Thank you so much to Bloomsbury YA and Netgalley for letting me read an e-ARC of Phoenix Flame by Sara Holland! I read Havenfall last year and I loved it, so I was really excited about reading the sequel/ending of the duology. Unfortunately, while I thought that Phoenix Flame was fine, I don’t think it quite lived up to the high standards that Havenfall set (which, let’s be real, happened with Sara Holland’s other duology too- I loved Everless but I didn’t like Evermore very much).
Phoenix Flame 3/5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads:
Maddie thought her problems were over. She saved the Inn at Havenfall—a sanctuary between magical worlds—from the evil Silver Prince. Her uncle the Innkeeper is recovering from a mysterious spell that left him not quite human. And there are still a few weeks of summer left to spend with her more-than-friend Brekken.
But there’s more work to be done to protect the Inn—Maddie must put an end to the black-market trading of magical objects and open the Inn’s doors to the once feared land of shapeshifters.
As she tries to accomplish both seemingly impossible tasks, Maddie uncovers secrets that could change everything. What if saving everyone means destroying the only home she’s known?
Let’s start by talking about the things I enjoyed about the book. The cover is gorgeous- I loved both the Havenfall and the Phoenix Flame covers and I think they both go really well together and are super striking apart as well. The colors on Phoenix Flame are incredible. In the actual book, I liked how the plot moved pretty fast, so it wasn’t like you were ever waiting for things to happen. It was also a really quick and easy read, which is super nice sometimes. The whole idea of phoenix flame armor was really cool and I loved that Maddie was able to travel into other realms in this book. I still really enjoyed the world building and I think if there were more books set in this world, maybe from someone else’s point of view, about ending the soul silver trade and how all of that happens, I would definitely read them.
Now for the things that I didn’t like- I felt like there were so many plot threads that were introduced and then not fully explored in a way that felt like things made sense. Things sometimes just felt thrown together and tied with a bow. Maddie annoyed me so much and was so self centered throughout so much of the book- she was so angry with Brekken for not caring about her and her feelings, but did she once even think about him and his feelings? Did she once even ask herself about how he might be, not knowing how his mother was or if she faced any consequences for helping them? And then all the stuff with Taya and that half formed love triangle- if it’s going to be a love triangle, put in some more tension from all parties. If not, don’t put in hints where there don’t need to be hints!
Overall, I’m glad I read Phoenix Flame, because I did love the world building and the general storyline, even if our main character got on my nerves pretty often. I’d definitely recommend reading it if you read and liked Havenfall because it was nice to finish the story and see what happens to the Silver Prince and everyone else- just don’t go in with any expectations. Phoenix Flame comes out on March 2nd, so check it out then!