Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Bryony Pearce - Phoenix Burning (Phoenix Series) Book Review

Toby and Ayla have to infiltrate a sect of sun worshippers to steal the equipment their ships need. They enter a trial to be chosen as the Sun and the Moon, a position of great honour for the sect. As the trial commences, Toby and Ayla discover the true cost of failure. But there are other young couples who are equally desperate to win...Can Toby and Ayla survive days without sleep, hours sitting in the blistering sun and a deadly maze? They'll need to work together to win - their mission depends on it...

This is the second book in the anticipated Phoenix series by Bryony Pearce, which will be published by Stripes Publishing early March 2016. We set sail once again, a month later, on another perlious voyage with Toby and the Phoenix crew, as they set course cross the junk-filled high seas into the unknown. The mission is to find an island where they can settle, but life is never that easy for the Phoenix crew, as their ship has a missing crucial component. They also have to decipher a map which reads like bizarre poetry, what could possibly go wrong?

The fun and games rise again in another action adventure romp that will superglue your fantasy imagination to every page that you read. The Banshee crew are still lurking, offering to cut a deal with the feisty Alya at the centre of the mischievous plan to steal the equipment their ships need. All of this leads to a crazy encounter on land with the sun worshippers, which is so far removed from the first book, that it feels like you are reading a standalone novel, which might be good if you fancy popping head first into this book first. 

The plot has a very brutal and dark side as the trial commences. Toby and Ayla cannot fail, as there are deadly consequences, but all the young couples are equally desperate to win ..... what will happen then? This part of the story is so captivating to read; the cruelty and the challenges that lie ahead are very creative and enjoyable to read. You will be sucked into the adventure with a keenness of an olympic swimmer where only the best couple will survive. They need to survive days without sleep, sit in the blistering sun without water and endure days without food. Never mind the daily gruelling tasks which are a battle of the mind and strength.

It was nice to dip my toes back into a good Young Adult read, as most of the books that I've recently been reading and enjoying have been middle grade stories. This filled a nice gap between the ages with a clear creative plot, quick easy dialogue and just the right amount of world building and description to get your imagination working. Once you get past the first few chapters, this is a great book to escape into. It has an exotic location and dystopian/junkpunk setting which is full of action; a high sea pirate adventure with an eco twist.  

The cryptic puzzles to solve are very cool, so much so that they might even just get your brain going. Check some of them out at the back of the book. The ending will have you hooked with the surprise twists and turns which will lead you nicely into the third book. This is a great series that I'm really enjoying reading; it is something slightly different from other mainstream books that are being published at the moment.