Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy/New Adult
“Descended from humans and a vanished race of elemental beings, only the Awakened know the truth about our world. Only they can hold back the fanatic Handmaidens of the Skaath Diurga--shadow creatures born from an ancient betrayal.
However, the Circle of Awakened is incomplete without the Child of Heaven: a human destined to Wield the Spirit element. Before she can Awaken, she must die.
Heaven has no memory of dying, except the experience of death itself. It’s that memory, of a place called ‘The Between’, that convinces her the man claiming to be her Guardian might not be completely crazy. Besides, even crazy is better than the life she’s leaving behind to be the Circle’s Wielder of Spirit. All she has to worry about now is her training, and figuring out how to fit in with the Awakened.
Tragedy strikes when one of the Guardians is killed, and ulterior motives thrust Heaven into the middle of the Circle’s quest for justice. She’ll have to decide just how far she’ll go for the people she’s come to care about.”
“Caitlin O’Connor searches for truth in fiction, and drags her characters through hell to find it. A proud eccentric who aspires to be omniscient, she enjoys listening to music, trying to understand physics, and admiring unusual works of art. She lives in South Africa with her son and a malevolent lovebird that requires daily libations of blood.” Learn more about her at her website, or visit her Facebook page.
I grabbed this quote from Ms. O’Conner’s website: “Reality is my greatest influence as a writer, and people my chief inspiration. I write to explore that enigmatic alchemy that exists between light and dark, and to search for beauty in the dark corners of the soul.” Trust me, she accomplishes this in her debut novel, Finding the Phoenix.
Heaven, Vinny for short, is a complicated and interesting character. We don’t know what her real name was before she died, but learn quickly she comes from an abusive background. She is very guarded about her past and it will take time to fully know her. I do like what I have seen so far though. While she is insecure, she is learning to be more assertive and to trust as she becomes more confident.
The premise of the plot is good versus evil with a load of twists thrown in to complicate the story line. Shades of gray are explored in fundamental and personal ideals. The Handmaidens and shadow creatures are frightening and devastatingly evil. One of the things I enjoyed most in this story is the development of relationships’ between the Guardians and their Wielders. Ms. O’Conner has an excellent handle on all of her players. Heaven has a lot to learn about herself, and I believe the Circle isn’t even aware of the reaches of her abilities. I am enjoying the roller-coaster ride so far and can’t wait to see how things develop in this series.
I would recommend Finding the Phoenix to all readers who enjoy Urban Fantasy with interesting, complicated characters.
Finding the Phoenix is the first book in The Celestial Talisman Series. It contains strong language and British and/or South African English spelling conventions.
I encountered no significant proofing errors.
Rating: ***** Five stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Print Length: 235 pages