Review: The Phoenix Unchained: Book One of The Enduring Flame

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The Phoenix Unchained: Book One of The Enduring FlameThe Phoenix Unchained: Book One of The Enduring Flame by Mercedes Lackey

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

First off, I did not finish this book. I COULD NOT finish this book. Even on audio. I grabbed this randomly at the library when I was looking for an audiobook to make the daily commute a little more bearable. Unfortunately, this had the opposite effect.

I guess my main problem wasn’t so much that the novel was poorly written, it was mostly that it was just so bland. The characters were one-dimensional, the fantasy cliches tripped over each other, and the plot was unoriginal. The bottom line is that I listened to about 80% of the novel and I felt like I had heard it all before. There was nothing unique about the characters, plot, or world to really keep me interested.

The characters were a huge problem. Two well-off, teenage boys. If they got into trouble, somebody else bailed them out. If they ran out of money, they went to the bank and got more. There was no teeth to the story, no hardship and the characters were dull and uninteresting because of it. They had no reason to grow into heroes.

Of course, that’s not entirely true. There was one instance of when the story grew some teeth, but it felt so out of place that it was completely absurd. I almost stopped listening at that point, but I’m not a quitter. If I start something, I finish it.

What got me to break my rule was the elves. I’ve read many stories with elves, but I’ve never considered myself to be an elf fan in particular. However, the elves in this book when so frustratingly stupid, I just couldn’t take it anymore. The fact that they were more concerned about manners than the fate of the world was just too much for me.

So, even though I didn’t actually finish this, I think 1 star is appropriate for me. Now, that’s not to say that it was completely terrible. I think younger readers might find the novel entertaining, though I doubt even children would revere it as a classic.

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