Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Phoenix Island- John Dixon

Title: Phoenix Island
Author: John Dixon
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: 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. . .
Review: I received this ARC free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was not what I was expecting at all. For most of the book I was utterly disgusted at how the children were treated by these monstrous adults. How did not one single person outside of the island know what was going on there? The judges who sent the kids there never wondered what had happened to them? This book reminded me so much of Lord of the Flies but with a military twist and adults present. I did find Phoenix Island to be very graphic and definitely for older young adults. John Dixon was excellent at his descriptions, I could see the gore. No matter what atrocities were happening in this book I just could not put it down until I found out how it ended.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed Lord of the Flies.and just a general warning, this isn't a read for the faint of heart. I so hope that there will be a couple of sequels, I need to know what happens to Carl and Octavia.

About this author

I'm the author of PHOENIX ISLAND (formerly known as DISSIDENT), coming January 7th, 2014 from Simon & Schuster / Gallery Books. First in a series of sci fi thrillers for teens, PHOENIX ISLAND is the basis for the upcoming CBS TV series INTELLIGENCE, starring Josh Holloway (LOST), Marg Helgenberger (CSI), and Meghan Ory (ONCE UPON A TIME), which also debuts January 7th.

Before all this dream-come-true stuff happened, I taught English at Springton Lake Middle School, where the course hid under the bland name "language arts" and where I was blessed with the coolest students of all time. I miss them now that I'm writing full time, but the constant companionship of my excellent dog, Scout, is powerful compensation.

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