The Phoenix Shadow is another enjoyable page-turner in M.H. Soars’s YA paranormal romance series, The Arcadian Wars. Like it’s predecessor, The Prophesy of Arcadia, this book is filled with action, mystery, romantic tension and a fair bit of humour. But beware, readers will need a high cheese-factor threshold to get through some of the scenes in this book.
The Phoenix Shadow picks up right where The Prophecy of Arcadia left off – Matthew has recovered his memories of that fateful trip our favourite aliens took to Arcadia as children, Alexia is still missing after taking of following the dropping of a major bombshell in the previous book, and the dangers surrounding the Big A drug and the Mysserian threat are still at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
There are some new kids in town in the form of Durgin’s elite group of soldiers, the Nox Elite, as well as another threat, which we learn of through a prologue told from Durgin’s point of view.
And then there’s Julian – who everyone but Sam seems to know is creepy.
It’s a tangled web full of tension and we’re all just waiting for it to blow. And it does. Multiple times. As lies are unraveled and secrets revealed the reader is dealt one shock after another, until it finally culminates in the revelation we are all waiting for – what does Matt remember that is so horrible? We have to wait until the final pages to find out, and before we have time to let the knowledge sink in, Soars strikes again with another merciless cliffhanger.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. There were moments where I found myself incredibly frustrated with Sam – who I’d come to love and respect in the first book, but now seems to have lost a lot of her spunk – and also moments where I found myself rolling my eyes and, indeed, almost gagging. Perhaps It’s my age – this is written for younger audiences, after all – but I found two seventeen year-olds declaring each other to be their stars, sky, world, moon, air they breathe etc. a little overdone. I know they’re soul mates and all, but they’re still just kids.
Those frustrations aside, though, I flew through the book in a matter of hours and, in the end, found myself wishing it would keep going. As many questions as were answered in this book, more were raised, and we’ll have to wait for the next installment for the answers.
Thanks to M. H. Soars for providing a review copy of this book.
reviewed by Ash Bye