Title: Pawn of the Phoenix
Author: Jamie Mclachlan
Publisher: Penner Publishing
Source: Free copy received from publisher in exchange for honest review
I would like to start this review with a quick apology to the author and publisher. I received this book while ago to review and, while I read it when I received it, that review unfortunately got lost in the chaos when I moved house. This is also a sequel so there may be minor spoilers for first book (review for which can be found here).
This book (and, indeed, this series) is phenomenal. It is set in a world where telepaths (known here as empaths) are treated as slaves by the non-empath elites. Moira, the main character, was saved from execution in the previous novel when a mysterious serial killer starts murdering with mind-control. This book continues that story as well as the growing relationship between Moira and Keenan.
I loved this book. I’m generally quite wary of second books in a series because they have a lot to live up to. In this case the author definitely succeeds in making it a story that really captures the reader’s attention while also providing a clear and gripping continuation of the storyline. There is plenty of development and the ending left me staring at the final page in horror (in a good way, I think).
This book does get a little steamy in places, so a warning to any younger readers who are interested in this series. This was the only part of the book which really let it down for me, sadly. I don’t particularly enjoy reading these kind of scenes and while I don’t mind them from time to time, there were a lot in this book. They were very well written though and it didn’t feel awkward and cringe-worthy reading these passages as can sometimes occur in other books.
Moira is a brilliant female lead. She is an incredibly real character, despite her mind powers, and Mclachlan is not afraid to take her down a darker route either. Indeed, the hints of a darker side to her character are some of my favourite parts. We also get to see more of Keenan in this book and get a bit of background as to why he is. While I was apprehensive at first when I first got a glimpse at where it was headed, his backstory was beautifully crafted and I found myself completely enthralled by it.
Mclachlan does a fantastic job of weaving this world in your head. The city this book takes place in feels like one you could easily go and visit, despite it being an alternate Victorian-style city where half the population can read minds. The telepathic gifts in this are fascinating. There are multiple branches to it, most notably shown with the three houses, but how the telepathic gifts are demonstrating is beautiful. Every person’s mind has a unique structure and aesthetic. While one person may have clockwork, another’s mind may be a meadow. I found this a really interesting way of describing minds, as they reflect the character’s personality and makes me wonder what everyone’s minds would be like in real life.
As the second book in this series (The Memory Collector series), this is a fantastic continuation of the story. Thrilling, sensual and impossible to put down, murder mixes with romance in Pawn of the Phoenix to create a unique and fascinating novel. The next book in the series cannot come soon enough.