BOOK REVIEW | Finding the Phoenix by Caitlin O’Connor

Title: Finding the Phoenix (Celestial Talisman Book One)

Author: Caitlin O’Connor

Genre: Fantasy

Published: 12th April 2016

Format: ebook

Rating:  star (1)star (1)star (1)star (1)star



“It takes great courage to open your heart to the world when it seems to do such little good, but you cannot let pain and fear dictate you. People will always hurt each other, but it doesn’t mean they do it intentionally, or that they cannot redeem themselves afterwards.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

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 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.

But the Circle isn’t the haven she thought it might be. The fanatic Handmaidens of the Skaath Diurga are gathering strength and only the Awakened can keep the shadow creatures at bay. When one of the Guardians is killed, 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.

Finding the Phoenix is the first instalment in the Celestial Talisman sequence, an adult Urban Fantasy series featuring dark, psychological themes. If you like multifaceted, compelling characters and unusual settings then this novel is sure to thrill you.

(Please note that this book contains strong language)


Firstly, thank you very much to the author for sending me an ebook copy of Finding the Phoenix in exchange for an honest review!

A Morgue rescue, a celestial battle within our own world, and a haven for those Awakened with powers to fight in it – Finding the Phoenix is an epic fantasy full of action, tension and emotion!

After dying, and re-awakening, Heaven is thrown into a new world, learning to become the Circle’s Wielder of Spirit. Mentally disturbed and physically abused, Heaven faces scars not just of the physical kind, and the author does a very good job of bringing up some very sensitive and serious issues, and portraying them well. This book does not gloss over these issues but, rather, blends them into the characters and story, creating characters who become real and raw beings.

The majority of this book follows Heaven’s training with the circle. Although I sometimes struggled to follow the complex training terms and creatures’ names and references, I found it all very interesting to read. I am sure that reading the sequel would make me far less confused! And there’s also a guide at the back for any South African phrases you may not understand, which was great!

I really enjoyed the other key characters in Finding the Phoenix too. Blake really grew on me, particularly towards the end, with his care and protection towards Heaven. However, Alistair takes the prize for most interesting and intriguing character of the story! There’s still a lot we don’t know about him by the end of this book, and I feel that he will definitely surprise us throughout the series. I found myself very attached to his character and story, probably the most of all the characters, so I’m curious to see where his storyline will progress.

There’s also a short playlist at the back of the book, which I loved. I write most scenes to music, and associate many books with certain songs I was listening to at the time, and so I absolutely love it when an author gives you an insight into what they listened to whilst writing.

Overall, I found Finding the Phoenix to be a very interesting, unique and fascinating book, with much still to learn about this intriguing world. I can see this series building up to an epic, tense, edge-of-your-seat battle that I can’t wait to read!



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