Hello everyone!! Happy Friday!!
I’m back on track after tons of school exams and an impromptu trip to Argentina. Today I’m reviewing Phoenix, the latest installment in the Bellator Saga by Cecilia London.
I’m going old school with this one, without graphics or teasers because I have so many feelings to share!!
One epic love. Two wounded souls. Three impossible words.
Ripped away from each other by circumstances beyond their control. Reunited in a place they never expected. Separated but never quite apart.
“You’re still the only woman I see. The only woman I need. I know you’re in there somewhere, sweet Caroline. We’re going to find you and we’re going to help you, until you come home to me where you belong. Then we’re going to finish what we started. Together.”
Her confidence shattered, Caroline finally starts to deal with what happened at The Fed. Jack is determined to convince her that she’s more than she thinks she is. That she wasn’t destroyed by her experiences. That their relationship is worth the fight. But will he give up before it’s too late?
Phoenix is the fourth installment in The Bellator Saga. It should be read after the first three novels in the series.
MY RATING: 4 Beastly Stars
Warning: This review is spoiler free, but it might contain minor spoilers from the previous books, if you haven’t read them.
***ARC received in exchange of an honest review***
By now you MUST know how much I’ve praised The Bellator Saga and how it’s sitting at one of my favorite series. The story Cecilia London created is both fresh and edgy and you can’t help wanting more to know what will happen next.
In that sense Phoenix, the 4th book in the series, is not different. But from the four books released so far it is the most different from the others. The story takes a turn and the focus is changed and I was anxiously waiting for that. Not because I wasn’t enjoying how it was going, because obviously I was. But because I wanted to see what was happening to the world (and let’s not be fake, I mean what was happening to JACK <3) while Caroline underwent imprisonment, torture and a whole new life.
People in this “New America” are not the same, so we can’t expect Jack and Caroline to be. And let me tell you, they are different. So different that I dare you to like Caroline in this book, at least in the first part of it. But the book is meant to be that way. When an author makes you hate a character you love for the right reasons it’s a powerful thing to read. Jack is not the same either, but out of the two, the biggest change is in Caroline. I cut her a HUGE slack because after all she went through she was bound to, not only be a bit screwed in the head, but to have become someone darker and even bitter sometimes.
I guarantee you will want to punch her a lot of times for treating Jack like she does, but then you will also realize what is going on in her head. Or at least start to realize that. What about Jack? Jack is…well, he is perfect. There’s no other way to put it. And sexy as hell as the Commander. But he is also broken. Not as much as Caroline (again, who could be??), but enough to let us see a vulnerable side of him we haven’t seen before. And we also get to see other sides of who he was back then. Sides we didn’t imagine. The ammount of angst Cecilia brought to the story in the conflict and tension between Jack and Caroline (not only sexual tension, but tension in every way) make him the start of this book foe me. Not that Caroline is a supporting character, but in Phoenix it’s time we see a bit more of the other characters present other than Caroline. She is still very much important to the story, but I feel like Jack had a more leading part here. Not because he appears more (he doesn’t, the book is all about both of them), but because of the feelings he brought to the story.
Cecilia, very generously, let her leading lady stay in the shadows (and sometimes even be the “bad” guy) so Jack could shine. Yes, for me Jack is the star. But Caroline isn’t far behind. I love characters that aren’t one-dimensional.mand let me tell you, Caroline has so many dimensions she’ll blow your mind. When you think you know what’s going on in her head she goes and surprises you. I LOVED how Dissident was about them falling in love, how Cecilia gave us the flashbacks that showed them meeting and falling in love and how life was in the Before time. But now I also love how different they are, because it means they get to discover who thy have become. But it won’t be an easy feature. Caroline is like a feral animal, afraid to show her vulnerability so she isn’t willing to compromise. Plus she has a lot to work on. But Jack is the perfect counter part for that. He gives as good as he gets and he is not one to coddle. Jack, I feel your frustration, man! But I have to belive it will all be worth i the end.
But the book doesn’t have only Jack. We have Caroline’s band of misfit allies that fit perfectly with her. And we are introduced to a new character that soon became one of my favorites. Natalie. She is a doctor and a big friend to Jack and Caroline, even thought she doesn’t see it in the beginning. Natalie for me is the voice of conscience in this book. Almost like she is the Jiminy Cricket of the book. She is the one that grounds our favorite characters. And they need that. There are a lot of things, even from the past, that neither of them knew they had to work on and Natalie is the one to help them. I admit I was a bit jealous of her in the beginning. I even PMed Cecilia when she first appeared, but she grew a LOT on me.
The series needed this book now. And Cecilia inserted this story in a perfect timing. We needed a book about the characters and how they are coping and how they interact with each other now that everything is so different. The whole fight for America and against Santos is there, as it ought to be, but that is the real supporting characters in Phoenix for me. Not that I don’t like that side of the story. I do and I want badly to see what will happen. I can’t wait for the next book , I have a feeling it’ll be packed in action.
In some senses Phoenix is maybe one of my favorite books in the series. You might think it isn’t as powerful as the others, specially Dissident and Conscience. But I disagree. Phoenix has a silent power to it, it’s there, but it’s something a bit more hidden. Its power relay on the characters and how they are dealing with this messed up life they were dealt instead of in the actual story. And that is one of my favorite things about Phoenix. For me a good book is a mix of good writing, good plot and great characters. If you have weak characters, no matter how good the writing or story it won’t hold. And Cecilia’s characters are incredbly powerful.
But in some other senses Phoenix is my least favorite. Not enough to dislike it, because I didn’t. But enough that it is a 4 stars book and not a 5 (which for me is not a bad thing. A powerful 4 stars reading can saty with us longer than a 5 sometimes). But I wouldn’t stay true to myself if I rated it 5 with it having a few things that “bothered” me. These things aren’t enough to dislike the book, but for me something was missing. A couple of scenes I won’t tell you so I don’t spoil the story for you, scenes I think are important, were a tad too rushed for me. I understand this is Cecilia’s book and it’s her vision and the story should be as she sees it, but for me, some scenes could have been handled a bit more different or have had a bit more in them. You see, I have no problem with the story, for me it’s perfect. But for me, as a reader, some things could have been done a bit differently (and I don’t mean a change in the story, just how some things were written) to help the continuity of the story, to help some things flow better. Those are tecnical issues of mine that I could overlook (and overal I did, because I really like this book), but that I can’t overlook entirely because they made me not feel enough in scenes I would have liked to feel more.
But please don’t get me wrong, this book will make you FEEL! The feelings it will bring to you will come, not like a wrecking ball as Miley would say, but they’ll come like a train so fast that it’ll not only hit you, but will take you to places you could never imagine. The angst. The love. There’s no way to describe feelings like these. I think it’s the one that have made me feel the most in some ways.
Funny thing is I know a lot of people might be wanting to stab Cecilia for the ending, but I don’t. See how much of a big paradox I can be as a reader? LOL. I mean, we had some BAD cliffies, specially with Dissident and Conscience. Now, don’t go saying this is a spoiler. This is a series and they are not standalones, so obviously the story isn’t finished (there are two more books coming), but I sort of knew something like that would happen. I’m not dying over it, but I’m anxious in a whole different way, because I realy can’t wait to see what Caroline is up to! But I can wait. Because waiting for a new book in the Beallator Saga is ALWAYS worth it when we read it. Cecilia always deliver a gripping story, full of angst and all these feelings. So I’m here anxiously waiting for the next installment, because being surprised by Cecilia is as much part of the story as Caroline and Jack and I guarantee this seeies is a story you will never forget and that will keep you on the edge of your sit and bring you something different and fresh in every book!
Oh, and before you start having some ideas…Jack is MINE. MIIIIIIINE. I have the name to prove it! 😉