The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise
by Bob Collopy
Genre: YA/Adult Dystopian
Release Date: July 21st 2017
The Department of Smoke
The Best Shall Rise
New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.
Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.
For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?
This is a very interesting book and so complex from many points of view. We have treason, a corrupt political system, people who believe (blindly sometimes) in it and to top it all, we have a mix of reality with philosophical concepts. It is a story that forces us to think, not only to imagine.
We have a world in which perfection is needed. Only the best, the beautiful are accepted and it is an honor to be among the chosen ones. Nature may be the worst enemy, but are the leaders true in their words? We have characters that are part of a revolutionary movement and ones that want to become more involved in the current system. Many believe, few are able to see the truth.
For me this was not a simple book. It was not the kind of story I could fly through. It captured my interest; it made me pay attention to the events as I felt I did not grasp their meaning to the fullest. Probably having so many aspects and layers and characters with different paths (Steve – the revolutionary guy, Leslie – willing to go with the system in order not to complicate her life, believers in the system and so many others), I would have expected to find out more of what is beyond this New San Francisco and more details about the storms. I expect this will come in the next book.
So with all my likes and dislikes, I cannot offer less than 4 stars to a book that made me spend quality time and gave me reasons to use my mind and think about what’s happening around us. I wanted a book like this and it came at the right time. I do recommend it, just note that is not a book that can be easily read. It needs time and devotion. Happy Reading!