Review: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

Series: Fallen Empire #1
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Ace Books
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Reviewer: Elizabeth
Rating: 5 Stars
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A woman with power over fire and illusion and the enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.

PHOENIX UNBOUND is an exciting start to a promising series.

The book started out a little slow for me but that’s only because as the first book in a new series, I knew the author needed time to lay the groundwork. The buildup, however, does not disappoint! I was completely enthralled in the story and was chewing my fingernails to the very last page! Ms. Draven sure can keep a reader in suspense!

I really enjoyed reading the story. You can’t go wrong with a strong heroine and Gilene is all that and more! All the women in the book are strong, hardworking and resourceful and I really appreciated that. Azarion is an amazing character. Granted, he does do a few questionable things, but he is an honorable and noble hero.

The worldbuilding is interesting and dynamic. The characters are purposeful and vibrant. The action and adventure are thrilling and engaging. And the romance is tempered with a slow-burning passion, beautifully executed. I hope we don’t have to wait long for the next book. My mind is brimming with so many unanswered questions!

I voluntarily read a copy of the book generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She has loved storytelling since forever and is a fan of the fictional bad boy. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and 2016, and a USA Today Bestselling author.

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