I’m going to start by saying this is an unsolicited and unbiased review.
Fenix Rising is a novella which focuses on the titular character Vincent Fenix and his becoming involved with a sinister group known as the Death Division. This is a quick read even for me, and I’m slow. It is the prequel to a series.
I know what you’re thinking: this looks like a Vin Disel movie. Yes, and that’s why I chose to read it. I was looking for something with a lot of action and this book didn’t let me down.
I’m going to start out with the positives.
- Fast paced action
- Well described fight sequences
- No technical issues
Being a novella, the story moves along pretty quickly. I haven’t read the remaining books as of yet, but Jeff Liboiron did a good enough job with storytelling that I would read more. It reminds me of films like Mad Max or The Fast and the Furious. This is book you read for fun, just like an action movie is for fun.
It does have a violence and gore factor. I’d say on a level of 1 being the least gore and 10 being a bloody nightmare, this story is a solid 8. If you don’t enjoy battles and swear words, I’d steer clear because this novella uses both pretty regularly.
The fight sequences are the best part of the the story. They are very well described. It’s pretty clear that Liboiron knows something about fighting. He uses very technical descriptions that make it easy to follow along. It actually makes the battles feel realistic because everyone involved is a seasoned veteran rather than a noob with a stick.
As for the book itself and the formatting, I didn’t have any difficulty reading it on my iPhone. The grammar and spelling were all fine along with paragraph and sentence structure. I didn’t notice any errors.
Now for a few notes.
- Too much tell, not enough show
- Relationships between characters are lacking
- The book is too short to have the full impact of what the author is attempting
- Confusing world building
My biggest complaint is this story struggles with “show and tell.” There’s a lot of tell and not enough show in a few areas. I realize it’s a novella, but I feel like it could have been much more in depth in certain areas.
Right from the start we get a big tell on a failed mission with the antagonists. I feel it would have been better to have been part of that mission instead of hearing about it after the fact.
Another concern is we don’t get to meet Fenix until 45% mark of the book. The story opens with the antagonists. I’m not saying that’s necessarily bad because it’s clear Liboiron was going for a dramatic entrance for his hero. I’d be fine with that in a longer book. The antagonists are pretty intense and they fill up a page nicely. Unfortunately, being a novella means that the story is over before you get to know the protagonist.
Relationship building for Fenix would be appreciated earlier. Being told who his friends are isn’t as helpful as getting to see him interact with them. Telling the reader “you should feel bad for this character because” just doesn’t cut it. I’d rather get to know the character in his natural environment to decide if he’s worth caring about.
Lastly, the world is very reminiscent of Mad Max, or at least it seems to be at first glance. It’s a dystopian world which seems to be overrun by anarchy. At the same time, there is mention of access of advanced medical care and technology which require other infrastructure such as education. Granted, those things could exist in a post-apocalyptic world, but in a world steeped in extreme violence it doesn’t seem to fit. More world building would be beneficial to have this make sense.
I think with a little rearranging and a a bit more polish, this story could really shine. If you enjoy B-Movie type action flicks and want a quick read, I recommend this book.
My overall rating for this book is 3 stars.