Book Description via Goodreads:
Hardcover, 368 pages (Reviewer's copy: ARC, 350 pages)
June 4th 2013, Putnam Juvenile
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.
Source: Elizabeth Richards (Thank you!!)
The small flicker of fire in Black City strengthened into a burning flame in Phoenix. I was pleasantly surprised at the various changes. First and foremost, the atmosphere. There was a constant hum of rebellion buzzing throughout the novel. In this light, Phoenix was similar to Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons.
Natalie's life was more complicated. She was labeled as a race traitor after having a relationship with Ash. Her mother, the Emissary was in jail. She only had her sister left. Natalie really stepped out of her luxurious life and adjusted to life as a rebel. She actively took part in the rebellion, fighting for a cause that was so close to her heart: the safety and freedom of Darklings. I admired her desire to help put people no matter how much danger she was in herself. Together with Ash and Elijah, Natalie will journey through the dangerous terrain in Phoenix and will face the deadliest discovery of all.
Ash definitely wowed me. He turned into a better version of himself, becoming the face of the rebellion and setting an example for everyone. Contrary to the Ash in Black City, he now had a surge of confidence, determination and fierceness that I found appealing. That, coupled with the fact that he was lethal, will definitely make girls swoon. However, despite these strengths, he was still vulnerable when it came to his heart, when it came to Natalie. In YA novels, I consider it a must for readers to see the vulnerable side of every character. Seeing Ash hurt and ache, echoed in me. I have been emotionally attached to him and Natalie since the first book that despite the almost one year gap between Black City and Phoenix, that attachment was still strong.
Ash and Natalie's relationship was challenged in Phoenix. Although it still remained sweet and passionate, there was an undercurrent of sadness and fear. The author still managed to make it all the more sensual and steamy in an artsy way. Imagine the sensations and the feels from physical scenes in Easy by Tammara Webber. It's that good, only toned down for YA audience.
In Phoenix, I got to know more about a minor character in Black City, Elijah. He was the opposite of Ash in terms of personality and appearance. Elijah was fun, mischievous and less serious. He was an enchanting and mysterious character. I found myself warming up to him because he had a couple of similarities with Puck from the Iron Fey series, who is a favorite character of mine.
The story world broadened in the sequel, from the focused observation of Black City to the nationwide-encompassing rebellion and journey. New characters from different races were also introduced, letting me understand the totality of the population of the story world. The palpable struggle for power and for survival within and against each race was an echo of the power struggle between the Workboots and the Sentry. The heart-stopping action will keep readers enthralled all throughout the chapters.
Phoenix, like its predecessor, had everything I want in a novel: heart-melting and jelly-legs-inducing romance, chaos and rebellion, movie-like action, twists and turns but most of all, it was the author's ability to make me smile, hurt and agonize over every little happening in the book. Jolts and shockers from the past and the future mixed with the adrenaline-fueled rebellion against Purian Rose will satisfy readers who are looking for thrilling reads. Phoenix is startlingly vivid, violent and undeniably fulfilling. Readers will enjoy their journey through the passionate, dangerous, chaotic, blood-splattered story world of Phoenix. I highly recommend this to dystopian and post-apocalyptic readers who are looking for romance and action.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!