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Phoenix Flame by Sara Holland

While the first book in the Havenfall series was adequate, I hoped Sara Holland’s sequel, Phoenix Flame, would focus more on what I liked and less on what I didn’t. Unfortunately, she doesn’t. Phoenix Flame is a rather boring sequel with nothing really new to learn.

In fact, there isn’t much of anything in Phoenix Flame. The characters undergo no major development. Maddie continues to make highly emotional and less rational decisions. The love story faces trouble, as any good love story in a trilogy does during the sequel. Even the time we get to spend in one of the other realms proves to be less than interesting.

Phoenix Flame includes one eye-rolling reveal after another. While Ms. Holland expects these reveals to be major shocks, I found them highly predictable and not at all the game-changers they should be. If anything, they prove how formulaic the entire story is.

I went into Phoenix Flame hoping for more maturity and more mystery. I definitely did not get more maturity. It is as if Maddie learned nothing from her previous experiences. I also did not get more mystery. While we do get to spend time in one of the other realms, what happens there could occur just as easily on Earth. The story shifts from a power struggle between the realms to a search-and-rescue with no discernible ending. After two books, I don’t know where the finale will go, and I have no desire to find out.

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