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Phoenix Unbound

The Fallen Empire Series, Book 1
Written by: Grace Draven
Narrated by: Katharine McEwan
Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 39.48
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Publisher's Summary

In this USA Today best-selling novel, a woman with power over fire and illusion and the enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy.

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. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire - and burn once more.

©2018 Grace Draven (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator spoke too slow but was otherwise fine.

I changed the playback speed to 1.3x and I could listen to it without getting impatient. The editor should have fixed the authors overuse of adjectives like 'revelled' (4x) and extraordinary, to make her use a more varied set, but otherwise the story was decent and entertaining.

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A great read!

I loved this story! This the 1st book by Grace I’ve read and I’m looking forward to reading more. If you love gladiators and witches, this story is for you.

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  • DeRae
  • 2018-09-26

Grace Draven is a master at world building!!

I loved it! Of course I love all of her books and have recommended them to all of my friends who are avid readers and they've loved them too. This one will be no exception. I didn't want it to be over. I wanted more.

At the beginning I was so made at the hero. He was kind, gentle, and caring but was selfish. You understand his reasons but you just want the smack him!.

Minor spoiler - don't read if you don't want to know anything about the book - I loved that the author gave the heroine true emotions over being taken by force by the hero. I read so many books where she is kidnapped and just instantly fall for the hero and forgives him immediately. In my mind I'm going...really? She was mad and she let him know it. She tried to escape and made no promises that she wouldn't do it again. She was genuine with her emotions. As was the hero.

So worth the credit. The narrator was excellent! She was easy to listen to and didn't grate on my nerves with accents like others sometimes do.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • IreneMBBT
  • 2018-09-27

Taste of epic

If you’ve read Draven, you know this is an automatic Yes! It has the characters with gentle dignity, innate nobility, commitment and determination; who are called upon to live through, or bear witness to, events that are greater than anything they dreamed. I was satisfied at the end with a quietly happy HEA.
The book details on Amazon and Audible is descriptive and accurate enough to determine if you’re interested in the basic story.
From what I’ve read in the last ten years, this reminds me most of Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah series, or Lois McMaster Bujold’s Curse of Chalion/Paladin of Souls/World of the Five Gods -or- Sharing Knife series. I’ve read and enjoyed Draven’s Radiance and Eidolon; after this book, Master of Crows has just moved up on my reading wish list.
McEwan does a very good job with narration.
Happily recommend on all levels!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer OBrien
  • 2018-10-03

Between a rock and a hard place

Listening to this story made getting the work done fun. I spent a few days saying things like “I can’t watch that show with you. I need to do yard work... dishes... walk the dog (and listen to my book).” When the last word was spoken I loved the ending but hated that the story was over.
The protagonists are both caught between a rock and a hard place for much of the story. I’ve read this theme play out before but the shifts in pressure and character development made it feel new. The character’s backstories are fraught with terrible times but once they join forces willingly and not, their lives change for the better. Due to the hardships they persevered, I was emotionally invested in the first chapters so their adventures, battles, trials, happy moments and each success felt very satisfying. The love developed at a slow burn that got pretty hot. I also appreciated that if there was no adventure in the journey the reader didn’t have to travel with the characters over every hill and dale.
I enjoyed this story and definitely recommend it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • J. C. Schmidt
  • 2018-10-10

Nothing special. Highly predictable

I didn't hate this book and I didn't love it. It was kind of boring. I didn't find the characters compelling. The first third was the best. Some character development but overall not enough to make me feel connected.

I hate the "man abuses/abducts/rapes the woman, they fall in love" thing. A trope that should die.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • catkit
  • 2019-02-09

Complete World and Strong Characters

The world created by Grace Draven was complete and amazing. I could hear the horses and smell the ashes. The story was also enveloping, although it took me a while to get into it. By the end I cared about these characters and wished I could stay in touch with them.

The ending felt abrupt. Yes, the story was over, but it needed an epilogue. I can't say more without spoilers, but this was disappointing.

I was also disappointed that there weren't any lighter moments. Yes, the plot overall was dark, but I bought this because one of my favorite books is Radiance. In that book the H/h often good-naturally teased each other, amusing each other and the reader.

The narration was not great. Acceptable, but her tone and cadence was similar throughout. I couldn't clearly distiguish voices of many of the characters, but didn't have an issue following the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AMC Izzi
  • 2019-04-13

Couldn’t stop listening

This novel captured my attention in the first 5 minutes of listening it was obviously well written and the narrator did a fantastic job. The struggles of the heroine being stolen away and traveling a trying path yet she never wavers in her determination to what she views as her duty. The hero from an unlikely source quickly worms his way in to your heart as he works his way into the the heart of the heroine. I downloaded the book on a whim because I wanted something new to listen to and have discovered a new favorite that I will undoubtedly listen to time and time again

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  • Michael Tuccillo
  • 2019-02-14

Great storyline, but…


I enjoyed the storyline but the narrator did not have good alternative voices. Also, the writer was definitely too much into feelings and guys just don’t think like that. In that way, it was definitely written by a woman.

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  • K
  • 2019-02-06

Another great story, worth it!

good plot, believable action, narration easy on the ears, Draven & McEwan take me away...

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-02-05

So good!

This is a wonderful story. The ending will have you gripping your seat in anticipation. I could not put this book down. I just had to finish. Grave Draven writes wonderful stories and creates memorable relationships and this book is no exception.

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  • nicole
  • 2019-01-28

Great way to escape

I don’t think I can wait for audible to have the next book. Great characters. Good story and world building. I was sorry when it ended.