Review: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

Posted July 11, 2013 by lockhartbecca in Uncategorized / 0 Comments


Author: Elizabeth Richards
Series: Black City, Book Two
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: Mid-Columbia Libraries
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from Goodreads:
Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life
together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and
Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose
threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that
will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known
as the Tenth.

When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of
Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy
Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and
tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze,
the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and
Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash
doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may
have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful
weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City
undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even
exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie
apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and
steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

This book has literally rendered me speechless.
Aside from one small hiccup, it was flawless. The characters are immediately
thrown back into action and turmoil when the book starts. They are rallying
support from the citizens to vote against Purian Rose’s law that will segregate
all Darklings (vampire-like creatures), Lupines (essentially werewolves w/some
slight variations), and Bastets (cat-like creatures) from the humans. They
discover dark secrets along the way and must battle for their lives and the
lives of innocent people.
I want to start with discussing how incredible
Elizabeth Richards is at world building. There are many fantastical creatures
that most people reading will have never heard of, but she does a wonderful job
of describing them and reminding us throughout the book of what they are. She
misses nothing including the tiny mannerisms that each different race has such
as Bastets grooming themselves (remember cat-like creatures). She also
describes the government and various cities very well. There are many cities in
the United Sentry States and she points out which ones are most important to
the government, and which ones are important to each species. It can get a
little confusing, but Richards does a fantastic job of reminding us subtly
throughout the book the importance of each city as we encounter them.
This is a very dark book filled with death, carnage
and horror so if you’re not prepared for that, then proceed with caution.
However, the brutality of it makes it feel realistic. In many dystopian novels,
we see the main characters fighting against the government, but not many people
die. The rebellion, Humans for Unity, is much smaller than the government, the
Sentry, so casualties are to be expected. That’s not to say that it doesn’t
still punch you in the face when it happens. You will cry during this book, I
guarantee it.
Ash and Natalie are such a strong couple, nothing
can touch them. Until something does. Here’s the little hiccup I was talking
about. I got to about page 280 and suddenly it started to feel like the book
was coming down with a case of second book syndrome. For those of you who don’t
know what I’m talking about, second book syndrome is when the main couple in a
series pull apart from each other and it’s a raging mess of jealousy,
confusion, anger, and hurt. This happens all too often in the YA genre. It
happened in New Moon by Stephanie
Meyer, Beautiful Darkness by Kami
Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons. When I realized Phoenix was starting to head down that path I was crushed with
disappointment. However, about 30 pages later, it turned around. While still
annoying for those 30 pages, I can forgive this tiny problem because the rest
of the book was so utterly amazing.
If you read Black City, you’ll remember the boy Natalie rescued from her mother’s lab. His
name is Elijah and he plays a major role in this book. I loved his character,
even though with his addition came the dreaded love triangle. I definitely
still want Natalie with Ash, but Elijah is so sweet and caring, I couldn’t help
but fall in love with him a little. 
I enjoyed Ash’s character in this book just as much
as I did in the first one. He is an inspiration to his people and other species
under persecution. Ash will put his life on the line for both the cause and the
people he loves. He is riddled with guilt as he watches people around him die,
making him relatable and drawing sympathy from the reader.
Natalie is an okay character for me. I don’t dislike
her, but I’m also not too fond of her either. I felt myself rushing through her
chapters in an attempt to get back into Ash’s head. The chapters written from
his perspective were much more enjoyable to me.
The action in this book does not stop. Just when you
think you have reached the climax of the story, Richards slams another plot
twist into us leaving us tearing through the pages, jaws on the floor, as fast
as we can. There were parts of this book where I had to force my eyes to stay
on the sentence I was reading, rather than skip down to find out what was about
to happen. I should probably re-read it actually. I’m sure I missed stuff.
Overall, I’m still in shock over this book. The
characters, the action, the steamy romance, and the carnage all tied together
make this book absolutely incredible. This book felt alive to me as I was
reading. I could almost hear the explosions, smell the smoke, and see the blood
on its pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves urban fantasy
and heated romance. The third book, Wings,
comes out sometime in 2014. Happy reading all!

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