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Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven [arc review]

This was nice and well done fantasy romance. It was my first time reading anything by Grace Draven and I enjoyed it. The romance takes a little while to get going but it is worth it when it does!
Blurb
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.


3.8 Stars

There were some aspects of the book that reminded me of Hunger Games at the beginning. I liked Hunger Games, so that wasn't a bad thing for me... there are villages and girls are sent as sacrifices (tributes) every year; the man have to fight to death like gladiators while the people of the capital watch...

Gilene is a fire witch and she survives being burn alive every year because of her gifts. She can also cast a disguise on herself so no one knows her village sends the same girl every year. That is until the gladiator who can see past the disguise notices her and blackmails her into helping him escape. Gladiators are slaves to empire and he wants nothing more than to return home.

I love a good enemy to lovers story line and Gilene and Azarion although enemies -because he essentially kidnaps her- have a bond from the very beginning, they are both slaves to the empire's brutality. It was not surprising they ended up together. 

The background story was well written and well put together, there was more than enough to keep me entertain and intrigued. The magical elements were well incorporated into the story and the plot as a whole made sense.

The downside to me is that more than once I wanted the plot to just move... the first half of the book was rather slow. And although I loved the romance I had this feeling they hated each other one day and loved each other the next. The first time he asks her something instead of ordering her to do something they fall in love. Say what? It took me off guard. Not enough to not continuing loving them though... They were great together!

All in all a great book and I will read from her again.

Find the book at: GoodReads - Amazon - BN 

*this book was kindly provided by the publisher.



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