Hello and welcome to my latest book review. It’s been a busy month between family, work, and NaNo; that doesn’t mean I can’t offer another informative review from yours truly.
A writer friend recommended this series to me, and I decided it give it a go. Needless to say, I enjoyed the read and plan to read the following books at some point.
—The Phoenix Unchained—
The Phoenix Unchained is an immersive story with a rich amount of lore and enjoyable cast of characters. Book one includes staple mythology like dragons, goblins, mages, and unicorns. What I found most interesting was the magic system and how it weaves into the character arcs—but more on that below.
The book is around 380 pages. Chapters can be long, but are broken down with several scene breaks that alternate between character perspectives. Personally, I enjoyed the many scene breaks, as it makes it convenient for taking breaks or stopping for the day.
The other week, I submitted a short story for an online Publishing company called Havok. The submission had what was called Dynamic Duos, or two characters that interact with each other (e.g. Frodo and Sam).
The two protagonists in the Phoenix Unchained strongly share this trait. One is soft-spoken and thin, the other is hot-tempered and burly. I enjoyed the character interactions and especially the dialog; it left me amused and satisfied, as any good cast should.
The magic in the Phoenix Unchained initially comes off as generic and uninteresting. However, I was amazed at how the authors cleverly wove it into the character development for one of the protagonists. It even plays a part in the antagonist’s arc. The lore behind the magic system is deep and left me interested.
The tension is a rollercoaster of stressful encounters to peaceful resolutions, as I expected in any fantasy thriller. What caught me by surprise was the death of a main character halfway through the book.
The monsters and demons are portrayed excellently, some at a Stephen King-grade level that left me shaken and worried for the protagonists.
The Phoenix Unchained is a great read for fantasy buffs with its rich amount of lore, tension, amusing characters, and clever magic system.
Despite its enjoyable dialog and immersive environment, several prose errors caught me off balance. At other times, I felt like I was reading a manuscript that wasn’t well edited. It wasn’t so much as finding a typo as it was the excessive amount of adverbs used. The POV also wasn’t as detailed as it could as been, leaving some distance between reader and character.
That said, the prose concision was poor, lacking a fine polish that you may find in another fantasy novel.
There is a lot of travel involved in the plot. The authors failed to include a map that would have been helpful as I read through the story. There was also no chapter index—but that’s a minor nitpick.
—My Rating for The Phoenix Unchained: 4/5 stars—
This is a solid book for anyone interested in fantasy. As long as you don’t mind lacking a world map and the plethora of adverbs—and prose concision for that matter—, then you should enjoy the story. The characters will entertain you and some scenes will leave you at the edge of your seat.
I may do another review when I get through the second book.
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