A review by Domoni.
I would like the author for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
A dystopian future that could be. The world has been plagued by terrorism in the name of religions. As religions are blamed they then become more brutal. The British government decides to deal with violent offenders by creating the Phoenix Project. Inmates will be sent to prisons where they will be matched in battles to the death. After a years trial the government votes to continue with the project even including public displays of the battles. Heroes are created from the brutality for the public to worship. Is it everything that it claims to be. And is forcing people to murder others ok, even if those people may have been murders.
Raven is the central character to this story. He is haunted by his crime that landed him in Salverford prison. A place he had been against. He protested the Phoenix Project and abhors the idea. After committing a horrible crime that haunts him, he is sent to serve his penance. He tortures himself mentally and physically out of guilt for what he has done, but fights his battles unwilling to die. He claims if he dies his punishment will be over and he doesn’t deserve that, though that could be what he needs to tell himself to survive.
We also get a view of other inmates, Khan and his sister Millicent, two brutal fighters who have been the prisons undefeated victors for years. We learn soon on that they were not technically prisoners but had volunteered for the program and been paid and given perks to add to the element of entertainment. Though both love the battle and the adoration. Alexia, the Roman Catholic girl who also tried to volunteer in an effort to blow the prison up and then was caught and sentenced to be a prisoner despite being a minor. Various other faces and names that pass through the battles and stories. Some I could get a feel for and sympathise with and some I hated. The author added enough depth to the story to keep me entertained through to the end.
This story time hops through Raven’s life. From before his incarceration to present day. It was somewhat easy to follow the time hops and kept Ravens motivation a mystery for quite awhile. This story was very interesting to me because it was a future that could make sense. Based on society today and our reaction to religious extremists and violent criminals as well as the deep seeded racism in much of humanity, it would not surprise me to hear that a world of extremes like this could evolve. The authors writing was easy to read and the story passed quickly. Though the ending did surprise me. I enjoyed this book.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
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About the Book
Title: The Phoenix Project
Author: D.M. Cain
Genre: Psychological Thriller
A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…
A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting new novel, The Phoenix Project.
Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.
In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.
Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?
‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it.
D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.
Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.
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