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I'll be honest the main reason I wanted to read Phoenix Island was because I had heard it was the inspiration for CBS's Intelligence. If I hadn't heard about Intelligence, this book probably wouldn't have landed on my radar. Despite the fact that it's been published by an adult imprint (Gallery Books), Phoenix Island is definitely a YA novel. Phoenix Island is just as clever and inventive as The Lord Of The Flies and The Maze Runner; this is one of the most intense dystopians novels I've ever read.
What makes Phoenix Island so frightening is the fact that the plot events are extremely plausible; I wouldn't be surprised if there is an island in some remote part of the world just like Phoenix Island. Usually sci-fi and dystopian novels don't feel authentic, they usually feel extremely feel far-fetched and unlikely, but Phoenix Island is frighteningly real.
Though Carl has his fair share of faults, he is a character that I rooted right from the start. I admired Carl's loyalty, ambition, and unrelenting sense of hope throughout this novel. I also loved the way Dixon had written Rivera, Stark, and Ross. Stark is one of the most terrifying and despicable villains I've read about recently; I was worried for Carl's sake whenever he was with Stark. I always love an underdog and so, Ross has to be one of my favorite characters in this novel. Ross might not be as brave or as strong as Carl, but I appreciated his gutsiness. The only character I felt a bit disappointed with was Octavia because I felt like there was so much more to her character than Dixon let on.
There's no denying that Phoenix Island pays homage to the classic Lord Of The Flies by William Golding and I loved the nods to the everlasting classic. Even though Phoenix Island feels like it's inspired LOTF, PI is an extremely original and intriguing novel. John Dixon has written such an atmospheric novel and he did an excellent job at making the island feel so authentic. Phoenix Island raises so many important questions about good vs. evil, society's treatment of criminals, and power.
Phoenix Island is extremely well-written and fast-packed making this an extremely enjoyable read. Some components of the plot are on the predictable side, but truthfully it didn't bother me at all. I watched the TV show trailer after finishing this book and it definitely looks as if the adaptation will be very different from it's source material. I'm really hoping that Intelligence lives up to the high standards that John Dixon set with Phoenix Island.