The Phoenix King

Orbit. (The Ravence Trilogy, Bk. 1). Aug. 2023. 512p. ISBN 9780316522779. pap. $18.99. FANTASY
DEBUT This epic sci-fi fantasy debut (originally self-published as The Boy with Fire) follows multiple characters, each of them willing to face the flames for their own ambitions and regrets. Yassen the notorious assassin, longing for home and redemption, defects from the bloodthirsty Arohassin. Princess Elena is desperate to be worthy of the Eternal Fire but can’t harness the power of her lineage. King Leo clashes with old religion to protect his kingdom and his daughter despite an ominous prophecy. And a threat looms over them all—that their vengeful gods will rise again. In this novel heavily influenced by Indian lore, the glories of a lively desert landscape come to life in a world that is somehow both ancient and futuristic. The worldbuilding is seamlessly woven into the plot, alongside the threads of love, sacrifice, betrayal, and greed. There’s also a dash of enemies-to-lovers romance among the morally gray characters, who are both heartbreaking and inspiring.
VERDICT This is elegant and intelligent storytelling that starts out as conniving and treacherous intrigue and transforms into an exhilarating adventure without losing that touch of mystery. Perfect for fans of S.A. Chakraborty.
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