BOOK REVIEW | PHOENIX EXTRAVAGANT BY YOON HA LEE

Hello Bookish Beings…

Today I am going to be reviewing Phoenix Extravagant. I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for approving my request of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Phoenix Extravagant
  • Author: Yoon Ha Lee
  • Series: Standalone
  • Published by Solaris
  • Pages: 346

Synopsis:

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Dragons. Art. Revolution.

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint.

One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers.

But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.

What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight…

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Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

  • A dragon automaton;
  • An exciting setting with colonisation and a beautiful culture at risk of being wiped out;
  • Serious artsy vibes; and
  • Politics, rebellion and war.

On to the full review…

I really love the cover of this book, it is so appropriate for this book and sets the tone brilliantly.

Phoenix Extravagant is quite a wholesome book, with strong themes of family and friendship. It tackles the trials of dealing with grief and the relationship between two sisters with different motivations. In respect of the sisters relationship I would have loved to see more scenes between them to really show their relationship just to give more depth to them, while I understood their motivations and reasons I didn’t feel them of really care for them.

The world and setting is lovely and quite atmospheric, Yoon Ha Lee has imbued this tale with historical influences and has skilfully woven art and culture into it while not neglecting the resistance present to the conquering forces present and the response to the and their actions.

I do feel like my main issue with this book, is that most of the characters and elements I found the most interesting seemed to only be surface deep. There is a massacre that the characters need to unravel and it just had no punch and it falls into the background with little emphasis. It is a massacre for goodness sake that is a horrifying act and I felt nothing for it. It was also the event that set things in motion for the most part and it went nowhere, which also meant that I was constantly wondering where this book was going. What I thought would be the driving plot in this book wasn’t, and I was left wondering how it would end. While I did like the ending because it gave me Mulan vibes it didn’t feel built up.

There are obviously some great points to this book and I did enjoy it, I just wanted more. It is a book that touches on so many issues and historically inspired events that have so much emotion attached to them and I just didn’t get that in this book.

Our main character is a well written character, I quite liked that despite all the external influences they remained themself. There was some growth and the inevitable changes to a person when you come to meet others with different ideals than you but I really liked that our main character didn’t deviate from what we knew to be their character, they remained consistent. They stood strong in the face of so much and that was great to see and experience.

On the fact of characters though, Arzi stole the show! It was such fun reading the scenes in which the automaton was involved. Arzi had a great personality, it had an inner strength and understanding of a world it had not yet truly experienced and seeing Arzi asking Jebi to try this and explain that was such a wholesome experience. Their growing friendship was this books biggest strength.

Even though, I clearly had a few issues with this book I did enjoy it. It has a beautiful setting and is written beautifully, I genuinely cared for the art in this book and it’s destruction. It just a shame that’s all I really cared for. It has its stumbles but with Arzi and Jebi relationship, the art and historically influenced setting it has pulled together three Goodreads stars but it doesn’t have all I personally want from a book.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

This is my first library rental or sale ranking, which isn’t necessarily bad because this rank covers books i liked but would want to pay the price for or ones that are well written but are not suited to my tastes.

In this are it is a bit f both of the above comments, it isn’t the cheapest eBook, whileI enjoyed certain elements I wouldn’t pay the £6’ish it costs. If it was £2.99 then it would be an eBook rating but it isn’t so this would be a wait for sale for me.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


7 FANTASY BOOKS WHO’S COVER ART IS THE BUSINESS…

This is a fairly simple Sunday Seven this week, mainly because i’m shit and didn’t even realise it was Sunday! I have been working for the last ten days and honestly all my brain can comprehend right now is that I’m at the end of my stint. I promise I have something a little different next week, I’m actually pretty excited for next weeks!

Sooo, what I thought would be a nice easy post was actually pretty damned hard. I ended up with so many covers I love that I opted to try and grab one from different styles. You’ll see what I mean in a wee moment.

Le’t get down to it eh? Here it is seven books who’s cover art is the business!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I couldn’t not put this cover on the list it is absolutely amazing! It is bright and colourful, it grabs the eye and it genuinely makes you want to read the book at first glance.

Illustrated by Ivan Belikov  and designed by David Mann.

A Natural History of Dragons

I chose to put this cover in this list because I feel like it is a cover unto itself, it is completely different to any I have seen and that alone warrants recognition.

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

I really like this cover, and couldn’t help but put it in the post. I’m playing Ghost of Tsushima at the minute and I have a Samurai mask very similar to this for my character! I also love the Japanese Hannya masks and this reminds me of them too.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

This one was a tough one, I had put together Circe, The Bone Shard Daughter, Gilded Wolves and The Goblin Emperor for this slot. They all are more pattern based in nature, but as I only have seven slots I had to try to narrow them down, almost by category if you will and out of them I found The Binding to be the winner (for lack of a better word).

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

I find this cover to be absolutely breathtaking, I love this type of art. I actually have several of the types of designs floating around on my Pinterest Boards and find them to be so beautiful. They are such a vivid mix of nature and humanity and for some reason they really get to me.

Cover art and design by David Curtis.

Descendent of the Crane by Joan He

I adore this cover, it is genuinely stunning! It is intricate, mysterious and really quite fantastical! It helps that I love tattoos and one of my favourite design styles are Chinese tattoo designs.

Designed by Feifei Ruan

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

This is such a cool cover, I haven’t read this book so I don’t know how much it encapsulates the story but if the cover and blurb are anything to go by its pretty appropriate! Also I love a lot of Lauren Panepintos work, she I responsible for The Shadow Of What Was Lost, Promise of Blood, Kings of the Wild and more. All of which were in the shortlist for this blog post!

Art by Ian Leino with design by Lauren Panepinto.

There you have it guys 7 book covers I think are the business, this was harder than I anticipated and i’m pretty sure I could do another seven several times over!

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and I hope you enjoy these covers as much as I do!