March 23, 2022

ARC REVIEW: Wake of the Phoenix (Artifice of Power Book 1) by Chelsea Harper

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Wake of the Phoenix by Chelsea Harper. This epic fantasy is available now on Audible - read on for more details. 

Wake of the Phoenix (Artifice Of Power Book 1) by Chelsea Harper
Rating: 3.5 Stars (4 Stars for Story, 3 Stars for Audiobook Performance)
Release Date: January 5, 2022 (Audiobook)
Format: Audiobook (Code from Author)
Publisher: Self-Published

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Chelsea Harper’s Wake of the Phoenix is an exciting start to a new fantasy series. Complete with amazing worldbuilding, an engaging storyline, and wonderful characters (plus a couple of minor issues here and there), I would recommend it to fans of epic fantasy or high fantasy. 

The worldbuilding in this book is fantastic! It was riveting to learn more about all the different layers of the world in Wake of the Phoenix - from the setting to the very visible royals (the high lord and his court) to the less obvious but no less powerful figures like the Rogue Baron. I thought it was interesting how the author incorporated LGBTQ+ issues into the storyline and worldbuilding (same-sex pairings are outlawed).  Out of all the characters in the book, Niamsha was my favorite. I enjoyed getting to witness her growth and development over the course of the story. 

Despite my love of the storyline, the premise, and the characters, I was unable to give the book a full five stars mainly because of the pacing. It was so slow at the beginning of the story. It might just be a personal preference, but I prefer it when the action starts much earlier than it did in this book. It's never a good thing when a reader is questioning whether or not they want to stick out a read long enough to possibly get to the point where the real action starts. I hope that future books in the Artifice of Power saga will have a much faster and more balanced pace. 

With regards to the audiobook, the narrator Scott Fleming produced a solid performance. It did the job, and I could tell when certain characters were speaking but unfortunately there was nothing particularly noteworthy or memorable. His speaking cadence is a bit slower, so I wasn’t able to use a 1.15x listening speed like I usually do. This aspect didn’t influence my rating of the book, but I did want to make a note of this as many I know usually speed up the narrations when they listen to audiobooks. Another pet peeve was that the narrator repeated the book title and author before every chapter - it felt excessive, and pulled me out of the story a bit with those pauses. 

Overall, an entertaining and convincing start to a new fantasy series. I would recommend it to those who enjoy high/epic fantasy books, akin to Wheel of Time or Lord of the Rings. Thank you to the author and Shannon at Reads and Reels Book Tours for providing me with a complimentary audiobook review copy of the book. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Wake of the Phoenix immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed Wake of the Phoenix. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Mentions of Rape (Not On-Page), Violence, Foul Language, Torture

About the Book

War Hero. Thiefmaster's apprentice. Traitors. Every title comes with a price.

Arkaen is a gods-damned saint. He sacrificed his childhood innocence fighting for the beleaguered rebellion in a civil war and relinquished a comfortable life with the man he loves to reclaim his place as high lord from corrupt nobles. Now, a hidden enemy is manipulating his lower lords into talk of rebellion, including the powerful Rogue Baron who is slowly swaying the city into questioning every move Arkaen makes.

With the help of his near-omniscient lover's gift of foresight, Arkaen finds a potential ally in Niamsha, a reluctant thief trying to pay for her brother’s education. But Niamsha owes an insurmountable debt to the mysterious leader of her thieves guild and failing to pay means death—for her entire family. When her guild leader demands she join forces with the Rogue Baron himself, she finds herself caught in a political battle beyond her skills. Torn between protecting her family and following her conscience, Niamsha doesn't know who to trust.

If Arkaen can win Niamsha's loyalty, he might just prevent a second civil war and the destruction of everything he fought to protect. Or he might get them all killed.

About the Author

Chelsea Harper is the author and publisher of Wake of the Phoenix, book one of the Artifice of Power Saga. She lives in Colorado with her husband, daughter, two dogs, one cat, and countless imaginary friends. When she isn’t writing she enjoys games, from World of Warcraft to Elder Scrolls to tabletop RPGs and even the occasional board game.

This tour was organized by Reads and Reels Book Tours. 
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