The Phoenix Project by C.A. Gray, the third in the Liberty Box series, was one of the most satisfying endings to an excellent series. Well written – well paced, surprising but not disappointing, well plotted, and with all the right folks surviving at then end… it was perfect. Too often in this genre the last book, especially the ending to the last book… well… stinks. But that is not the case here. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful book and series!
There were all the right twists and turns, the right balance of characters and action. There was the right balance of romance and plot too – the characters cared for each other, but it wasn’t so totally sappy that the romance overshadowed everything (and turned the main characters into a bunch of whining selfish obnoxious teenagers – and I think finding that balance is phenomenally hard and hats of to the author for pulling it off throughout this series). It was not needlessly dragged out just to get the page count up – or worse, to stretch a fourth (or more) book into what was a well planned trilogy. It was great reading on the elliptical machine on the gym – I couldn’t put it down and that meant extra workout time.
I have struggled a little with the YA-dystopian sub-genre lately. They seem to be well written in the beginning, or at least interesting enough to hold my attention, and then ‘wham’ something happens that makes me regret having read the entire series. That was not the case here. I was so happy with the way the story ended, the fate of each of the characters felt right, and it didn’t feel contorted or as if the author didn’t know how to end things so the characters ended up being ridiculous (**cough, cough** Divergent **cough, cough**).
The other thing that this series, and especially this book, illustrated is the power of suggestion, the power of brain washing, the power of only hearing one side of a story, the power of the mind. It is so very hard to re-train the brain, even when what was learned in the first place was not real. It takes great strength of will and character to be open to other perspectives, even when the other perspective is the reality. This book never looses sight of the broader plot, never stretches things so that the next steps taken by each character doesn’t feel logical (even if at times it was frustrating to watch the characters make the choices they were making), and most of all, met the expectations set by the first 2 wonderful installments of this series. It was awesome and wonderful, and I would read it again.
In my book this author is on a roll – 2 wonderfully delightful series – with not a single let down in 6 books! And, it is not often that is the case. Thanks for the read C.A. Gray! Keep up the excellent work!
p.s. I received a free copy in advance in exchange for an honest review.
p.p.s. I think the cover for this particular installment of the trilogy is breathtaking and the best cover, for either this or the Piercing the Veil (although the latest for those books are nice too) series, yet!