Publisher: Baen Books
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Source: Received in exchange for an honest review
Kyri Vantage’s parents were murdered – by forces unknown but powerful. Her brother Rion was killed five years later, when he seemed on the verge of learning what had happened that night, even though he was an agent of Myrionar, God of Justice and Vengeance. And when Kyri herself discovered the truth, she became the only chance for her family to see justice done – and the last, fragile hope for a dying god.
But that was only one of the disasters facing Zarathan, as the world began to be enveloped in treachery and war, and two others took their own paths which would eventually collide with hers: Tobimar Silverun, Seventh Prince of Skysand, exiled on the turn of a card and a prophecy, seeking a homeland lost to evil and time; and Poplock Duckweed, an unlikely hero whose diminuitive size was as much weapon as it was weakness. As rulers are murdered and countries beseiged, three stories converge into a single confrontation which may determine the fate of Zarathan itself.
I’m really glad I had the opportunity to read “Phoenix Rising” as it was a highly enjoyable read. I had never heard of the author or the book before and starting a book you know next to nothing about is always a bit of a jump in the dark. The first few chapters, though a good introduction to the rest of the story, were a bit tough because the customs and magic in this elaborate world the author created are really complex and detailed. But throughout the book we get to know the different sorts of magic and religions a bit better and the reading experience gets a lot more comfortable while the story progresses. It’s actually quite impressive how imaginative, original en elaborate the author made his world. Ryk E. Spoor has also created a wide variety of characters that bring an exotic touch and interesting diversity to the story.
The people who have been following my blog for a while will know that I love a Fantasy tale about a quest. I was therefore really excited when I noticed this story revolved around several quests: definitely my cup of tea! This mixed with an intriguing magical system, vengeance, ancient creatures, evil and horrifying enemies, corruption and secrets is definitely a recipe for a wonderful Fantasy story.
The characters were so-so, Kyri and Tobimar were OK, but didn’t pull me in as much as Poplock did. Poplock Duckweed is one of the most surprising and funny characters I’ve ever read about. The first chapter where Poplock takes center stage we don’t immediately know what he is. With all the interesting characters in this story he could be anything. But I was so surprised when I found out what he was I actually told my mum about it. He is a most unusual hero, but very entertaining to read about!
The writing is very compelling and easy to read. There are just some minor remarks I had: the names the author chose were sometimes a bit too difficult. I understand this was a conscious decision on some occasions but I don’t even try to read those names. It puts a kink in the reading experience and I just skip them whenever they get too hard. On the other hand, it gives a good example of the differences between the several populations and their languages and customs, so a bit of a dilemma there.
Also, and this is something I’ve been seeing a lot lately, there are a lot of italics in this book. Some of them are necessary, like when we’re listening to what some of the characters are thinking. But if it’s to emphasize certain words I don’t think that’s always necessary, I like to put my own emphasis on words while reading and being forced to do it really irritates me sometimes. Luckily it wasn’t that big of a problem here, just sporadically it could have been a bit less.
I absolutely enjoyed “Phoenix Rising”, it was an entertaining, elaborate and complex story with a strong backbone and a lot of action, magic and cultural diversity. I’d recommend it to any Young Adult or Adult with a love for Sword and Sorcery and quests.