Book Chat 9 – Fury of a Phoenix

I’m posting this Book Chat later than normal, but I’m here and ready to chat!

This cover is probably what gained my attention first…then hearing it was a John Wick/ revenge type story didn’t hurt. While I typically prefer lighter reads, I was definitely excited to include this in our Book Chat. We’ll start with the usual details and stats before starting my review.


The Fury of a Phoenix (The Nix Series Book 1) by Shannon Mayer
Published: 7/11/17
Book 1 of 4
Amazon: 1,342 ratings, 4.6 of 5 avg
Goodreads: 5,196; 4.25 avg

“I knew the sins of my past would call to collect what was left of my soul. If I’d known the price I’d pay, I would’ve sacrificed more to stay hidden from the magic.”
 
In the middle of Wyoming—away from the abnormals of the world—I thought I was free and clear. I started a new life. Found a love I’d never known in a husband, and a son who was my everything.
 
And in a blinding instant, that life was stolen from me.
 
The rage of a grieving mother is an ugly beast. More so when she has the skills and killer instinct to back up the wrath and the knowledge that an accident was anything but.
 
Once more, I will pick up my guns. This time to hunt those who took my husband’s and son’s lives.
 
Let them see the assassin, trained to kill abnormals, stalk the shadows again.
 
Let them see the Phoenix rise from the fragments of a broken life as she burns with a fury that cannot be contained.
 
Let the killing games begin.


As usual, our book choice has an exceptionally high rating overall, but that doesn’t mean all reviews were positive. There are always lower ratings for any book. Let’s jump in with the most repeated criticisms by fellow readers on GR and Amazon.

Readers’ negative review points:
–repeated phrases/ cliched writing
–lack of emotion/ boring plot
–unlikeable MC with unexplained skills/ reputation
–graphic violence/ no worldbuilding

**In light of the opinions on violence, I’ll start with a warning. There is an animal death early on. Obviously other deaths are alluded to in the blurb, but I wanted to mention that. If you need additional info, just send me a message.**

Main character issues
Many negative reviews pointed out they didn’t connect to or like Nix. I actually did connect to her so she wasn’t a problem for me. I liked that she had to work to regain her skills. Considering it’s a magical world, I will concede I’m not exactly sure how her legend blew up to such proportions. There are definitely some ‘abnormals’ who I’d think would provide more of a challenge than even a well-trained human. This ties in nicely with the other complaints about violence and lack of worldbuilding.

Worldbuilding/ Plot/ Cliches
As I don’t read darker books, I can’t really speak on whether this book reads like others. I can say there were parts of the worldbuilding that really worked for me, but I would think more would be required to continue the series. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the talking guns and the ladies’ mysterious connection to the sister? That alone is almost enough to make me want to immediately jump into the next book!

Some reviewers noted poor writing/ repeated phrases. I noticed a few repeats myself but it wasn’t enough to pull me completely out of the story. Many also noted this wasn’t the author’s best efforts. Again though, I can’t really comment as I haven’t read other works by her. The book wouldn’t discourage me from trying other books/ series by Mayer though.

I thought it was a strong book 1 for a series. I was invested in Nix’s story and found the world intriguing enough to want to know more. However, my rating isn’t a perfect 5 stars.

Where’s my issue then? I kinda forgot most of the book afterwards. While it was slow going at the beginning, I did enjoy the book once I got further along. I definitely wanted to know if Nix would get her revenge. The side characters and world were enjoyable as well. Unfortunately, I started another book (our November read actually and you’ll see that below) and really got into it quickly. Once I realized I hadn’t prepared a Book Chat for Nix, I had to go back and remind myself of what happened. That’s unusual for me – if I enjoy a book, I’m typically pretty good at relishing details.

I’m still going to give this one a solid 3 stars and recommend it. I enjoyed it while reading it and would read more. If you are in the mood for a bit of darkness and revenge, Nix may be someone you want to get to know! I also think this would be a good series to binge!

Now, we’ll move on to the writer’s side before the usual kitty picture below.


Writer Analysis

This book brought a unique experience for my Book Chat blog series. I enjoyed it while reading it but then struggled to remember details sufficient for a reader or writer review. It is much easier to read for pleasure than it is to read to learn to write. At the least, I’ve now learned I need to write down my thoughts immediately after reading a book. However, there are a few things I’d like to discuss on the writer side.

When I look back at Nix, it truly was the talking guns and mystery of them that stand out to me. I don’t know if future books address this, but I think it’s a great set up for them. I’ve read books with talking objects previously and they are hit or miss for me. It depends on the author’s take on their awareness and if it’s simply for comedic value. Sometimes, I laugh, but other times I cringe at the creepiness of what a couch may witness.

What’s the particular point for this writing analysis ramble?

Despite our planning and efforts, we can’t anticipate how readers will respond. Many failed to connect to the MC here – many others loved her. Some didn’t appreciate the talking guns – I, at least, loved them! I think we do have to start with the idea that we have to write a story we’d want to read. I remember seeing a tweet or meme about this…

Write a story you want to read because you will be reading it many, many times while writing and editing.

Yes, it’s important to understand reader and genre expectations. That’s part of the business side of our writing.

I think it’s also important to understand yourself as a writer. It’s important to stay true to yourself while writing. Only you can decide what you want to change, where you want to ‘compromise’, and what readers you want to attract. The better you know yourself and your story, the better you’ll be at writing and marketing.

What have you learned about yourself along your writing journey? Do you know yourself, your story/ stories, and your style? Are you working to show off your strengths and improve your weaknesses?

I’m always open to how other writers read/ review to learn from book, what others may have learned from this book/ author, and even what you’d like to learn from future reads. Do feel free to comment below or contact me.


Let’s go ahead and close this ramble out with a cute kitty picture, a link to the full Book Chat blog series, and links to our October and November books!

Book Chat blog series

Fury of a Phoenix (Nix Book 1)

Our November read is Three Mages and a Margarita by Annette Marie! This much lighter UF read has already snagged my attention and not only have I finished book 1 but I’ve read more in the series too. The books are available in Kindle Unlimited and the link is below!

Happy reading and writing, my friends!

-RSJ

Leila and Fury of a Phoenix cover

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