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Phoenix Island Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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"This action-packed novel (with YA crossover appeal) combines adventure with extreme violence and concerns a young boxer sent to a very special youth boot camp.... When things come to a head, Carl finds that all of his suspicions about the island prove even worse than he thought in this crisply written and imaginative effort. Dixon’s page-turner will keep readers of all ages enthralled. A fast-paced, exciting novel with the promise of future installments." (Kirkus)
"An unusual premise makes Dixon’s thriller debut a welcome series kickoff... the pacing and smooth prose will have suspense fans waiting for the next book, as well as the upcoming CBS adaptation, Intelligence." (Publishers Weekly)
"Filled with both menace and heart, Phoenix Island stands out in all the right ways." (New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr)
"Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke. A tribute to the indomitable human spirit that challenges the mob and chooses values over expediency." (F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling creator of Repairman Jack)
“Fast-paced and thoroughly engrossing – I could not put it down!”
(Lissa Price, international bestselling author of Starters)
About the Author
John Dixon is a former Golden Gloves boxer, youth services caseworker, prison tutor, and middle school English teacher. You can visit his blog at JohnDixonBooks.com.
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Carl is a wounded, haunted 16 year old boy with a good heart, and filled with a sense of justice and rightness—which is his strength and downfall. Even though Carl has a short temper and acts first without thinking, I liked him. Who doesn’t admire a person that stands up to bullies, no matter how the odds are stacked against him.
There was a lot I liked about this book. First there is there is the mystery of Phoenix Island and what it’s true purpose is. Carl’s backstory about his parents was heartrending and Dixon did a wonderful job conveying that. There’s a touch of romance giving Carl a little hope and something possibly to look forward to. Then there’s his first fight at the boot camp which gripped me. I didn't even realize I was holding my breath until it was over. I was impressed how Dixon wrote fight scenes, they were realistic, brutal, and you really couldn’t tell if Carl would win them.
PHOENIX ISLAND is a well plotted thriller that delves into self discovery and the coming of age a young man who is searching for his purpose in life. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to the sequel.
It doesn't take Carl long to make friends, especially the attractive Octavia, and it doesn't take long for all the teens to figure out this isn't a regular boot camp.
Fast paced with some great fight scenes, this book is a cross between LORD OF THE FLIES; the ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series; and THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU. The author did a good job of combining all these different ideas into a cohesive, very readable book.
I'm glad that this is a series so I get to read more about the adventures of Phoenix Island. There was no huge cliffhanger ending in this tale, which I am glad about, and I'm also glad I have the next book in the series - DEVIL'S POCKET - that I will be reading next.
There were a couple of scenes that caused my stomach to roll (and I read some pretty gritty books) so be forewarned.
My Review: Two words - Page turner. This author has a way of writing scenes so vivid you actually feel like you are there. There is a fight scene between Carl and Parker that I started reading before work one morning and I was so involved in the story I was late to work. Literally could not put the book down. I heard there was a review where a woman actually gagged reading one of the scenes, yes there were bugs involved but how well does a scene need to be written that it makes someone actually gag? To me that is fantastic writing.
Somehow before the book was even released to the public the idea behind the book was picked up by CBS for a TV show called Intelligence. While I have only seen the first episode of the show these two storied are only slightly related, they are quite different from each other. It's a shame because I think the book would make a better movie than just just using the concept of the chip implant as the show uses. I'm looking at you Ridley Scott to make some moves here...
I have had the pleasure of conversing with John over email and Facebook the last few weeks and look forward to one day meeting him in person. He is currently working on the sequel to Phoenix Island now called Devil's Pocket. You can bet that I will add that book to the top of my "to read" pile. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
My rating: 9
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