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I think it worked well for me not to have any expectations, because I really enjoyed Phoenix Island for what it was. For the majority of the book, there isn't any sci-fi or futuristic tech stuff. In fact, that kind of thing doesn't even come into play until the book is almost over. For the vast majority of the book, the story is mostly about Carl trying to survive this hellish boot-camp for kids. All of the kids who have been sent there are troubled, and none of them have family that will bother to check up on them.

So the fact that this place is waaay off the grid goes unnoticed by the rest of the world. But Carl isn't really a bad kid. He's definitely got some issues controlling his anger, though. He landed in the facility because he put several kids in the hospital But every time he's snapped and gone all Crazy-Fist on someone, it's because they were bullying someone weaker.

Ok, violence isn't the answer, but how can you not root for a kid who kicks the crap out of bullies? However, just because Carl isn't a junior psychopath doesn't mean that all of the kids at Phoenix Island are just misunderstood. Some of them are run-of-the-mill delinquents, and some of them are just plain scary.

Creepy kids are my own personal nightmare. I can't be the only one out there who feels that way, right? At first, Carl assumes that although this place is awful, the instructors won't let anything get out of hand. But as the reality of the place starts to sink in, he begins to have his doubts.

Then he finds a diary that was hidden away by another kid who came to Phoenix Island before him, and the entries shock him to the core.


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Phoenix Island was supposed to be a chance for him to wipe the slate clean and start over again. Except it stats to look like that's not going to be a possibility. In fact, it looks like he'll be lucky to get out of there at all. If you were hoping for a book about super-spies, you're going to be disappointed. But if you're looking for a dark and gritty read about teenagers in a Lord of the Flies situation, then you're going to love this one!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a digital arc for review. View all 15 comments. Jan 15, Stacia the club rated it liked it Recommends it for: younger teen boys and haters of mainstream romantic dystopia.

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Shelves: action-and-adventure , dystopia-or-apocalyptic , science-fiction , young-adult. I'm itching to shelve this book as horror lite, but I'll go with science fiction and "Welcome to the post-human age. I'm itching to shelve this book as horror lite, but I'll go with science fiction and a nod to dystopia even though the "off-island" world isn't on the same abnormal scale that Phoenix Island is.

Who would miss them? They were just a bunch of throwaway orphans. Since the book was something of a slow-starter, I'm not sure if I was on board enough to start caring about what happened to the characters by the time the action finally started kicking in. With some retooling, Phoenix Island would probably work better as an adult offering.

I expect YA books of this category to hit harder and faster out of the gate, whereas I am more patient to wait out a slow build with adult literature. However, all is not lost. This is exactly the type of book that my teenage son would have loved a few years ago. He would have cared less about character attachment, and more about seeing how the shit was going to hit the fan.

Phoenix Islands World Heritage Site

While he and I both read and enjoyed books like Unwind and The Maze Runner, we definitely had different reasons for why we liked those books. In retrospect, Unwind is still a book I think about, while Maze Runner has dulled with time for me because I've read much better from the genre since then , and I'd actually put it on par now with Phoenix Island, which might not be as good of a compliment as it would have been a couple of years ago.

This book provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final copy. View all 3 comments. Nov 22, Rose rated it really liked it Shelves: arc-or-galley , action , young-adult , netgalley , adventure , psychological , thriller.

I'll admit it kept me on the edge of my toes many times wondering what would happen and some of the scenes were deliciously dark, despite a few pacing issues. Nonetheless, this will certainly make an interesting jumping point for the TV series that's based on it. I enjoyed the read. Full review: John Dixon's "Phoenix Island" took me by surprise in terms of how immersive and enthralling an adventure it portrayed. The story centers on year old Carl Freeman as he's punished for crossing the line one too many times. As a young boxer, he uses his abilities to defend the weak and recalls his former police officer father.

Yet after his last scuffle sends a boy to the hospital, he gets shipped off to Phoenix Island. The Island appears to be something of a military boot camp at first, a place for delinquent youths who are orphaned, at the end of their rope or, like Carl, have crossed the line one too many times in detriment to their futures.

Carl thinks he'll do his time and get out - stay within the rules and he should be fine. But Phoenix Island isn't what it seems on the surface. With nightmarish creatures, brutal commanders, and secrets in journals and word of mouth through the ranks, Carl has to survive long enough to make head for tails of what Phoenix Island wants from him, and it's more than he or anyone could bargain for.

This novel has the right balance of action and creep factors to draw the reader. Carl's a sympathetic character, and he builds up a decent enough rapport with other Phoenix Island goers - I liked Ross and Octavia as well.

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He figures out that something is amiss with the Island fairly quickly, and the torment scenes and action sequences are portrayed very well. I did have some issues with some of the pacing in the story in spells, particularly towards the end where it's not as smooth in the transitions as the novel was in the beginning and middle, but I really liked the journey.

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Well-developed and intriguing dystopian thriller - probably among the best I've read this year, and I hope to read more from John Dixon in the future. View 1 comment. Dec 25, Faye, la Patata rated it really liked it. Okay, I admit it.

The unimpressive cover aside, Phoenix Island hooked me line and sinker with its blurb that just screams Danger! Evil governments! Kids running for survival!

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Underdog Triumphing All! Bootcamp of doom!

An overview

One of these people is a young boy who was falsely accused of m Okay, I admit it. One of these people is a young boy who was falsely accused of murdering his classmates, and when he was placed in this institution, he quickly found out it was also a carnival where people watch prisoners compete in games - games where one wrong move will lead to your impalement or death or being shark food I know, it sounds pretty horrible, but these are not what I loved this manga for.

What I loved about this manga was how a lone young man, who was seen as weak by many, found the courage and the determination to pave a path for himself against a strong current despite all odds. I loved the feeling of rooting for a character and feeling absolute joy when you see him or her succeed the challenges that come their way, that anxiousness when you see them encounter a harder one.

Phoenix Islands Protected Area

They only have themselves to rely on. That, and their very resolve. Carl Freeman, a sixteen-year-old boxer, is considered a delinquent with no home to go back to. He has transferred from foster home to foster home, all because he dared try to help victims from bullies with his fists. When Carl gets there, he quickly realizes that there is more to this facility that what meets the eye - beyond the drills, beyond the soldiers physically, verbally, and psychologically abusing them, and beyond the seemingly simple principles of the leader known as "The Old Man".

I liked the main character. Carl was far from perfect short temper, can be carried away by his emotions easily , but you could truly see he's a good guy at heart.