Review – Phoenix Unbound

Phoenix Unbound book cover


Phoenix Unbound


Fallen Empire #1


Grace Draven




A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy.
Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.
But this year is different.
Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.
To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.


3.5stars rating

Hmm, this is a pretty difficult review to write actually. I absolutely love love looooove all the books the author has written and she is one of the few authors that when releasing a new book, I just auto-buy without a question.
So what was different with this book? Let’s start the review as always:


Was amazing! We got a great lay of the land and descriptions of scenes and environments were very extensive and very detailed. Actually, they were just shy of too much 🙂 So yeah, really well written.

Character development:

Was great. We really walk alongside Gilene and Azarion on their journey from captor/captive to… well, something more. Of course, it’s a very bumpy ride and nothing is taken for granted, but I really did like the way their character grew throughout the book.
The thing that bothered me a tad was that Azarion was abused mentally, physically and emotionally by the empress, though all he feels is the burning hatred and the wish to see her dead? Not only that, but he doesn’t shy away from contact with other women. I have, thankfully, never been in such a situation so I wouldn’t know how to react, but I think I would have more issues.
This book is not heavy on the romance, it’s more of a bittersweet secondary part in the story. And that was okay, just don’t think you’ll have a romance as we had in, for example, Radiance.

Pacing & Flow:

Were decent and I think this part is where I have most ‘complaints’ about. The start and end were mindblowing, seriously… Those last 20% got me glued to my kindle, it didn’t matter that it was 2 am and I had to get up early to get things done… nope, I just had to know, I had to finish it 😀
Unfortunately, everything between that start and last 20% was a tad, hmm, tedious? Don’t get me wrong, I know it was needed for the story and the changes between Gilene and Azarion to unfold, but I don’t know… it just felt too slow 🙁

The book itself:

The book itself was well written with no (noticeable) errors and yes, there is sex described in this book (if that is important to you).

Final Thoughts:

All in all, it was a good book, just not a great one. I feel that if the pacing would have been a tad faster it would have held my attention (and my heart) more.
Will I still read the next instalment? Hell yeah! Did you not read that everything from this author is an auto-buy? Plus… it has a dragon shifter! 😉