by Elizabeth Black
Series: Black City #2
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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.
I enjoyed Black City and Elizabeth’s Romeo and Juliet romance set against the backdrop of a dark and gritty dystopian world, so I was anxious to slip back into the series. Richards amped up the suspense, drama and delivered action-packed scenes in Phoenix the second novel. I consumed this in a single afternoon and my three world review would be: intense, dramatic, heart-stopping.
We pick up a few months after Black City ended and Purian Rose is getting ready to hold the vote for Rose’s Law. He is determined to win. He threatens Natalie’s life if Ash doesn’t vote in favor of the law. Ash has become a symbol for the movement against Rose’s Law and is referred to as the “Phoenix”. When Ash chooses to do the right thing all hell breaks loose and the tale that unfolds is fast pace, action packed and filled with romantic angst.
I struggled with Natalie and Ash a little in this book, not that they didn’t feel genuine but rather their behavior. While I understood Natalie’s behavior it still made me want to scream. She thinks she is doing the right thing but I felt she was wrong, selfish and totally wanted to rip my hair out. Ash is brave, confused, hurt, and I wanted him to just confront the issues head on. Elijah Theroux, the Bastet boy Natalie saved in her mom’s lab comes to her asking for help and offers a weapon to defeat Rose and his regime. He is an interesting character who aided them, added drama and at one point shook me to my core. Friends of Ash and Natalie are back and they make new friends as well. Each added to the overall tale. Sebastian makes appearances and ooh I loathe him. If Purian Rose doesn’t make your blood run cold I don’t think anything ever will.
The suspenseful war between the people, darklings and government was thrilling and had me turning the pages as our heroes fought against unspeakable odds. There are dark moments, sacrifices and betrayals that had my heart racing. Total five star and exceeds the story of book one, however and this is a big however the character’s romance made me totally crazy. They love each other; it’s clear to everyone and they have declared it to each other. Something happens, and it’s a tearjerker, an earth-shattering thing but secrets, whispers, jealousy and lies blow it up and there are misunderstandings, pain, sorrow and …ugh! It was frustrating and heartbreaking and eek gads people! Thankfully we get closure by the end of the book and I guess one could say the author had me full vested, rooting for them even as I wanted to slap them silly. The ending had my hear racing and loathing the idea of waiting a year for the final book.
Phoenix was emotional charged, intense tale that kept me immersed in its world. Despite my issues with the characters, Richards held me captive and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book which due out in 2014.