Friday, 22 May 2015

Bryony Pearce - Phoenix Rising - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)


Book Synopsis: Sail. Salvage. Survive. Toby's father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they've been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it. The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they're closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting - preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn't want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance? The future is in their hands.

To survive, would you join the Banshee Crew - feared and fearless - or will you ally with the Phoenix Crew - trusting or True?

Book Review: This story was like a breath of salty fresh air rolling on the briny sea. I have been waiting for a book like this all year and finally it landed. This is a swashbuckling adventure with both swagger and attitude. It was so easy to get immersed in this junk-fuelled, dystopian vision. Based around a near future setting, the story takes a look at environmental issues in a candid way. In a world full of political collapse, where fossil fuels have run out and democracy is a distant memory, the main characters set out on a quest to find renewable energy sources.

The book is aimed at a young adult audience. However, it is evident that whilst the story explores a range of serious issues, the characters still retain their playful and carefree side. It is clear that the story and the characters always remain at the core of the book; it is easy going and not too heavy. At times, it reads more like a higher-level, middle-grade read even though it is aimed at age 12 and upwards. In the main, this is due to some mild violence and perhaps a pirate curse or two. 

The book delivers some very interesting and colourful characters with strong male and female protagonists. There is Toby, the heart and the driving engine behind the Phoenix and Ayla, a feisty, no-nonsense all action-hero who is part of the Banshee crew. However, the star of the show for me is Polly the parrot; you'll love her crazy personality that gets them out of a scrape or two! 

This book has everything for me. There is steam-powered action and tense land skirmishes that leave the Phoenix and the Banshee crews with divided loyalties. The book has humour and tragedy, and explosive sea encounters (with many-a-life claimed by a timely rigging hook to the eye, a sword cut to the gut or a club bashing to the head) but these are all in a days work for the pirates at sea. 

This is a thrilling book full of action and more action. It is is the type of book to get the imagination of the young whirring; a burning cauldron of place, setting and time that will entice any young person away from their computer games. It is a cracking new series which has more to deliver in the future and I, for one, am really looking forward to it. 

                Swear your allegiance with #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew 

Published by Stripes Publishing (1 Jun. 2015)
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