Phoenix: SF Said (David Fickling Books, 2013)
I think this is a book to buy in real book format rather than electronic. I read it on my (now considered ancient) Kindle 3 which can hardly do justice to the pictures, plus some of the formatting of the electronic version text is out of sync, which will affect my opinion. I think the book works well as text only, but I suspect the full impact has been lost.
The plot follows a boy named lucky (I’m not sure if the odd capitalisation throughout my version is intentional but I assumed it was*) who dreams of the stars singing to him and awakes one day to find a hole burned through his sheets. This starts a chain of events as his mother rushes to hide him, knowing all along that something like this would happen.
Starting with the you’re-not-who-you-think-you-are premise, and losing the only connections to finding out early on leaves a mystery to solve wrapped up in alien warfare, a galaxy-wide quest, and a host of endearing characters both human and alien.
To talk much of the plot would give away intended twists and turns. There is a review on Amazon, written by a fourteen year old, says the book has twists that will leave everyone open-mouthed. As a thirty-eight year old who has read a few books in her life, I found the twists to be predictable from the hints scattered throughout so no, not even the ending surprised me (although I hoped it wouldn’t be what it was) but that aside, this is a very enjoyable and compelling read.
I can’t give it 5 stars though, and I don’t know whether that’s because the e-book took away some impact because I’ve not seen a real book version to compare. An enjoyable, page-turning, proper science fiction novel for approx age 12+ but please get the real book to fully appreciate it.
*Addendum: I’ve looked at the Kindle preview on Amazon, and the odd capitalisations and out-of-sync text appear to only be in the Netgalley preview.
Second Addendum: Working out the twists from the hints in the plot isn’t a bad thing. I liked that it stuck to its logic and that it was possible to ‘guess’ certain things because of what had been told already. Having an illogical ‘twist’ that makes no sense in the context of the story would have been annoying. I liked that you could work things out, and it still was a page-turner to see if you’re right and find out how the story progressed.
Disclosure: Electronic copy received for review via Netgalley.