Cover image for Sword Mountain
Sword Mountain
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, c2012.
Physical Description:
315 p. : ill. ; cm.
Reading Level:
720 L Lexile
"When adopted by the eagle prince, a valley-born eaglet must learn to become a princess and also, a heroine"--


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Can dandelion and her raptor friends save Sword mountain?

Nancy Yi Fan, the New York Times bestselling author of Swordbird, is back with her richly imagined fantasy bird world.

On her sky-born day, Dandelion is injured and separated from her parents. The exiled musician prince, Fleydur, comes to her rescue and brings her to the Castle of Sky. But the court life of the golden eagles is still dominated by rigid traditions and intrigue, and now a new threat is looming. As flying, swordplay, and music enter her life, Dandelion will have the chance to show that a valley eaglet can be a true princess and a heroine, too. Bravery, equality, and the gift of music triumph over all.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-On Sword Mountain, the social status of birds is based on where they live and the color of their feathers. Dandelion is a dark-feathered valley eaglet, indicating low birth. Soon after hatching, she's attacked by an archaeopteryx, a vicious soldier bird. She narrowly escapes being eaten, but her parents are killed. Fleydur, a once-exiled prince, finds the broken little bird and introduces her to palace life. Her high-born, golden-feathered classmates are cruel to her, except Cloud-wing, the most handsome and popular eaglet at the palace. But he soon goes off to a special school to prepare him for battle and she loses her only friend. Luckily, Fleydur, who seems to be back in favor with the court, adopts Dandelion, making her a princess. But Dandelion wants to fight their enemies alongside Cloud-wing. She eventually gets her chance when a thief steals a magic stone and tries to frame her. Readers who haven't read Swordbird (2007) or Sword Quest (2008, both HarperCollins) will struggle with this one. New plot lines appear abruptly and fizzle out, and motivations for the characters' actions aren't always clear. Cutesy devices, such as changing indefinite pronouns such as "everyone" to "everybird" quickly wear thin. Overall this is an overwritten, underdeveloped tale.-Mandy Laferriere, Staley Middle School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Set directly after the defeat of the archaeopteryxes, this third in Fan's bird fantasy series follows the golden-eagle princes, Fleydur and Forlath, to their home in the mountains. Unbeknownst to them, the villainous Kawaka (introduced in a prologue) also journeys there--but not with good intentions. Fleydur and Forlath find an orphaned eagle fledgling, Dandelion, whom Fleydur insists on bringing into the stuffy, stratified golden-eagle society. The narrative, hinging on Dandelion's acceptance in the eagle community as well as Kawaka's stratagems for taking over Sword Mountain, is fast-moving, engrossing and entertaining. Characters new to the series include an unexpectedly diverting villain, Kawaka's accomplice, an owl leader whose clan occupies the caves in the heart of the mountain. Story elements may initially seem unrelated, but they come together nicely in the exciting, suspenseful climax. Sparkling humor, from amusing personality portraits to hilarious segments (at one point, the king of the golden eagles, during his funeral ceremony, rises from the dead), offers insights to characters and their actions. Readers new to the series may experience some initial disorientation; fans of these tales will welcome this further installment. (map, dramatis personae) (Fantasy. 9-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Teen author Fan continues her congenial, if bland, avian fantasy with this latest Swordbird title. The war between the archaeopteryx and the golden eagles of Sword Mountain has ended with the death of Emperor Maldeor, but the treacherous archaeopteryx Kawaka remains to enact his dying wish. Meanwhile, eagle Prince Fleydur returns from exile, intending to start a music school despite music still being banned, and rescues an eaglet named Dandelion from certain death. Readers will benefit from having read Fan's other books, as some key elements are left unexplained, such as why music is banned in the first place and why the archaeopteryx and eagles are at war. Fan's birds are so anthropomorphized that it is easy to forget they are winged creatures: they play lacrosse on the ground; they sew and drink from teacups; they use doorknobs. Still, Dandelion's plight as a common valley eaglet mingling with haughty royals will resonate with kids who feel out of place, and Fan's strong message of equality and education will please parents HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fan's precociousness she began writing this series at age 11 has been a publicity boon that has included the likes of Oprah interviews. Fans of Fan are serious.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist