Author: Lisa Morgan
Series: Maggie Henning & The Realm Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Phoenix
Pages: 379 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Blurb: (via Goodreads)Maggie has lived the last ten years with a woman who isn't her mother and carrying the label "Daughter of John Henning", a man sentenced to live out his days at Sunnyview Psychiatric Hospital after his conviction of fire bombing a church...
and killing the 8 people inside.
What Maggie learns will change her life.
She is the last of a race of creatures known as "The Phoenix", a race of supernatural beings with the ability to wield and control fire.
And she will need that power now...
Revenants- walking, living, skeletal creatures who have waged a war against an unseen, parallel world known simply as The Realm- need Maggie's blood to bring them to a full power...a power that will give them an unbeatable edge and offer the deciding weapon in this war.
Maggie is not alone as she learns not only what she really is, but what it is her destiny to become..
The book I'll be reviewing today is Phoenix Rising by Lisa Morgan with a short paragraph mentioning the second book Phoenix Burning at the end of the post. So lets get to it.
I had great hopes for this book. It was about a PHOENIX! How many fantasy novels, with the exception of brief scenes in Harry Potter, have you read with a Phoenix? And not the bird kind either. A living breathing human-like being that bursts into flames with different emotions. To say I set the standards a little high for this one is an understatement. Unfortunately, I set them a little too high, because the book turned out to be the usual, 'girl finds out that she isn't human, introduced into a new magical world where she find her life isn't as black and white as she though it was, get in the middle of a love triangle, and discover your powers so you can defeat the big bad guy before everyone in the Realm dies' kind of story. Obviously, there was a lot more to it than that though.
I will give credit where credit is due. Given such a huge cliche, Lisa Morgan did a fantastic job of trying to make it her own. If the story was 100% new and unique, I would be jumping up and down right now, barely able to contain the joy of the story. The characters were hilarious, especially the main character. With a lot of books like this that I read, the biggest mistake I see is the author adapting the main character too quickly. All throughout the first, and even the second novel, Lisa Morgan writes Maggie (the Phoenix) as a completely relatable character. You can understand and feel her reactions, because they make sense. She is this girl who has been ripped away from everything she has known to be true and told all these people are after her because she is this great and rare being. That would be scary as hell, and Lisa Morgan writes Maggie in exactly that way.
The biggest flaw with the story, other than its cliche story plot, was the fact that once she leaves her 'normal' life, you never see the characters again. They are briefly mentioned in areas in the book... but there is no contact from them what so ever. I hear that Lisa Morgan wrote a novella telling the story of Stephanie, Maggie's best friend... but I have yet to read it. I would have liked to see them a little more in the story. Additionally, she adapts to her new life, ridiculously fast.
Now, saying all of that... this book also contained one of the most emotional, tear jerking scenes I have ever read (near the end of the book) that had me reaching for tissue after tissue. It was beautifully written and gave me something to look forward to in the sequel. For all these reasons, I give Book One in the series 3.5 stars. That tear jerking scene boosted it a star. Not the best book I've read, and definitely not the most original, but a great piece of teen fantasy fiction that Lisa Morgan made her own.
**ABOUT BOOK 2**
As promised, a brief mention of Book Two in Maggie's adventure, Phoenix Burns. I have to say, Book 2 was exactly what I hoped it would be on so many levels. It had adventure, and revealed so much in Maggie hat I simple fell in love with her character.. but it wasn't only her. You get so much more in depth with Luc, you get to read scenes from his point of view and get to look inside his inner psyche and fall in love with him even more! Not to mention that we get to find out more about the Prince's past... both of them. And we get to learn a few things about Maggie's mother... but not nearly enough if you as me ;) I give it a good 9.2/10. It was definitely a step up from its first book.