Thursday, December 20, 2018

Book Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Phoenix Unbound
Author: Grace Draven
Series: The Fallen Empire
Publication: Ace (September 25, 2018)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This is an epic fantasy set in a cruel empire. There are two main characters - Gilene and Azarion.

We meet Gilene when she is sent from her village as the annual sacrifice demanded by the Emperor. She along with many other women form other villages are destined to be burned as a sacrifice as a part of the Rite of Spring. Gilene has been sent for five years and only managed to survive because she has two magical gifts - the power of illusion and the power of fire. She manages to escape the burning each year and use her power of illusion to escape the city.

Azarion is a pit gladiator who has fought in the pits for ten years. He was betrayed by his cousin and sold into slavery. He has endured untold horrors both in the pits and at the hands of the Empress who is a cruel and vicious sadist. His ability to see through Gilene's illusions has given him the opportunity to escape his captivity and return to his home.

Azarion blackmails Gilene into helping him escape and then kidnaps her to take to his home where he needs her ability with fire to reclaim his rightful position in the Savatar. Gilene fights him every step of the way because she needs to return to her village to protect her family from harm.

Gilene and Azarion do come to love and respect each other as they go through all kinds of troubles on their way to Azarion's home and even more trouble once they arrive there. If Azarion can win back his position as the leader of his clan, he has a plan to bring down the evil empire that enslaved him.

I enjoyed this fantasy. I liked the mythology of the Savatar's fire goddess whose power Gilene manifests even though she doesn't believe in any of the gods. I liked the way that their romance grew slowly. I liked the way Gilene began to feel at home in Azarion's clan. The only thing I couldn't quite understand was Gilene's loyalty to her family and her village when neither returned her loyalty and, in fact, treated her badly.

Fans of epic fantasy and romance will enjoy this wonderful story.

Favorite Quote:
They were an odd pair, the Savatar Pit gladiator and the Beroe fire witch.

Pair. The word sent a sharp pain through her chest.

They weren't a pair and never would be. His place was here, the new ataman of Clan Kestrel. Hers was to the west in a village full of secrets, cowards, and her vulnerable family. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!