Review Blog

Jun 13 2012

The Phoenix Files: Fallout by Chris Morphew

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2012. ISBN: 9781921502439.
Recommended. This is the fifth book in The Phoenix Files series and like its predecessors, the action is fast paced and almost unabated. The clock continues to count down at an alarming rate and as the story begins, there are only 14 days left. What is intriguing about this series (and this book) is that the clock is now ticking on more than one level: it is not just signalling the end of the world, it is also ticking down towards the birth of Jordan's brother or sister as well as Luke's likely murder. So the anxiety levels have been significantly raised for both the central characters and the readers.
The main focus of concern is still the future of Phoenix, and the wider world, with the imminent release of Tabitha. But there remains the daily problem of survival especially whilst living at such close quarters in an underground shelter. As Jordan and Luke are all too aware, just because everyone in the shelter shares a common enemy, this does not mean their motives, or the actions they are willing to use, are similarly shared. There is a constant undercurrent of distrust among those living in the underground forces, a constant fear of betrayal.
Perhaps one of the minor disappointments of the novel is that the focus on action and intrigue leaves little time for exploration of some of the moral dilemmas which are raised in the book, in particular the fine line between justice and revenge. This means that sometimes the characters seem just a little too one dimensional.
However, few readers will be disappointed in the writer's ability to spin an exciting story: just as one mystery is resolved in the story another arises, so the reader is constantly being tantalised anew. Morphew's sense of pace and his ability to provide a cliff-hanger ending is to be celebrated because it has certainly produced an exciting series and this instalment is no exception.
Deborah Marshall

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