5 Stars for The Phoenix Embryo by Jeanne Marcella #MM #Romance #Bisexual #DarkFantasy @AForgeOfPhoenix

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Title: The Phoenix Embryo (Seasons of The Phoenix #1)
Author Name: Jeanne Marcella
Publication Date & Length: January 22, 2015 – 425pgs

Synopsis

Twelve-and-a-half-year-old Acanthus Breese and his yellow-robed peers have survived without an adult presence for seven years. They’ve scavenged. Endured madness, starvation, and murder after the adults imprisoned and abandoned them without a backward glance. They’ve clawed their way to civilization and questionable sanity at the guidance of one of their own.

Thirteen-year-old Edward Dasheel is a direct descendant of the goddess Staritti and the red phoenix god, Dasheel. Because of Edward’s love and leadership, Acanthus and the other boys know that despite their regretful crime of harming Staritti and driving her away, hope for redemption remains.

Acanthus knows Edward better than anyone; he knows Edward hides dark secrets about their exile, the adults, and specifically about him. So it is terrifying when suddenly the adults return, pushing themselves back into their lives. What do they want after all these years? And why?

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Review

FiveStars

Epic book is epic. Like, this is Lord of the Rings level, or Hunger Games (lots of little children dying) or something so creative and detailed and layered. World building is hard. Jeanne Marcella knows what she’s doing. Little details and big moments matter so much, and at the center of it all is Acanthus, a rather immature 12 year old, but his development’s been stunted by living in horror and captivity for as long as he can remember.
His only lifeline is Edward, his Promise, who cares for him and protects all the abandoned children, “the Regrets,” as best he can, while being the interface with the adult world, which is ominous and distant.
This book is about wizards, and there’s all different types, with different heritages, and different powers, and there’s an awesome giant, and cat people, and the world is just so awesome. Only great talent can create a world like this. And then to fill it in with a plot full of despair and madness and war… It’s just great. And it’s a FUN book. There’s lots of daring adventure and mystery, along with the tragic.
Anyone who follows my reviews know I like the strikingly different/weird, so read the first chapter online to see if your desires match mine. Also all these little boys are in love, which manages not to be creepy FOR ME. Adolescent approaches.
Some quibbles. This is a very long book. A very, very long book. A defter editing hand might have cut this in half. It ambles along. There’s not much fluff, I admit, each scene has a purpose. But still. So long. The scourge of self-publishing remains evident. Also some things don’t actually make sense. But there’s a glossary in the back which is very helpful!
Also, spoiler, the villain is kind of lame. So much attention is given to the heroes’ backstories, and yet the villain is “He sucks, he wants power, he so crazy.” However, the greater backstory with the greater villains, who lurk and attack, is more deeply interesting. I wonder if Staritti herself is on the side of good or evil. I hope to find out in the next book.
C.E. Case

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Teaser

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Excerpt

Acanthus danced around in a chaotic circle, waving his arms and pointing out the window. “Dee! He took Minos. He had wings! He flew! Priests! By Staritti, there were adults in Regrets!”

“Shh. Shhh. It’s all right.”

“How can it be all right?” Acanthus yelled. He paced. He prowled. He was helpless. Edward made no move to restrain him. “They throw us away, ignore us, and then pick us off! How much more can we endure? You know we’ll never see Minos again, Dee! We’ll never see him again! Just like all the others!”

“I know,” Edward answered in a helpless, grating whisper.

“Minos didn’t have anyone,” Acanthus said to himself. “No one, for the last seven years. I feel so bad; I could’ve done something. I could’ve been his friend.”

“You can’t blame yourself.”

Horror washed through him. “Yes, I can. This is my fault. I wanted to break something today. I broke Minos.”

Edward put a calming hand to his shoulder. “Dearest, it’s not your fault.”

“We don’t know that for certain. We all should know better by now. All of us. We have to stick together, make sure everyone’s okay.”

AuthorBio

Jeanne Marcella was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Granted unlimited access to books at a very early age via the library, she quickly acquired a fondness for creating her own stories through word and drawing.

Going against the grain of mainstream top ten fantasy, she writes eccentric, GLBTQ dark fantasy dramas not for the faint of heart.

Currently, she reworks her first novel about half-breed centaurs into a 2nd edition.

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