introducing the antagonist and the conflict, before readers meet the protagonist(s). The climax and falling action were a bit rushed as well, the majority of the story being fight scenes in the beginning to the middle-end of the book. 

The plot can be a bit messy and isn’t incredibly original, but especially considering the author’s age, the writing itself is descriptive and it can be inspiring for younger readers/prospective writers. Additionally, the book has frequent illustrations by Mark Zug that help bring Yi Fan’s world to life. This is also done by the author’s inclusion of quotes from old books of this bird world that started off each chapter. 

Filled with magic, easily liked characters (or disliked, when concerning the antagonist), and intricate, fanciful illustrations, the way Swordbird is received can depend on what readers come into the book expecting. Compared to an average book, Swordbird doesn’t particularly stand out, but as a story behind an inspirational author who sparks nostalgia, Swordbird is like what it started as: a whimsical and somewhat pleasantly bizarre dream.

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About the Contributor
Christina Huang
Christina Huang, Staff Reporter/Interactive Media Editor
Christina Huang is a sophomore in her first year officially with Wingspan. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and viola, and finding/creating wallpapers for her phone which she will likely never use. She’s looking forward to the opportunity to better her writing and find the good in scorned books this year through her book blog: Every Book Has a Silver Lining. Contact Christina:

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