Friday, October 19, 2018

Phoenix Unbound (Review)

A woman with power over fire and illusion and the enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.
Phonex Unbound
Fallen Empire #1
Grace Draven
Pub Date: 9/25/18
Ace Books
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Rating: 4/5
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The first novel of the Fallen Empire series is fascinating! Grace Draven's storytelling is intoxicating and compelling. The characters have depth that pulls you in with the need to see what motivates them or pushes them to make grave sacrifices. Phoenix Unbound is one of those stories that slowly builds up to something completely epic and memorable.

Gilene turned out to be such a beautiful character. She was a bit standoffish and aggressive in the beginning, but once removed from the oppressive duties of her hometown she flourished. Azarion escaped from the clutches of the Empire with Gilene's help, but it takes all of his own strength to reclaim his leadership role in his clan. I actually like that their relationship isn't rainbows and sunshine from the start. It makes seeing its development from hostile to friendly more substantial and believable. The threat of the empire hangs over their shoulders throughout the novel, but its infamous leaders don't get much page time. It was easy to forget the threat unless you paid attention to the state of the common people Gilene and Azarion came across between their escape and journey to Azarion's birth home. The ruler's greed and injustices keep the characters pushing towards their goals and make readers wonder how they're going to stand up to their oppressors.

I'm so eager to see the rest of the world created in Phoenix Unbound unfold in the series. It's been a while since I've read a fantasy novel like this and I want to soak it up! This is the novel to read if you're a fan of Sandy Williams or Ilona Andrews!
*ARC provided via First to Read*

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