Phoenix Island

Phoenix Island - John  Dixon I was so excited to read Phoenix Island, was so prepared to love it. This is why I am sad things went so badly.

Phoenix Island is built on an interesting premiss. It didn’t start off badly and you have this feeling that something cool is on the way. This feeling dissipates almost as soon as we actually get to the island.

This is a hard one for me to review because I can’t pinpoint all the reasons as to why I didn’t like it. Unlike The Maze Runner, which I hated with a passion, the writing flows well, there are no major flaws. My qualms with this one are mostly plot-based, and a little character-based.

Firstly, I cannot not say how deeply disturbing this book is. It is one of the most violent books I have ever read – and this from a YA novel that censors swear words. I can’t stress this enough – there is so much blood and gore that I had to pause for a second and reflect on how anesthetized society is to this kind of violence that kids are handed books where no one says fuck but where vicious fights are described in detail. I dislike violence, I have big qualms with it, so this was a big issue for me.

There were certain sequences of events that were about as likely to happen as the Pope flying to Mars on a Pegasus. The whole book had a feel of a bad action movie where the hero gets shot at with bazookas and miraculously always lives. There was no real depth to soften this, even relationships between characters mostly faded into nothing, just more pawns in the game.

If Carl was a tad off at times, Octavia was downright unsettling. Of all the many disturbing aspects of the novel, I think this character was the most mentally unbalanced and the creepiest factor in the equation. Her mental processes freaked me out. I felt no empathy for her, I just felt sickened.

I didn’t connect with the characters at all. I never cared about the outcome. There were a few moment that made me think something good might have come out of it – Stark had a few, and the Island Forcers. There were a few great angles that could have made it so much more interesting, instead of generic and whitewashed.

Overall it was disappointing, just a bad action movie with less explosions and more hand-to-hand combat. It was definitely a very bad fit for me.