!!Spoilers in this review!!
Synopsis from GoodReads:
When Sophie Ballester and her twin brothers Sam and Todd are uprooted from their home and sent to a remote boarding school run by their Great Aunt Ness, they stumble upon a hidden room that holds a secret—a secret that will change everything.
The people of Phoenix Holt are not what they seem.
In fact, nothing is.
Secrets in Phoenix is full of magically badassery, suspense and an adventure worth sticking around for!
I don’t even know how to start talking about this book, but I can tell you this: give it a chance! When I first started reading this book, I was thinking ‘Am I going to like this?’ and I was worried I was going to give up on it, (At least I’m honest right!?) But Gabriella had me at the vent. I WOULD CRAWL THROUGH THAT VENT! In anything I read or watch, if there is a secret passage or vent or anything like that, I kind of internally fangirl at myself. I’m a wierdo like that. But anyways…
The world it is set in very much reminds me of the surrounding areas where I actually live, obviously there is no Divellions or Phoenixes unfortunately, but the scenary is completely on point. The little cottage I loved, I could imagine everything in my mind both outside of the cottage and its interior-in my mind-reminded me a little like the creepy house in A Series of Unfortunate Events. (My mind is very strange like that) Just like the Academy reminded me so much of Crunchem Hall Elementary School in Matilda, so I kept worrying that something was going to jump out and scare me! Also, there is even a little place over the North Yorkshire Moores that has animals made out of wood in the forest, so my mind automatically went to them when Sophie, Sam and Todd are walking through the forest at the start. I was grinning like a crazy person because of this; if there is something I can relate to like this, I end up loving it all the more!
The main character Sophie, at first I’m not completely sure what I thought of her, she is skeptical at times, but also believes everything. That I related with her because of, like me she believes things even if a little part is telling her not to, and to leave it alone. However, the most important thing I love about her, and always love in books like this, is her discovery of what she really is. Not going to lie, I think I would be prancing around waving my arms looking for sparks if someone dropped the bomb that I was a witch. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?! (Minus the hunting Divellions!)
Jaxon I ended up glued to through the entire book, he became the character I waited on in scenes and wanted to know who he was and what was going on. I loved that he didn’t speak because it added to his allure and mystery, but when he did, it was like a huge bubble opened up for me, because it was like he’d found something worth talking for again. So in the end I was very pleased and intrigued to find out who he was and what had happened to him, not mention finding out that he’s this badass woodcutter phoenix that could knock seven bells out of you with the flick of a finger. Bravo, Jaxon!
The twins, Sam and Todd, I honestly thought were written so well. It’s very rare I’ve read twins in books, but these two were exactly how I imagine twins to be; one trying to better the other, whilst complaining and taking sly digs at each others appearance and personality. Yet they are so much alike at the same time; Sam did very well to be the snarky one, but as always I was drawn to the quiet one, Todd. I practically highfived my phone when Ness had said it was Todd she would have to watch out for. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE US QUIET LOT!
As a quiet one myself, I knew as soon as Todd saw Ness’s secret room that he would be the one snooping back there. Purely because it would be something I would do. I was Todd in this story completely. (Even the whole Divellion business, along with the shouting at Sam.)
One of my favourite things in this book was the backstory behind it all and how the grandparents all come into it, how the town is isolated and basically how life ended up the way it is in the Holt. Though I did keep thinking; Sophie is techincally kissing her Grandad’s best friend… in everyday life that would be wierd! But it is acceptable here! DARE CHALLENGE ME!
Another thing I loved was the bonds they share, and I don’t mean brotherly and sisterly bonds. I mean as in how Sam always knows where Sophie is, how Sophie learns her bond is to Todd, and lastly with the Phoenixes. I love how they practically are gods (Not in the sense Reuben says it, WHO IS AN ABSOLUTE ASS), but they move as one person when together-I was in awe when reading the archery scenes. They kept reminding me of the Unsullied from Game of Thrones; there soul purpose is to protect the Holt and the witches within it. Just like they will kill a Divellion without hestitation or mercy.
To finish my review all I can say is BUY THIS BOOK! You will not not not not regret it, it’s such a unique and amazing story; Gabriella has done an amazing job making an amazing world and magically badass characters. It’s a story jame packed with action, magic, suspense and it is a world with characters that draws you in, making you feel like you’re there experiencing it all with them.
***** 5/5 stars