PHOENIX follows a young boy named Lucky --- who ironically isn't all that lucky --- as he discovers who and what he truly is. One day he wakes up to find he has burned a hole through his sheets and that throws him into a crazy adventure through the galaxy on an Alien spaceship to find his father. Amidst an Alien war that has been waging for years, Lucky must learn who his enemies really are in order to save the galaxy.
"The world building in PHOENIX is really the most outstanding part of this novel. This book is truly immersive. PHOENIX is one of those books that transcends an age group."
The supporting characters of the novel were some of my favorite parts of the story. I really loved Bixa, a female Alien who is this great fighter but also has her own vulnerabilities and insecurities. The same goes for Frollix, her brother who is an engineer who also added a comedic lightness to the story. Lucky, the main character, was clumsy and young, embodying the the archetype for the "chosen one" character that is so familiar in middle school novels but I did enjoy his development throughout the book.
The world building in PHOENIX is really the most outstanding part of this novel. There is a whole galaxy developed by S.F Said with different species, histories and technologies. This book is truly immersive. I especially loved the attention to detail when it came to developing the cultures of the Alien species. For example, the Axxa eat eyeball soup, just one of the really fun details about this world.
The illustrations really help build this world. The artwork is very unusual in its style and aids in telling the bigger picture as well as foreshadowing the later events of the novel. It also helps move the story along faster with all of the visuals.
The plot of PHOENIX is fun and makes for a great adventure story, but it is the same plot line that we see over and over again. A boy who loses a parent who was trying to protect him finds himself with a ragtag group on a journey to save the world and find out who he is. Lucky is a chosen one character and I wish the story was less similar to so many others. I found myself comparing PHOENIX to the Harry Potter series quite a lot --- which although complimentary, does not make it easy for PHOENIX to stand out.
PHOENIX is one of those books that transcends an age group. It makes for a fun and engaging read for middle school readers that will hook them from the first page and its action and plot will also interest a young adult readers. But adult readers will also enjoy this story for its nostalgic value to stories they read in their youth and for its maturity --- despite being a story meant for younger readers.
Fans of science fiction and space stories will really have a blast with PHOENIX. It has that same engaging quality of series such as Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, but it is very much set in its own world.
Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado on October 24, 2016