Phoenix: A Black City Novel

( 1 )


The extraordinary sequel to Black City, for fans of the Legend trilogy

Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp, or Natalie will be killed. At first, the decision is clear, but can Ash ...

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Phoenix (Black City Chronicles Series #2)

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The extraordinary sequel to Black City, for fans of the Legend trilogy

Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp, or Natalie will be killed. At first, the decision is clear, but can Ash really risk the lives of millions of Darklings to save the one he loves?

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Editorial Reviews

"Ash and Natalie are strong, clever, and determined to prevail. The ongoing struggle between good and bad is delineated with heart-thumping action and strong plotting. A cliff-hanger ending will have fans eager for the next installment."—Booklist
Library Media Connection
"The mix of other races, politics, war, and biological weapons keeps Ash and Natalie on the run. Those they think they know may turn on them and grave misunderstandings threaten to keep them apart."—Library Media Connection, Recommended Review
VOYA - Sean Rapacki
Every reader has pet peeves, and this reviewer's is the narrative device "the terrible secret." This plot device revolves around one character having a secret so awful that they cannot share it with the character to whom they are closest, causing them to act in such a way that both characters become enmeshed in a misunderstanding that nearly tears them apart until the protracted-yet-inevitable moment when the truth finally comes out. For a good deal of this sequel, "the terrible secret" rules are in effect: Natalie realizes she is infected with a deadly disease known as the Wrath but decides to keep it secret from her fiance, Ash, because the revelation would be too crushing for him. Needless to say, her failure to share the information leads to misunderstandings and bad feelings between them that seem like a frustrating and unnecessary distraction from an otherwise exciting and compelling plot. The revolution begun in Black City (Putnam, 2012/Voya December 2012) is in full effect, and both sides are taking their gloves off. There are torture and terrorism competing with the romance this time around, plus a new human-animal hybrid species called lupines that represents a particularly nasty variation on Team Jacob. Probably the least satisfying aspect of this mash-up of supernatural romance and dystopian fiction in terms of writing quality is the romance, but as with the first book in the series, the rest of the plot will have readers quickly turning pages. This reviewer will no doubt be back to see where the tale goes next. Reviewer: Sean Rapacki
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this follow-up to Black City (Putnam, 2012), half-Darkling Ash and human Natalie continue to pursue their forbidden romance while fighting totalitarian ruler Purian Rose. In a dystopia newly revealed as an alternate North America, Ash has become a walking symbol for unity, and each side has acquired new allies: the wolflike Lupines sniff out Rose's enemies while the feline Bastets join the resistance. After a rigged vote gives Rose a mandate for racial segregation, Ash and Natalie set off to find a hidden biological weapon. Jealousy soon erupts when Ash suspects Natalie of cheating on him with their new companion, Bastet Elijah. The writing is sloppy, details are inconsistent or unexplained, and decontextualized references to World War II (children relocated by train, undesirables referred to as "vermin") rankle. Promising plot points are introduced and then seemingly abandoned, but the conclusion ties up loose ends and provides a ready opening for the third book. As was the case in Black City, pithy phrases abound ("Hope isn't a luxury I have anymore")-and although constant misunderstandings between Ash and Natalie provide narrative tension, readers might wonder why this supposedly strong relationship is so devoid of honesty and trust. The amplified emotions, perpetual narrow escapes, and paranormal love triangle will attract teens craving a pastiche of familiar elements from Twilight and The Hunger Games, but those looking for nuance or originality will want to seek out more sophisticated alternatives.—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
The turgid adventures of a half-breed vampire and the human girl who loves him continue (Black City, 2012). Having been crucified and burned and then resurrected, Ash is now known as the Phoenix, the poster boy for the Humans for Unity rebellion (though far from a Christ figure, despite obvious symbolism). On the eve of the vote that will determine whether vampire Darklings and other Impurities will be permanently confined in ghettos, he proposes to girlfriend Natalie, who accepts with cloyingly girlish delight. The vote goes badly; evil dictator Purian Rose cracks down on Black City. With sexy Bastet Elijah, Ash and Natalie flee, hoping to find a supposed superweapon that can shift the balance of power. (In addition to humans and vampires, this alternative, weakly steampunk-y North America has cat- and wolf-people, though their attributes are as arbitrary as everything else.) The boilerplate dystopian present-tense narration alternates between Ash's and Natalie's identical voices, ploddingly describing every action and overwrought emotion. Natalie worries she is infected with the Wrath, a deadly vampire disease; in order to spare Ash, she hides it from him, a transparent and tedious device evidently meant to boost the romantic tension. People die, bloodily; allies turn traitor; breasts heave. When Natalie isn't engaging in unlikely heroics, she vomits a lot--is it the Wrath, or…? Just as dreadful as the first book. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780147511379
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 6/12/2014
  • Series: A Black City Novel Series , #2
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 171,108
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Richards ( lives in Buckinghamshire, England. Follow her on Twitter @theredpenofdoom

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Phoenix by E

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

    Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards
    Book Two of the Black City series
    Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
    Publication Date: June 4, 2013
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: Goodreads giveaway

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

    When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn't like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

    But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

    This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

    What I Liked:

    I don't know what I was expecting when I started this book, but it certainly was not what I got! I remember starting this series, thinking that I wasn't going to be too invested in this series, because it hadn't been a series that I had been dying to read. BUT. I loved Black City, and I really enjoyed this book! As a sequel, it was outstanding, and it functioned really well as a sequel. It sets up beautifully for the finale, Wings.

    Ash is the Phoenix, the boy who rose from ashes. But Purian Rose will not let Ash and Natalie get away with leading the rebellion against his government. It's time to vote for or against Rose's Law, and Purian Rose is out to guarantee that the law will pass. And that's what he does - he messes with the elections, and when Rose's Law passes, Purian Rose gives Natalie, Ash, and the rebels seventy-two hours to submit to his control. But Ash and the rebels hit back, obliterating Black City and fleeing to seek a biological weapon that will infect Trackers with the v gene. With the help of Elijah, the Bastet that Natalie freed in book one, Natalie and Ash set out to find the weapon.

    I really like the plot of this book - many things happen, and constantly. First we're in Black City, then Destroyer ships, then Natalie and Ash are leaving, and then they're being chased by Lupines and Trackers, and then they're trying to find people from Ash's mother's past. I feel like this book and plot were constantly moving, things were always happening. People died left and right, which was sad, but definitely necessary. Richards gave the ax to so many characters, and she sure knew how to make them count.

    This book is a great sequel - it advances the series' plot well, and it has a plot of its own. Find the weapon - that's the plot of this book. BUT, find the way to destroy Purian Rose and his regime - that's the plot of the entire series. This book sets up really well for the conclusion novel, which is exactly what a sequel novel should do. I can't tell you much about the ending of this book, because that will involve spoilers, but let's just say that you'll want Wings really badly once you finish this book. Really REALLY badly.

    The romance takes a weird turn in this book. Enter Elijah, the Bastet Darkling that Natalie freed in book one. He definitely has a crush on her from the start, but it turns into more than a crush. And then Natalie finds out something horrible, and she doesn't want to tell Ash, so she confides in Elijah instead. This is bad, because Ash feels like Natalie is pulling away from her, AND he catches her ad Elijah together, alone, in weird situations. So Ash gets jealous, then heartbroken, Natalie is blind to this, and thinks he is grumpy or whatever. Meanwhile, Elijah is enjoying himself and the attention he is getting from Natalie.

    Again, the romance is weird. But I'm glad Ash treated Natalie coldly at times - she deserved it. She should have just told him everything as soon as she found out! I'm being vague, I know. It's on purpose. I know all of this sounds like negative stuff, but it was good in a way. It taught Natalie to grow up and really trust Ash. I like Ash a lot. How dare Natalie hurt him!

    The romance was the only thing that bothered me - and it wasn't too bad. I liked the flow of this book, the way this book worked with the rest of the series, the writing style (so great!), the characters. I'm definitely NOT a fan of Elijah (I was in the beginning though), so I'm curious as to what his role will be in book three. Book three! Must read immediately! 

    What I Did Not Like:

    The romance irked me a little. Natalie was keeping secrets from Ash, and that made Ash suspicious of Natalie - which he was totally within his rights. Natalie kept putting herself in awkward positions with Elijah, and Ash would catch and/or see them together, so what was he supposed to think?! Even though Natalie was relying on Elijah as a friend, Elijah legitimately liked Natalie in that way, so it wasn't all that innocent.

    So that bothered me a bit. I like that Natalie got the cold shoulder from Ash though. Ash didn't deserve to not get the truth from Natalie for so long. She should have told him from the start what had happened. But eh, whatever! It didn't bother me too much. I know it will bother other people though.

    Would I Recommend It:

    I would high recommend you read this book! Especially if you loved the first book (or read the first book, not even liked it or anything). This book definitely does not suffer from sequel slump, which is fabulous! The ending will leave readers wanting more, but hey, only a few weeks left until the final book is available! So basically, yes, read it. 

    And if you haven't read either book, DO IT! Don't miss this series! 


    4 stars. An interesting, engaging sequel that is definitely worth the read! I cannot wait to read Wings - check back next week for my review of the final book in this series!

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