Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: Phoenix Fire by S.D Grimm

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Phoenix Fire
  *Series: Phoenix Cycle #1
Author: S.D. Grimm
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: Ebook; 432
Release Date: March 5, 2018
Source: Publisher
Content Screening: Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy new takes on the fantasy genre.

Add it on: GoodreadsEntangled
After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.
Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.
Before anything else, let me say that the best thing about Phoenix Fire is that S.D. Grimm has created something solidly original here. In an otherwise saturated teen fantasy market, Phoenix Fire was like a big breath of fresh air. I loved the premise of the book. Adored the idea of multiple lives spent, all pursuing the same goal. Plus, I can't deny that I fell heavily for the idea that love and friendship trascend all time. How wonderful is that?

It was the execution of this premise that felt a little shaky, quite honestly. Grimm chooses to throw the reader directly into the fray, and allow them to uncover what's going on through the eyes of the multiple narrators. Normally I'm completely fine with this method of writing. If I can find even a small foothold in what's happening, I'll hang on tight and power through. The problem here, at least in my opinion, was that it takes quite a few chapters to really figure out who Ava really is, and how she's connected to the other voices that we're introduced to. That made it hard for me to determine why I needed to care about all these characters, and left me feeling lost.

I think this same reason is also why it took me so long to feel like I actually liked Ava as a character. At the beginning she simply felt like a disconnected, petulant teen who didn't really want a family. Not until I slowly uncovered her past, and realized what she'd been through, did I finally understand why she was so separate. My opinion of her did a quick about turn and, I can honestly say, I liked the book a lot more after that. I can stand a character who makes bad decisions, because we're all human. What I can't stand is a character who I don't understand enough to know why they made those decisions.

However, once I did have a better grasp on the narrators and who they were as people, I actually really enjoyed myself. As I mentioned above, this is a wholly original premise to me. There was plenty of action, some great monsters, and the kind of teamwork that makes my heart sing. I also thrilled as Ava began to remember herself and really come into her own. Her character grew so much in the second half of the book, and watching her handle things made me smile. I'm glad I stuck things out, because by the end I was more than ready to continue on for many more pages.

So, I'll give Phoenix Fire a solid three stars without a second thought. This first installment could have used a little bit of work but, quite truthfully, there's so much goodness wrapped up in here that it's hard not to love this story. I know that there is more coming down the line, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

About the Author:
S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.You can learn more about her upcoming novels at www.sdgrimm.com
Find her: Website | Twitter | FB | Instagram

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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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