Kaelyn Trapp is a skilled university history professor. She is also the first daughter and Phoenix One. With worsening climate crises, the future of America looks dire and the Phoenix Program is the country’s last hope. It is no longer a matter of if America will fall but when. Before right wing extremist Frank MacLeod overthrows the government, Kaelyn Trapp (and the other three phoenixes) are cryogenically frozen.
For seven decades, the legend of the Four Phoenixes spreads hope through the Resistance (a small group opposing the MacLeod family’s rule). When the Resistance thaws Kaelyn it’s 2088 and the world has changed dramatically.
Arrow Steele has trained for her entire life to support Phoenix One. She thinks she knows all there is to know about Kaelyn Trapp, aka Phoenix One. Then she meets her, and the spark between them is undeniable.
If the Phoenix Program fails, America will be lost forever. The success of this one mission is key. Can Kaelyn and Arrow keep their hands off one another long enough to complete the mission or will they jeopardize everything for a chance at love?
Kaelyn is a fish out of water in this book, but she handles herself beautifully and rolls with whatever comes her way. Seeing the future world through her eyes is a delight. She is empathetic and always sees the best in those she meets in this harsh new world.
Arrow is all business. She’s grown up in a world where there are only two goals. Survival and making the Phoenix Program happen. Her approach to life is rigid and militaristic but there is also a spark of rebellion in her. The first time we meet her, she is telling the AI to ignore normal protocol so she can push herself to the limits. This drive to be ready is the kind of thing that really drew me into her character despite her constant focus on the mission.
The Writing Style
The best thing about the writing is the seamless blending of two very different genres. First we have the uber action packed main plot, but it is blended artfully with the second romantic plot so that the two never feel tacked on.
More often than not, I prefer my dystopian novels to be lighter on the romance and my romance to be light on the action, but I really enjoyed seeing them play out alongside one another in this book.
One of the things I loved most about this book is the AI, CAM. She has a lot of personality and is a constant within the story.
More broadly, I also loved the unique take on futuristic technology from the weather bubbles people live in to the food points system, even if they do lack ranch dressing (a huge sticking point for Kaelyn).
Not a con, but something readers need to be aware of. This novel really takes some of the struggles of marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ folks, and shows how they could be escalated with the wrong government in charge. Many social problems are explored here, but this could be a tricky read for anyone who has issues with systemic abuse of marginalized groups. Nothing in this novel glorifies or implies these actions are okay, but it did remind me how fragile some of our victories are.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s a little different from what I usually read, but it’s so well written that I loved settling into this world and the characters in it.
Excerpt from The Rise of the Resistance: Phoenix One by Jackie D
Kaelyn looked down at the woman’s nametag and managed to repeat the word she read. “Steele.”
Steele’s smile widened, and her slightly tanned skin showed bits of red at her cheeks. “Yes, that’s right. I’m Major Arrow Steele, and I’m the Guardian assigned to you.”
Guardian? Am I dead?
Kaelyn’s eyes must have shown her confusion and fear because Arrow followed up her initial introduction.
“Don’t worry. You’re okay. I know this is all going to be a lot for you to take in, but you’re okay. I’m here to protect you.”
Kaelyn wanted to ask her what she needed protection from. She wanted to know where her parents were. She wanted to know where she was and what had happened. She needed answers to a million different questions. But she didn’t get a chance to ask them. A woman in a lab coat, whom she assumed was a doctor, came in and asked Major Steele to wait outside. The major looked like she was going to object but backed away from the bed anyway. Then, there were lights being flashed in her eyes and questions being lobbed at her in rapid succession. She tried to sit up; she wanted to see Arrow. She wanted to feel that familiarity again, but she was already gone.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1635552591
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Jackie D Online
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