Review: Phoenix by S F Said



Lucky thinks he’s an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing – and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him.

Now he’s on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair.

Together, they must find a way to save the galaxy. For Lucky is not the only one in danger. His destiny and the fate of the universe are connected in the most explosive way . . .


I was sent this lovely copy of the hardback edition, for review by the publishers, not long after attending an event in London with S F Said as part of the Geek panel.  He was a really interesting guy to chat with and was very enthusiastic about his work so I agreed to read it as soon as I could.   It is quite a bulk of a book at nearly 500 pages, quite a lot for a YA read, but I know that it had also taken many years of writing for S F, to get it out and “right”.  I was intrigued to say the least.

Phoenix is science fiction but not in a heavy-handed mythology fashion that may put off many readers.  It follows the story of Lucky, who finds his life turned on its head with many unanswered questions when he awakes one morning to find all his bed sheets burnt away from him, but his body totally unharmed.  It triggers an adventure to seek the truth about his past and future as well as the war between humanity and the Aliens.  In-between the story there is also the extra layer of story-telling with the lovely artwork of Dave McKean to illustrate the dreamscape world and other elements of the space age battle field.  It’s rather clever and does make a huge difference on the impact of the plot and the characters tales.

I was really impressed with every aspect of the book and by just how much I enjoyed it.  Often, when presented with a story that’s so long in length, I find it a struggle read unless the content really pulls me in.  I zoomed through Phoenix and didn’t think twice about how late it was at night or how long I’d run over my lunch break.  It’s clever and packs a real punch with the action and drama.  I was really in the moment with the peril and anxiety the characters felt as they made their journey across the stars and dealing with many foes and friends.  The twists and turns through Lucky’s past, present and future shows us how minds and hearts can change with a little light shining on them and a sense of hope at the end of the tunnel.

Phoenix will tickle fans of Doctor Who and Star Wars that loves a bit of adventure with a dash of morality.  I’m dead keen to read more by S F Said to see what other adventures he has up his sleeve.

Published by Random House Children’s Books and is available here and book shops now

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