The future that Toby lives in is the earth after the eruption of Yellowstone’s super volcano, but not immediately. Those who live now have survived through the days of darkness and the ash clouds have cleared, leaving behind a harsh environment. The seas are acidic and overflowing with junk, with only the most hardy sea life surviving and the sunlight blinding.
The world-building is well thought out and didn’t jar at any point. However we only see a limited view of this world from Toby’s stand point. I was a little confused with the political situation; the back story is introduced at the start with a series of news clippings that piqued my interest but are never expanded upon.
Whilst the story follows Toby, there’s a great mix of male and female pirates and a girl that certainly doesn’t need rescuing, at least not in the traditional sense. Ayla is around Toby’s age but is second in command on her ship. She is the fighter, the one hardened to emotions and he is the one full of compassion, but a bit clueless.
Phoenix Rising is aimed at the younger end of the teen market, and I think it’s a great pirate adventure for younger readers, but one that was a little lacking in complexity for my personal taste. Toby is a bit naïve and has lived a sheltered life, despite living aboard a pirate ship and it makes him come across as a simple character.
The Captain’s advance artificial intelligence has been installed into a robotic parrot, but one made to look real so she is easily kept a secret. It’s a great ruse and had potential but there’s a point were Barnaby tells Polly (the parrot of course) that she’s supposed to predict Toby’s actions. Yet she isn’t really in a position to do anything other than tell him to be careful all the time. Was she supposed to be a mother figure to him?
Phoenix Rising is published by Stripes and will be available in paperback from 1st June 2015. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.