War Hero. Thiefmaster's apprentice. Traitors. Every title comes with a price.
Arkaen is a gods-damned saint. He sacrificed his childhood innocence fighting for the beleaguered rebellion in a civil war and relinquished a comfortable life with the man he loves to reclaim his place as high lord from corrupt nobles. Now, a hidden enemy is manipulating his lower lords into talk of rebellion, including the powerful Rogue Baron who is slowly swaying the city into questioning every move Arkaen makes.
With the help of his near-omniscient lover's gift of foresight, Arkaen finds a potential ally in Niamsha, a reluctant thief trying to pay for her brother’s education. But Niamsha owes an insurmountable debt to the mysterious leader of her thieves guild and failing to pay means death—for her entire family. When her guild leader demands she join forces with the Rogue Baron himself, she finds herself caught in a political battle beyond her skills. Torn between protecting her family and following her conscience, Niamsha doesn't know who to trust.
If Arkaen can win Niamsha's loyalty, he might just prevent a second civil war and the destruction of everything he fought to protect. Or he might get them all killed.
Average rating from 34 members
Wow! This was brilliant! A story with beautifully complex characters that was as intriguing, dazzling and thrilling as its cover. I mean just this: "War Hero. Thiefmaster's apprentice. Traitors. Every title comes with a price." is a wonderful summary of the thrill to ensue within this masterful book. We follow here main character Arkaen who's described as a 'gods-damned saint' a regretful but strangely tender a soul who 'sacrificed his childhood innocence fighting for the beleaguered rebellion in a civil war and relinquished a comfortable life with the man he loves to reclaim his place as high lord from corrupt nobles'. Ummmm can I just say the romance was nicely built up with enough tension to stir something in me. There's also my favourite character in the book, Niamsha, described as a 'reluctant thief trying to pay for her brother’s education'. With enemy forces of both Niamsha and Arkaen joining forces, she is torn between protecting her family and following her conscience, with trust and loyalty becoming a defining factor of the story and Interaction between the characters in order to save their lives from destruction and destitution. While it was a slow build up and took a while for everything to set into place (hence 4.5 star rating), once things got going I couldn't get enough! Something I will be highly recommending at the library and outside.
It was really goooood. It was interesting political fantasy. 4,5/5⭐ Thank you NetGalley for providing digital advanced copy in exchange for honest review.
Woah, this is excellent. Read now/indie is always dubious, but I requested this one because it was queer. I feel like ive been rewarded for doing something right. I love how smart this book is. it's a genuine political drama wrapped up in a beautiful character piece. The queer characters were read like real people, and while the relationship could have been explored a little more, I genuinely cared about what happened to them. m so appreciative to see this type of rep in high fantasy without it being the primary focus. I loved the other characters as well, and each POV was fantastic. The plot moves slowly but no time is really wasted per chapter- I got something out of even the smallest scenes. This book reads like a trade pub. It should get a ton of attention because it deserves it. I'm so impressed and happy. I can't WAIT to start sharing this with my friends.
This book is about a War Hero named Arkean and he is getting betrayed by his lower lords to form a rebellion. Kìlashà is his lover who has a gift of foresight and saw the potential ally in Niamsha, The Thiefmaster's apprentice who also has lots of debts from his late father and will do anything to protect her brother. Niamsha is the only key to Arkean's success to prevent a civil war from happening. This book is a slow burn kind of book and gave me time to fall in love with the characters especially Arkean and Niamsha. This is a very interesting read and I almost broke my phone screaming. My heart broke at some scenes and OH MY GOD the ending! The world building is phenomenal and I really want to go to their world! I loved how this was written because I am not familiar with it at first and then it grew on me. Everyone who loves fantasy should read this! Chelsea Harper is a great writer and I am looking forward to read the 2nd book and more of her books! I recommend everyone to read this when it comes out on 09.28.21!! I will definitely share this to every person I know when it comes out!
I thoroughly enjoyed this read! Wake of the Phoenix is a slow burn, but the action and characters make the wait worthwhile! I found myself looking forward to seeing where the characters were going and seeing how choices would impact the next twists and turns! It featured great representation, and for being a political story, which I wasn’t sure I would enjoy as much as others, I found myself completely drawn in!
Chock-full of charmingly prickly characters and complex, convoluted politics, Wake of the Phoenix is a pins-and-needles plural-perspective crusade dense with difficult choices and dire circumstances, clandestine dealings and covert courtships. Harper has created a wonderfully detailed and daedal world of power-play chicaneries and diplomatic ploys with this charged dawning chapter that puts the pieces in play for a cracklingly promising continuation. Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for kindly passing on this ARC! 💫
The political intrigue in this book is top notch. The characters are very compelling. I loved the ambience and the setting and how unique the world felt. It took a bit to pull me in, but I ended up really liking it!
The names of the characters are very unique, and so I have absolutely no idea if I was reading the names correctly. The storyline is well done. And holy hell the ending, I recommend to anyone who enjoyed A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer and Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
Wake of the Phoenix is a queer political fantasy that follows three characters: Arkaen, Kilasha, and Niamsha. Arkaen and Kilasha are the queer main couple, but their relationship remains a secret because it's forbidden. Niamsha is a thief who is trying to make a better life for her and her brother. While I did like the political schemes in the novel, the plot was slow and hard to get through at several points. I had to force my way through it at times. Character backgrounds were also dragged out a little bit and I found that hard to follow at times too. Some of the characterization seemed so out of place, especially for Niamsha. I didn't care for her to be honest but I did like Kilasha! He is a pretty great character with an awesome set of powers! Speaking of Kilasha though, I was initially interested in this book because it's labeled as a queer read, but it's not an open relationship and cheating is a component of it. The relationship was a secret that I suppose is meant to add to the suspense of the plot and political aspects. But I was expecting something different since Arkaen is a high lord; I thought he'd had more power to be in a relationship with whomever he wanted before I started the book, but that is not the case. Also, the ending was messed up. I was highly upset, but that's the point I guess. If you're looking for shockers, this will deliver. The political intrigue is there if you like that! I definitely wouldn't recommend this for the faint of heart though as it's pretty gory at times and don't get attached! Overall I would give it 3.5 stars and I will pick up the sequel to see how the characters respond to the cliffhanger scene at the end of this book! Thank you NetGalley for sending me an e-arc copy in exchange for an honest review.
Stealing a review format from Grace to help me organise my thoughts: The good: - Absolutely gripped me and kept me reading like a book hasn't done in ages. - LOVED Kaen and Kilasha. Found it a little difficult to like Niamsha given her weirdly naive behavior? isn't SHE supposed to be the street-wise one? - sorry to be like this (AKA extremely me always) but MAN there's nothing like someone covered in blood and guts and being like i WILL kill literally everyone for the person i love. like truly. what an incandescent trope. really truly hope there's so much more of it in the next book. which brings me to: The bad: - THAT'S THE ENDING?"?!? INFURIATING. where is my DENOUEMENT. where is my HEAVY H/C SCENE. my RESOLUTION. (i realise its setting up for a sequel! i don't care!) - really afraid the entire next? middle? book is just going to be flashbacks, which i do not love. leave a little mystery, ms harper! i'll respect you more i promise! The ugly: - repeated threat of sexual assault and referenced sexual assault (offscreen). - man repeatedly cheating on his partner (despite the partner knowing???? still weird and bad imo) - quite a lot of descriptions of torture scenes/battles with the torture referenced being pretty gory. Overall! If you like complex fantasy and a lot of political shenanigans, you will probably like this book!
"Wake of the Pheonix" was absolutely magnificent. Complex and political, original and at times difficult to follow, but with a whole cast of characters that was memorable and fantastic. It's main characters, Arkean and Lasha, Niamsha and Saylina, are wonderfully complex and have unique relationships with one another. I especially loved Arkean and Lasha. Their relationship, the complex way they work together, the love and pain they hold for one another: it was to gut-wrenching to witness but also, it gave me that high-stakes, til-death-do-us-part kind of vibe that I rarely see in high fantasy (especially with same sex couples). The writing is fantastic, the world-building original and magical, the atmosphere highly charged and political, with scheming and plots and life-changing prophecies and decisions, under the ever-present threat of war. I loved it. A lot. Highly recommended
A well-written political fantasy with some interesting world-building elements. I do think there are some narrative choices that don't work well - in particular, two of the main characters' narratives hide information from the reader, which leads to the world-building feeling under-explained. Despite being inside his head we aren't given explanations of how Kilasha's magic works, and information about his and Arkaen's past, goals, etc. is given very very slowly if at all. In that sense Niamsha's narration is the easiest to follow, but she's also the most frustrating protagonist because she repeatedly makes the worst decisions. I'll keep an eye out for the sequel and to see what comes next from this author.
3.5 stars This book has such a stunning cover I was so excited to read it. Immediately we're introduced to a rather big cast which made it a difficult for me to follow at first. But I grew to love the political drama and the switch between POVs. Although, I would have liked to know more about how Kilasha's magic works, and perhaps a bit more backstory to fill in the gaps. There are some gory torture scenes which some readers might like to know beforehand, as well as a queer forbidden romance. I'm interested to see what will happen next after the cliff-hanger!
I’ve seen this described as Baru Cormorant but make it m/m and honestly I can agree with this description in some ways. I really enjoyed the political intrigue and how each character interacts with each other to create the ambience of a real political court. I will admit it’s slightly slower paced, but once I really got my hands into it I couldn’t put it down.
4.5/5 — Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this e-ARC. This book was great. I genuinely had such a good time reading it, and I am so glad because I was nervous going in because of the low ratings. Despite the slower pace of the first half I was consistently entertained, and the conflicting opinions, and views on events from the different POV characters gave the story a lot of tension. The plot does feel fairly typical for a political high fantasy story, and is not perfect in its execution; however, the ways in which the main characters become connected was compelling and I found myself invested in the 4 main protagonists (even when their actions frustrated me). The book does well at creating a balance within the characters where even the rashest, and most misinformed decisions they make, all feel justified from that characters outlook and with their motivations; becoming especially interesting as more often than not the characters are working without the full information necessary to make good decisions, directly causing issues in other plot lines. The main romance, which is an established relationship from the start of the novel, was particularly well written. The love between these two men is powerful and clear, while the secret nature of their relationship and it’s implications on their political positions creates an extra tension, where whenever they were interacting on page I felt so deeply invested, and they were really a highlight of the novel. While I don’t think Wake of the Phoenix will be for everyone, I cannot wait to see how this series proceeds and I’m extremely intrigued to see the wider workings of this world, as the world building gave just enough information about what is clearly a well detailed and thought out world to leave me wanting to find out more about what is going on and what has happened; as well as seeing what mistakes and connections these characters make next.