Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Phoenix Burning by Bryony Pearce




2016, Key Stage 3, ages 10-13, lower secondary, teen 

Toby and Ayla seek inverters for their ship. They have to infiltrate a sect of sun-worshippers to obtain them.  They don’t and can’t quite trust each other. Their relationship is complex but they must work together.    

Bryony Pearce presents us with a world that seems something of fantasy, is somewhat dystopian but has some elements with which we are familiar.  We have black bin bags, mentions of the Catholic religion and a real place is named: Gozo. The sect of the sun-worshippers seems viable. Is there something too of the near future? Something has happened that has made the sea too salty and you really shouldn’t swim in it.        
    
The stakes are high, the relationships complex, and there is possibly a budding romance.  Toby finds his mother but she is also to some extent the enemy. The novel is bordering on being suitable of the young adult reader.  

The story is certainly fast-paced.

Note that the text is blocked, uses a sophisticated font but is also double-spaced. Chapters are of average length.   

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