Phoenix (Book 1 of The Paradon) – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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Daccari Buchelli

Phoenix is the first installment of Daccari Buchelli’s Peradon series, a fantasy which takes place in the fictional, segregated land of Peradon. After an ominous prophecy leads to a failed, yet brutal assassination attempt, Princess Violetta of the Fire Realm is left devastated and haunted by what could have been. Emperor Ryore of the neighboring Frost Realm falls in love with the fiery princess, but his love is not as pure as he might want her to believe. Meanwhile, there are dangerous forces at work around the two conflicted rulers, threatening to send all of Peradon spiraling into unspeakable tragedy.

Phoenix has a lot of promise as a fantasy novel, yet still misses the mark a bit in some important areas. Perhaps due to the provided map of the fictional land of Peradon seeming entirely unrealistic, the land itself doesn’t seem as fully fleshed out and immersive as it could be. There are too many characters all at once, making some seem wooden and forced and only serving to confuse the reader as to who is who. There were also many scenes in Phoenix that were too drawn out, and others that blatantly contradicted earlier details of the story (a minor instance of this occurred in the beginning, when a character was described as having “golden curls,” then later as having hair that was a “coppery shade”).

Despite these mishaps, Phoenix remains a unique and inspired fantasy novel, largely because of its complexity. Daccari Buchelli has blended fantasy, magic, romance, politics, and conspiracy into Phoenix, making it a definite page-turner. In some ways, Phoenix almost resembles a combination of the A Song of Ice and Fire series and Avatar: The Last Airbender, while still maintaining its own unique style and voice. Phoenix could certainly benefit from some revision, but is a promising beginning to the Peradon series nonetheless.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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