Friday, 27 December 2013

Review - Phoenix Island by John Dixon

Blurb from Goodreads: 

 The judge told Carl that one day he'd have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.

A new life. . . .

A new body. A new brain.

Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he's not sure he wants to become.

For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.

And for Carl, it's just the beginning. . .

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and John Dixon*

2.5/5 stars

Carl Freeman, a champion boxer, is an orphan who has been moved from foster home to foster home as a result of his constant fighting with bullies. When a judge sends Carl to Phoenix Island, an intense boot camp for troubled orphans, he realises that the fight for his life has only just begun.

Phoenix Island started well, capturing my attention and imagination. The characters were easy to connect with and some of them likeable. However, about half way through when Carl starts training with Stark, I found my attention slipping, as it did towards the end when I didn't really care what happened anymore.

Overall Phoenix Island started promisingly but petered off towards the end.