The sequel to Havenfall, Phoenix Flame finds Maddie Morrow at the centre of a quest, as she adamantly wades into Fiordenkill, to weed out the soul trade and seek answers to her brother Nate’s disappearance.
What she finds in this kingdom of snow and ice chills her to the bone, for her determination to protect the Solarians ends up compromising the safety of her loved ones.
I loved the fact that several chapters in this book are set in Fiordenkill. While Sara Holland’s world-building doesn’t delve too much into the specifics of the magic system, what she reveals of these new worlds kept me engrossed throughout.
Maddie is still as easily trusting as in the first book; you’d think that after her experience with the Silver Prince, she’d be a little bit more sceptical. She displays a blatant disregard for consequences and leaves others to patch up problems that she has created.
I understand that she is a YA character, driven by one ultimate goal, but it would’ve been nice to see some improvement in her character arc.
The few glimpses of Taya and Nate’s relation left me wanting to know more about them
, and I’m glad to see from the epilogue that the 3rd book in the series might pose the siblings as primary characters in the story.
Just like Havenfall, the writing in Phoenix Flame is propelled by action and subtly enforced by the descriptions of places and events. I had way too much fun reading about the two balls hosted (one at Havenfall and the other at Fiordenkill).
The ending of the climax had a frustratingly teasing cliffhanger, much like a lot of fantasy novels do. A part of me wanted to chuck something at the cast of characters, who were involved in a confrontation with the villain. Because they had such a clear shot at putting him down once and for all.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the 3rd book will showcase the character in some form. That’s yet to be seen.
I’d recommend this series to you if you are looking for light fantasy fiction, one that is not too complex in its world-building and also offers ample political intrigue, suspense, adventure.
UPDATE: I just read that this is the conclusion to the Havenfall duology. WHAT?!
There are so many lose threads in this book, and so far, the entire series has revolved around the much-hyped Solaria. But we haven’t even seen anything of it. It’s quite shocking to know that this is the end of this series. I’d been hoping to read more about all the worlds.
My recommendation still stands as it’s an entertaining series, but do keep in mind that you’ll probably have a lot of unanswered questions by the end.