Stronger than a bronze dragon is the Asian steampunk fantasy I did not know I needed in my life. Full of action, spirits, mechanical dragons and adventure, I couldn’t stop myself from devouring it. It’s made its way to my best fantasy books of 2019 list. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who loves reading fantasy books.
Today I have a special guest on the blog. It’s Anlei, the badass main character in Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon. She talks about her childhood, her dreams, her favourite things and more in this interview. Enjoy!
Etinosa: Thank you for taking out time from fighting shadow spirits and protecting your village to grant us this interview. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Anlei: My parents used to live adventurously—my father as a soldier in the Emperor’s army and my mother as an acrobat with a travelling troupe—but they settled down in our village, Dailan, before I was born, and none of us have gone anywhere since. I still don’t really understand why they chose such a quiet life in a remote river village when they could have taken me and my little sister, Anshui, with them on their adventures. Still, Dailan is my home, and I’d do anything to protect it, even though I often wish I could leave and see the world.
But ever since the Ligui—the shadow demons—started attacking five years ago, it’s been too dangerous for anyone to go anywhere. My father was among the first to fall. I was there—I saw everything. I was only twelve, but even then, I was determined to avenge him someday. And by the Gods of Heaven and Earth, I won’t rest until I destroy the last of those creatures. No one knows where they come from or why they keep attacking, only that they attack without cause and without mercy.
Even though I’ve spent my entire life in Dailan, I often feel like I don’t belong here. I’m not really sure why. I look at my mother’s life and the lives of my neighbours, and I know somehow that I’ll never quite be like them. I sometimes focus too much on what I’m doing and forget that the rest of the world is there too, and my mother has often warned me about my temper. Maybe that’s why people here think I’m selfish, even though I don’t mean to be.
If you didn’t become a warrior, what else would you have done?
I don’t know. Most girls in my village are married by my age, and I think maybe I’d be married too if the village headman hadn’t decided to let girls and village join the village guard after the Ligui killed so many of our men and boys. I don’t know who I would have been matched with, though. I’ve never had that kind of connection with anyone.
Before the Ligui came, my parents used to take my sister and me to neighbouring villages to perform as acrobats. Maybe, if I couldn’t be a warrior and didn’t have to get married, I could have been an acrobat in a travelling troupe, like Mother was when she was young.
This might be too personal but what are you most afraid of?
I can’t afford to be afraid. It would slow me down if I thought about how every night, I face death at the hands of those shadow demons. I still remember every detail of the night my father was killed, and I still see it in my nightmares. But I can’t think about that when I fight.Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon is full of action, mechanical dragons, spirits and adventure. Meet Anlei, the badass main character in Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon. She talks about her childhood, her favourite things, and more in this… Click To Tweet
Can you tell us your favourite childhood memory?
I used to love it when my parents would take my sister and me to neighbouring villages to perform. It was so much fun. Sometimes, there would be a stage in the centre of the village, but most of the time, we performed in the streets. Whenever my little sister and I perform together, I’m the base while she does the flying tricks, since I’m stronger. But when I performed by myself, I got to do harder tricks.
My favourite routine was when I performed the legend of Warrioress. Father even taught me some real sword-fighting skills to make my character more believable. Learning that routine is my favourite memory. I got to be a little bit of both Mother and Father, since I had her acrobatic tricks and his sword-fighting skills. We still perform in my village when there are festivals, but it’s not the same.
Do you have any fighting tips for us, in case we run into the Ligui (shadow spirits)?
This is one from my father: “A warrior must be disciplined, on and off the battlefield.”
I take that to mean that when fighting, you have to stay focused, and when not fighting, you have to practice so you don’t lose your skills. When fighting, focus is perhaps the most important thing. You have to be aware of your surroundings and anticipate what your enemy will do next.
What is your favourite food and colour?
My father used to make a delicious fish stew with noodles, and I used to always ask for it when I was younger. It used to make me feel better about everything with how warm and filling it was. He taught Mother how to make it too, but it’s not the same.
I’ve always liked the colour red. It’s a lucky colour, and it’s very bold, like me.
Do you have any message for the people who will read your story in Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon?
Don’t let anyone stop you from doing the things that are important to you, even if it’s hard. I had to argue for years to be allowed into the village guard as a girl. Even when the village headman decided to allow women and girls in, some thought I was too young, or that I should get married first and get my husband’s permission. I wouldn’t let them keep me from defending my people and avenging my father, and if something is that important to you, you shouldn’t let anyone refuse you either.
Thank you so much Anlei for granting me this interview. Don’t miss out on reading about her and Tai’s adventures in Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon.
Did you enjoy reading this Interview? Have you read this book? I’m curious, what’s your best diverse fantasy novel? Let’s chat in the comments. Don’t forget to check out the other tour stops, here’s the schedule.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon
Author: Mary Fan
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: June 11th 2019
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Synopsis: When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent.
Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself. Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined. With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.
Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.
Win a copy of STRONGER THAN A BRONZE DRAGON by Mary Fan (US Only)
Ends June 25th, 2019