Friday, April 26, 2013

ARC Review: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

Goodreads summary:

Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.

The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.

My review:

While I enjoyed the first book in this series, Black City, I still had some issues with it - specifically, the insta-love.  I still didn't care for the romance in Phoenix, but this sequel makes up for it with plenty of action, some amazing twists, and lots more world-building.

I'm impressed with the way Elizabeth Richards has written the villain, Purian Rose.  He's so twisted and will stop at nothing to get rid of Ash and Natalie.  He's a deliciously creepy villain.  And I love the way Richards holds nothing back - Natalie and Ash both suffer a lot in this sequel.  They lose people who are dear to them, and are betrayed by people they thought they could trust.

The plot is full of twists and turns.  I was excited to find that there's lots of action in Phoenix, probably even more so than in Black City.  Natalie and Ash spend lots of time fighting for their lives and on the run.  When there's not action, there's plenty of political intrigue.  I enjoyed this aspect of the story; it really added to the world-building.  There's also an excellent twist at the end that I didn't see coming at all.

What ruined the story for me was the romance.  It's not exactly a love triangle, per se...but there is another guy who complicates the relationship between Natalie and Ash.  I got frustrated with Natalie and Ash because they kept acting so jealous and immature.  If they're really as desperately in love with each other as they claim to be, why don't they actually be honest with each other?

But despite not liking the romance, I really did enjoy Phoenix.  It's a strong sequel plot-wise, and I think fans of the first book will love the tense action and surprising twists.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the story ends in the final book.

* Thanks to Steph at Cuddlebuggery for sending me her ARC!

My rating:  7 out of 10 (3.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

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