Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, 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 permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.
The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.
I quickly fell in love with Richards’ world in Black City — it was dark, sexy, and packed with action. But everything I loved so much about the first book floundered in this sequel, leaving me ultimately disappointed.
The book’s weaknesses hinge largely on the juvenile turn that Ash and Natalie’s relationship takes. Despite appearing to move forward toward marriage, the two separately make childish decisions, like destructive behavior and well-intentioned but seriously misguided secret-keeping. Much as these are hallmarks of an adolescent relationship, they felt contrived and out of character for this pair — and the rest of the book suffers for it.
If you loved Black City as much as I did, nothing will stop you from reading Phoenix — there’s still a deliciously wicked plot developing besides the romance between Ash and Natalie, and fans will want to know what happens next. But it’s worth tempering expectations ahead of time, because this sequel does not live up to its predecessor.
Phoenix is in stores June 4th.