The Phoenix Cycle Review

The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.

Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edinburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.

For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?

This novel reminds me of 1984, if it was written today rather than in 1940. It transports reader into a new world where the government tells the citizens how to act, and even tells them which emotions that they should feel. The “Inner Circle”/Party rules the city, but even they do not live easy lives. Everyone must work to support the government, and virtual reality is the only escape that some people participate in. Steve wants to be a part of the revolutionary army but the stakes are high and he must complete his mission and let the people know that they do not have to live in this way.

My only complaint about this book was that it was slow, but at the same time too fast. I will explain. It was slow to introduce the characters. It took me a while to actually realize who was who, distinguish character traits, and even start getting into the story. However, it was too fast in the storytelling. I was still trying to catch up, figure out who was who, and start learning about the characters. As the story flew from scene to scene, without the character connection, I felt confused.

However, this book did have its many perks. Once I started to connect with the characters, the rest of the novel went smoothly. The world-building was great, and I could almost visualize some of the scenes. There were no editing errors that I could notice, and there weren’t a lot of major or minor plot holes.

I would recommend this novel to readers who enjoy science fiction novels.

Overall Rating: 3/5

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