Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: Phoenix Island by John Dixon

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...

Release Date: January 7, 2014

My Review:

I don't want to make this review sound like I'm embracing stereotypes or anything, but this book would be fantastic for boys. There's so much action and punching and blood that it's safe to say that a young version of Stallone could play in it with no problems. In fact, there was so much action and fighting lingo that I had some minor issues knowing what the terms meant. Regardless, I'm totally psyched about this book becoming a TV show. Although I'm not sure why they changed the name to Intelligence, or why the creators couldn't stick to young adult characters. 

Carl is a character that you don't see everyday in YA books. He stands up to bullies with no thoughts for himself and he's pretty selfless throughout the entire story. He's also like a kick-butt Four with the attitude of  Katniss. Octavia, the love interest, wasn't all that appealing to me. Dixon never really delved into her character as much as I wanted him to, the same can be said for a lot of the side characters in the story. Also, I know why Octavia's random POV's were put into the book, but I felt like they just intruded on Carl's narration.

 The beginning of the book had me seriously wanting to know what the heck was going on, why these people were doing what they were doing, etcetera, however, as I got into the middle of the book I felt a little bored with the plot. Things just weren't moving along very quickly. But it all picked up by the end. And even though most of the ending was predictable, I still really enjoyed it. 

I have no idea if this book is going to have a sequel, and while I might not be foaming at the mouth to get my hands on a copy, I am excited to see what's going to happen to Carl next.

 *Note: I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley. This in no way altered my opinion/review.

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