Author: Grace Draven
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Ace Books
Fallen Empire Book #1
Review Copy Source: NetGalley
A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.
Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.
But this year is different.
Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion--and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.
To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire--and burn once more.
PHOENIX UNBOUND wasn't only unique, it was captivating.
Both Gilene and Azarion have been through hell. Gilene is used year after year to save her village even though she suffers greatly for it and Azarion is forced to fight to the death while getting beaten and raped in between battles. I really enjoyed getting to know both characters and enjoyed watching them grow together while they navigated their freedom and captivity. Their depth of development was incredible and really let me fall into their story.
The romance between the two isn't instant, nor is it easy. It's both tragic and beautiful. It's very slow burn, but also all encompassing.
The feels in PHOENIX UNBOUND are bountiful. The battles were fierce. The characters were captivating and I had no trouble loving everything about it. I'm excited to read more about the characters and the world of the Fallen Empire series and plan on adding book two to my wishlist as soon as I see mention of it.
I gave it 5/5 stars
* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.