Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review: Phoenix Awakens (The Phoenix #1) by Eliza Nolan

Book Blurb:

A paranormal debut about a high school senior who finds herself in a fight with a secret society for control of ancient magic.

Julia never believed in magic.

Julia Long is starting her senior year with an extra dose of crazy. The dreams of cultish, bloody rituals are weird enough, but the victim in her lifelike dreams is her new classmate, Southern charmer Graham.

Graham admits he was a Phoenix — part of a centuries old secret society — but swears he left it all behind. As Julia works with Graham to figure out why she is dreaming about his past, she's discovering she has other abilities. She heals Graham’s migraines with a touch, and there’s her superhuman strength that comes and goes. Julia doesn’t know where her new talents come from, but there’s no denying that when Graham is near, her powers kick into overdrive.

But the Phoenix Society wants Graham back. They need his blood to awaken the magic they seek, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Can Julia uncover the truth behind her connection to Graham? How far will Julia go in order to save Graham and stop the Phoenixes from harnessing this powerful magic?

My Review:

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Teen--

Julia has been having strange nightmares for awhile now. She confides in her best friend Samantha, who thinks nothing of the dreams, but Julia feels like there is something more going on. When new student Clara and her brother Graham show up at the school, Julia feels a connection. When both of the new kids are now in her dreams, Julia realizes the dreams are not just dreams. There is something more about the new students, but there is also something more about Julia also.

I was not sure what the book was about when I first started reading but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in a new kind of supernatural. I feel like sometimes I am stuck in a rut reading wise, with so many books being really similar or stereotyped, but this was different from anything else I have encountered recently. I also love the mythology of the Phoenix, so I was intrigued to see how that played in the book (which was not fully addressed, but I have hope that it will be later) This was an ok read for me, it was very fast to get through so I read it in just a few sessions. I found myself engaged while I was reading the story, but when I put it down I did not find myself really thinking about the book until I picked it up to read again. Take that as you will.

I had a few issues with the story and how relationship dramas were solved so quickly. For example, Samantha the best friend turns into a real bitch (excuse my language) and does/says some awful things to Julia and herself, but it just as easily goes away. I honestly kept expecting some sort of magical reason for her attitude, like she was possessed, but that never happened. If this had been my friend, I would have held a grudge and never forgotten it, and definitely not go on a dangerous mission and tell her my darkest secrets. Maybe I’m just a jerk, but I thought that scenario was just so ridiculous and not realistic. Another issue I had was with Julia’s relationship with Graham (i found him to be a little blah, but different strokes for different folks). They were hot, then cold, then hot, and then cold, tons of mixed signals thrown around, other girls hanging around, at times being distant and cold, NO communication at all, and then they are instantly in love and each willing to sacrifice themselves for the other. It was odd and I did not feel like it progressed well, just nothing and then BAM, a hot and heavy relationship. And the fact he snuck in each night to “watch over her” and slept in her closet/office was weird, but whatever. One last issue was the end resolved so quickly! There was slow build up and tons of details throughout the book with about a waterfall date, going to coffee, studying, ceramics class, daily lunch at school, an illegal train ride that seemed to never end… Yet the battle with the secret society/cult took like 5 pages and was over. I would have liked more, but maybe a second book would cover the fast ending here.

Overall I liked the world the author created and Julia was not a bad character (regardless of me pointing out my issues with the story). The book has potential and I would like to read more in what I believe will be a series (the ending had some left over questions I would like solved).

I received this title from the publisher in return for my honest review.

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