Format: E-Galley, 298 pages
Release Date: October 12, 2015
Source: The Fantastic Flying Book Club
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
A paranormal debut about a high school senior who finds herself in a fight with a secret society for control of ancient magic.
Julia never believed in magic.
Julia Long is starting her senior year with an extra dose of crazy. The dreams of cultish, bloody rituals are weird enough, but the victim in her lifelike dreams is her new classmate, Southern charmer Graham.
Graham admits he was a Phoenix — part of a centuries old secret society — but swears he left it all behind. As Julia works with Graham to figure out why she is dreaming about his past, she's discovering she has other abilities. She heals Graham’s migraines with a touch, and there’s her superhuman strength that comes and goes. Julia doesn’t know where her new talents come from, but there’s no denying that when Graham is near, her powers kick into overdrive.
But the Phoenix Society wants Graham back. They need his blood to awaken the magic they seek, and they'll do whatever it takes to get it. Can Julia uncover the truth behind her connection to Graham? How far will Julia go in order to save Graham and stop the Phoenixes from harnessing this powerful magic?
"Your life is about to change in ways you can't imagine"
Phoenix Awakens is the first installment in Eliza Nolan's The Phoenix series. 17-year old Julia Long has been having disturbing dreams and she doesn't have any clue of what they mean, nor why she appears at specific points in a certain event. The dreams always seem to be set against the backdrop of some sort of swamp with an initiation of sorts taking place.
But, it isn't until she meets the new guy to her school, Graham and his sister Clara, that she puts the name to the face that has been haunting her dreams. (She also see's other faces, including Clara, but let's move on.) Graham and Clara left South Carolina behind because Graham and four others got themselves involved in a society called Phoenix. Graham wanted nothing more to do with them or their goals.
But, Graham claiming that he's put the group behind him, and is ready to move on doesn't make it so. If only it were that easy we wouldn't need an entire book. We wouldn't need Julia catching a train in an attempt to save Graham from the big baddies. We wouldn't need to know about her best friend Samantha acting out and leaving Julia behind.
Everything, and I mean everything is connected in this story. Graham and Julia and why she is dreaming about his past. Julia's pendant from her mother that she wears called the "Kamin." Her own mother's abandoning the family a year after she was born, and her father's secrecy in not telling Julia the truth about the past. To having her own spirit guide who is not all that impressed with Julia's lack of understanding of why things are happening to her.
Julia and Graham work together to figure out why she is dreaming about his past and why the Phoenix's won't leave Graham alone. While wearing the pendant, Julia has some surprising abilities from healing migraines with a touch, to protecting a friend from hobos who try to steal their baggage. Where does all this power come from?
One of the things that readers should note when reading this book, is that each chapter starts out with Julia having one of her dreams. It leads to hints as to who Julia is actually seeing. The dreams are a bit on the dark side, but not enough to warn anyone away from reading the book. Julia's dreams end when certain things happen to different people in the dreams.
I will say that Phoenix Awakens is a pretty predicable story but without the love triangle that irritates and causes my hair to turn even greyer than it already is. I could have avoided the whole Samantha issue. I think it took on a mind of its own, and threw Julia off her own impending perils. I totally understand that this is intended for a younger audience than. I understand that there will be High School shenanigans, and angst, and silliness that can't fully be avoided. Let's hope book # 2 buries these parts in the sand.
**I received this book for free from (Publisher) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
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Eliza Nolan was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for a few years, after which she returned to icy Minnesota - where she now lives with her two unruly cats in a house smaller than your closet.
She is an avid reader and writer of YA. She has ghostwritten a novel or two, but also writes her own stuff, and is finally publishing her debut young adult urban fantasy novel, Phoenix Awakens.