Thank you so much to NetGalley, 47North and Chuck Grossart to letting me review this before being published!
It’s actually rather rare that I sit and finish a book in one sitting. I usually take my time, unless I really can’t help it. The Phoenix Descent was definitely one of those books that I couldn’t put down. I was even reading while cooking dinner. Chuck Grossart’s writing was immersive and gripping, and the quick pace of the plot meant my Kindle was basically glued to my hand for the day.
I’m always wary of books that alternate between two characters. I like getting stuck into one narrative and character. But in this case, we flowed between Sif, an astronaut going to Mars, and Litsa, a warrior on the ground fighting the realities of the apocalypse. The (generally) alternating chapters left cliffhangers at each ending, making me want to read on more and more. The fast paced narrative style and the alternating focus left me thinking ‘just one more chapter’.
But what stood out most in this book was the strong female characters. It’s rare nowadays to see female protagonists outside YA novels, yet Grossart gave us two strong women who didn’t need a guy. There was barely a hint of romance throughout the whole novel (a few mentions here and there that can be interpreted either way), and that was so refreshing. I’m tired of science-fiction and dystopian plots almost being overshadowed by the need for romance and love. I just want some good old classic alien invasion (not quite the case here), and maybe some military strategy.
I’m not going to lie, part of the plot (especially the big reveal at the end) was rather predictable, but that’s probably down to me reading too many dystopian novels. While the plot wasn’t the newest concept to grace the shelves, the focus on strong female characters that ‘don’t need no man’ and the cohesive and immersive writing style left me love The Phoenix Descent.
It’s not everyday I give 5 stars to science-fiction and dystopian novels. The majority of it nowadays follows the same typical pattern. Grossart gives a breath of fresh air to a dystopia, that typically struggles with representation, and science fiction, a genre that is increasingly become deep and lengthy in order to get a step ahead of the others.
THINGS I LOVED: strong women, fast pace, kind of reminded me of Day of the Triffids
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE: slightly predictable
P.S. Chuck Grossart also tweeted me when I discussed reading it/rating it 5 stars on Twitter! Was very surprised and he was very polite and nice!