Phoenix Chronicles Novel
Author: Lori Handeland
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Mass Market 352 pages
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble
Summary: Though Liz Phoenix won the last battle, she's losing the supernatural war and chaos is the result. On the road again, this time with a teenager and a baby that was dropped on her doorstep, Liz is in desperate need of help. She goes to former lover Jimmy Sanducci and together they work to make things right. Of course, with chaos reigning and the loss of too many allies, nothing may ever be right again.
I picked up Chaos Bites the day it was released because I'm addicted to The Phoenix Chronicles. The characters are gritty, imperfect, and often sarcastic, but they work towards the same goal of trying to save the world. For me, the entire series has a theme of sacrifice. What will you do for love? What will you sacrifice to save the world? How much is too much? Liz Phoenix may be the leader of the light with powers beyond imagination but she still has the needs we all do: to be loved and to love in return.
My review of the series is here. Chaos Bites is the fourth book in the series. We meet a few new characters, some good, some evil. The series, and this book is dark fantasy and is not for everyone. The author takes us to places that are uncomfortable, including one scene involving sex that mimics rape. I personally thought she handled it very well within the context of the plot and what needed to be done. I'm sure others would disagree. Heroes are not perfect. They make decisions based on many things, and sometimes they make mistakes, then they pay the consequences. I love dark fantasy, especially when it's as thought provoking as Lori Handelan's books.
Chaos Bites isn't all doom and gloom, however. We meet new characters that reveal much about our heroine and her sidekicks. I'm not going to give spoilers, but I laughed out loud during the first few chapters more times than I can count. Luther, a young shapeshifter is such a cool character. I love his wit and the fact that he's a big ole shapeshifter hidden in a teenager's body with all the angst that goes along with being young. Megan, Liz's human friend, is her usual tough self, calling them as she sees them like no one else can. I love her character too, as well as her gargoyle/bartender guardian Quinn. Sawyer and Jimmy are once again making Liz miserable and aroused at the same time. Even in death Sawyer reaches out to her.
Yes, the author left us with quite a cliff hanger. Somehow though I find myself having faith that it will all work out in the end. Liz and her friends will find a way to save the day. Again.