{Blog Tour} Review + Guest Post + Giveaway: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

As promised, here's my review of Phoenix!!!!! To read my interview with Day, go HERE! I also have a short guest post from Elizabeth about the inspiration a certain place mentioned in Phoenix. And of course, a giveaway! So let's get this ball rolling!

Phoenix (Black City, #2)
Title: Phoenix (Black City #2)
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Date of Publication: June 4, 2013

Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.

The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.

Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First, thank you so much to Elizabeth Richards and Stacey of Penguin for the ARC of Phoenix! It's so pretty and totally pet-worthy, I jumped around my house when it arrived in my doorstep. I had a freakish grin for sure then. And thank you to Kate of The Bookaholic Blurbs for hosting the #PhoenixPHTour and letting me join! Still, honesty is my policy and all you'll ever read here are my honest thoughts.

For those of you who don't know, I also joined the #BlackCityPHTour before. Sadly, I only gave Black City 3 stars. I know, that's low for Black City because fraggin' hell, Black City was amazing! I explained it in my review that I'm just allergic to instalove and that I wasn't a fan of the Evangeline storyline but I did admit that it was just me and that the world that Elizabeth Richards crafted was so rich and vivid. And you know what? Reading Phoenix has made me rethink that rating.

As I was reading Phoenix, I kept on wondering how the heck did I give Black City only three stars. I was so fully immersed in the novel that I can't stop turning the pages. I read Phoenix during a commute, all day, all night, I even brought it to the bathroom. That's how glued I was to the book. Reading Phoenix made me remember how rich the story world Elizabeth Richards has forged and breathed into life. The pages were alive, with action, conflict and romance. It felt like I was in Ash and Natalie's world. Just from the prologue, I felt like this is going to be a five-star novel for me. Elizabeth Richards describing the ant that Purian Rose saw in his balcony  during the prologue had my skin forming goosebumps from the focus on the details and the looming sense of an upcoming disaster.

Reading Phoenix was like pumping your own adrenaline to your veins. The action, the scheming, the mind games, the fighting, the burning, everything was as vivid as a film. I was certainly holding my breath a lot of times. As with Black City, there was the overarching conflict and the smaller conflicts. Phoenix did not lack in building tension and problems at all, but it also solved them along the way, which made for a very satisfying read. Well, that satisfaction came after the thrashing. Yes, I was thrashing all over our couch while reading Phoenix. Elizabeth just knows how to make you rage, how to feel pity, how to do everything just to hug a character. It was that good.

Phoenix also showed us more to the story world of the Black City series. We meet more Darklings, Lupines and Bastets and we got to learn, know and explore the other states in the United Sentry States. I would like to commend, applaud and thank Elizabeth Richards for giving us a look into the world she melded. Black City was focused in the state of Black City but with Phoenix, the rebellion has gained a stronger foothold and the whole of the United Sentry States is now in uproar. I had a kick out of reading, more like seeing, the whole picture of this rebellion. What is a great dystopian without its rebellion? Full of blood and lives lost, Phoenix gave us the uprising befitting of Purian Rose's crimes.

The characters we all know and love (or hate) made themselves all the more lovable (or despicable). I adore Natalie's compassion and her pathological need to help those in need. Of course she doesn't get her way all the time and sometimes it comes across as selfish or naive, but I appreciate how she just wants to help anybody in danger or in need. Long gone is the whiny and bratty Sentry girl and in here is the girl behind the face of the rebellion. Here is a brave lady who will fight for her family and for the rebellion. Ash, as well, rose up to the challenge and became the face of the rebellion. Not just the face but also one of the minds of the rebellion. He may have had done some decisions I didn't approve of but it was true to his character and feelings. Sebastian is the most inhumane character I have ever had the chance to know and I abhor him. I discussed this with Kazhy of My Library in the Making but I think Sebastian is way more evil than Purian Rose. Purian Rose has skewed morals and he seriously thinks that he's doing this for the greater good. But Sebastian, I despise him with every fiber of my being. We also meet new characters in Phoenix such as Elijah. Now, no spoilers but Elijah was such a sweet yet arrogant yet endearing yet sleazy character. I really enjoyed reading and getting to know him and I appreciate his back story. We know that Ash and Natalie are bloodmates and that their love for each other will never abate but it was a good call to put someone who can change that up, even though he's not really a threat. Elijah was refreshing to read.

Now, I discussed about the story world, the conflict, the descriptions and the characters. Let's get to the romance. Oh, the romance. I know I didn't like Ash and Natalie's instalove at Black City but with them already together by Phoenix, I didn't mind it at all. The scenes were steamy but totally acceptable for the young adult genre. We all know that Ash is hot (doesn't help I picture him as Ezra Miller) and with the very vivid descriptions and storytelling, I just have to say that I had to fan myself at times. The steaminess was appreciated but more than that, I love how Ash and Natalie's relationship hit a few setbacks but that they just love each other so much that they eventually get back on track. It just made me feel that somewhere out there, I also have a bloodmate that will love me as much. Okay, I was kidding about the bloodmate, that's freaky, but you get the point. Their love was awe-inspiring in how much they care for each other, how much they want to protect each other, in how much they are willing to sacrifice and get over anything just for the other. Their love was so consuming and I was pretty much engulfed by the flames of their love.

Adrenaline-rushing action, thrash-inducing conflicts, visual and lifelike descriptions, romance that is equally sweet and steamy, Phoenix is the perfect sequel to Black City. True to Elizabeth Richards fashion, Phoenix will want you to hack her computer and read the third book right after. I highly recommend the Black City series to all fans of the dystopian genre!

Guest Post

Elizabeth shares the locations that inspired Cinder Street in PHOENIX, where Natalie and her sister, Polly, live with Day’s family.

“I stroll through the Rise, the poorest district in the city, and turn down Cinder Street—a narrow alleyway wedged between rows of tightly packed Cinderstone buildings … I head toward a small house at the end of the lane and dart around the back of the one-story building.”

from PHOENIX pages 3 and 5

[Photo: Liamssoft, creative commons license]

“Newman Passage in Westminster, London, was the inspiration behind Cinder Street, where a dramatic event occurs in PHOENIX. A lot of the streets in Black City were based on real places in London.”

About Elizabeth Richards

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist, who spent her early career reviewing videogames before making the bold (or crazy) move into travel writing, despite suffering from terrible travel sickness.

In her spare time, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls, where she got to interview many of her favourite bands, go to gigs and basically blag loads of free swag all in the name of ‘research’.

Elizabeth lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with her husband. Black City is her debut novel.


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  1. Ooh, I love that places in the book were based on real places in London. I may have to hunt a few of these sites down!


    1. Go follow the tour as Elizabeth shares tons of places where the book was based! Thanks for dropping by, Sarah! :)

  2. I love books that base the locations in their book on real locations. Gives you something to look up and a little bit of insight as to what the author was picturing while writing :) Can't wait to read Phoenix!!!!

    1. I love how visual the Black City series gets, with the descriptions and the actual inspirations. Just makes it more real for me. Thanks for dropping by, Rachel! :)

  3. Great review, Dianne! I haven't actually read Black City yet. I think I tries a few pages and didn't like it as much, but I guess I should give it a second chance =P I'm always a sucker for insanely awesome world building. I'll just be wary of the insta love and that's it.

    Faye @ The Social Potato Reviews

    1. You should definitely read it! Yes, be wary of the instalove but seriously, the world alone of the Black City is worth reading. Thanks for dropping by, Faye! :D

  4. I love this book so much! I was extremely happy when Elizabeth Richards sent me review copies cause if she haven't I wouldn't have discovered these gems. NBS is the only bookstore here in my place, well there are others like Booksale, Libro and whatnot, and unfortunately they don't have books that I badly want to read, including Black City and Phoenix. And my mom would probably strangle me if I'll order online, again.-___-

    Great review Dianne! I know how you feel about Ash and Natalie's intsa-love during the first book and on how you didn't mind them being together in Phoenix. I'm really anxious to read the third book! Have you heard any news as to when it will be released? or what's its title? :)

    1. Hi Mae! Where do you live? Well, I live close to Manila but my problem with books is money. It's hard not to be rich when you're obsessed with books! Especially here in the Philippines where there are no libraries to borrow books from.

      Thank you for your kind words! And I'm kind of happy I'm not the only one who didn't like their instalove in Black City but who loved Phoenix so much. Elizabeth said she's writing and revising book 3 right now but as far as I know, the title isn't announced yet. I KNOW I CAN'T FREAKIN' WAIT FOR BOOK 3. This is definitely a series I never thought I would love THIS MUCH.

      Thanks for dropping by, Mae! <3

  5. Eeeep! I just can't wait for the 3rd book. The ending of Phoenix is such a cliffhanger! >.<

  6. I'd adore a chance to reads this book ! it looks super good ! fingers crossed- Genevieve S

  7. I would love to read these books! I have never been to London, so I have to live through my books to know what it is like.

  8. I love this series, I can't wait to read Phoenix. All the pictures on the Blog tour make me want to go to London.

  9. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity! I love being introduced to new books and authors!

  10. Thank you for this giveaway! I love both books and can't wait to find out what happens in the third book.


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