Phoenix by SF Said

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Phoenix by SF Said

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Exciting space epic for tween and teen readers. It has great worldbuilding, sparkling characters, a thrilling - and clever - plot and beautiful, awe-inspiring illustrations by Dave McKean. What more could you want?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 496 Date: August 2013
Publisher: David Fickling
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 038561814X

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Lucky thinks he is a normal Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing to him and he can feel a mysterious power rising within him. When he wakes, his bedclothes are scorched. And when his mother finds out, Lucky's world is turned upside down and he finds himself on an alien spaceship, on the run, and in the middle of a warzone. Everything Lucky has been brought up to believe is being tested. The war between Human and Axxa is raging, so why does Lucky's mother trust alien renegades more than she does humans? Where is his father? What are the secrets his mother has kept from him all his life?

But Lucky has little time for soul searching. He is in terrible danger. But he must find a way to save the galaxy before it is destroyed by the Wolf that Eats Stars. Lucky's destiny and the fate of the universe are inextricably linked, and he will need his new alien friends - the Startalkers, the spaceship captain and the warrior girl with neon needles in her hair - more than he could ever know...

You won't find any spoilers here at Bookbag. We hate them. But I will say that Phoenix has a wonderful ending. It's sad but uplifting, grief-stricken but beautiful, and is and utterly, utterly appropriate culmination of the clever plot. I cried!

I loved this space quest of a story. It has great worldbuilding, sparkling characters and a thrilling plot. It's beautifully illustrated by the great Dave McKean, who gives the galaxy its rightful majesty. Lucky is a great central character - the typical reluctant hero, his quest transforms him from a geeky, naive child into a wise, mature person who will fight for the forces of good until the very end.

And I loved the portrayal of the Axxa. Lucky has been taught that aliens are all that is evil. They have cloven hooves for feet, terrifying horns on their heads and they eat eyeballs. But as the book goes on, and the Axxa are slowly revealed, Lucky - and his readers - discover that the hooves, the horns and the eyeballs aren't at all what they seem. It's a wise warning about misplaced distrust for "the other" that has clear comparisons in the Earth-bound world in which readers actually live. The plot is clever too - you might see some reveals coming, but you won't see them all.

There aren't many space epics written for middle readers and after enjoying Phoenix so thoroughly, I can't imagine why. Kids love all the TV shows and films - Star Trek, Star Wars etc - and the genre allows for sparkling, nutty characters, so I'm at a loss to explain why this fertile ground isn't cultivated more. It should be. So hats off to SF Said for this fabulous tale. And to Dave McKean, for giving the magnifence and the glory of the galaxy such awe-inspiring artwork.

Phoenix comes highly recommended for all younger fans of sci-fi, a rip-roaring plot and who love a reluctant hero who never stops trying.

You might also enjoy A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix or The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson.

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Buy Phoenix by SF Said at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Phoenix by SF Said at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Phoenix by SF Said at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Phoenix by SF Said at


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