Title: Phoenix Rising
Author: Bryony Pearce
Published: June 1st 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Length: 368 pages
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
In a future world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed, an outlawed pirate crew fight for survival on their ship, the Phoenix, kept afloat by whatever they can salvage or scavenge on the debris-filled seas. Toby has never known anything other than life onboard the Phoenix and he’s desperate for adventure. But when trouble comes hunting the Phoenix down, Toby realizes that what you wish for isn’t always what you want. He meets beautiful Ayla from the Banshee, a rival pirate ship and sworn enemy of the Phoenix, and his world is thrown into disorder. How can he know who to trust and what to believe? The future rests on him making an impossible choice…A gripping novel, perfect for fans of Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer and Suzanne Collins.
A fantastic, action packed pirate adventure set in a world where fossil fuels have finally run out and alternative fuel sources are growing scarce. Toby and the rest of the Phoenix crew are sailing in the hopes of discovering a hidden cache of solar panels so they can find their way to ‘the island’ – a paradise where they can settle and flourish. Sadly, it’s not an easy journey as they have to steer clear of not only the government, but fellow pirates like the Banshee crew too. The Banshee crew is a formidable, cut-throat crew that are known for their ruthlessness.
Toby has never set foot on land, or at least not that he can remember. His father is the captain of the Phoenix crew and is fiercely protective of him. So Toby maintains the boiler room and helps out around the ship. Until the day he finds a stowaway and a series of events leads to the boy being kidnapped and taken to the Banshee. This sets in motion a series of events that sees the crew hit dark times, with dangerous battles and more kidnapping ahead.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it a little slow to build up to the action, but once it kicked off, I was hooked. Toby was an interesting character – with his love for the ship and the crew, the work that he does as well, but his dream of going on land. My heart warmed to him. I actually really liked the Banshee crew too. They were nefarious and ruthless and even though Ayla was the daughter of the captain, she didn’t get any special treatment (other than getting to keep her hair) and was under the same fear of the captain as the rest of the crew.
When the Phoenix captain tricks the Banshee crew and escapes with the co-ordinates for the solar panels, Ayla is sent after them. I thought this was a really interesting move and it did lead to some great developments in Ayla’s character. The one thing I couldn’t get behind was Ayla and Toby’s attraction – I can understand that they were both isolated and didn’t really see others their own age, but I just didn’t feel it. I think it would’ve been better without the romance elements in it.
Having said that, the kidnapping and epic battle at the end of the book was fantastic. So much action, excitement, pain and relief packed into a short space of time, you barely had a moment to catch your breath before something else happened. The twist at the end was great, I didn’t see it coming at all – even though I’d made a couple of guesses as to what it could have been. It was very cleverly done and explains so much.
A perfect summer read, a fun pirate adventure full of action and danger. Great for young readers.
I’d also like to point out that when I was offered this book for review, I wanted to join Team Banshee because they sounded badass. I stand by that original thought and loved the crew in the book (although I don’t think I’d last long if I was to join up!) #TeamBansheeForLife!
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Exciting adventures ahead, but be wary of a beautiful stranger. Unexpected danger lurks in the background and not everything is as clear as it seems. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
(I’m trying this out, let me know if you think this is a good or terrible idea!)
About the Author
Bryony Pearce (formerly McCarthy) lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She completed an English Literature degree at Corpus Christi College Cambridge in 1998 and afterward worked in the business-to-business market research sector. She went freelance in 2004 so she could devote more time to writing. Bryony was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition with her MG novel Windrunner’s Daughter. Her first YA novel, Angel’s Fury, was published on 4th July 2011 by Egmont.