Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling

Hi all!

The second book to a cute series.

Author: Joss Stirling
Title: Stealing Phoenix
Series: Benedict #2
Release date: 21th of September 2011
Published by: Oxford University Press
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Paranormal, Contemporary, YA
Pages: 264 in Paperback
Source: Borrowed from a local library


Phoenix belongs to the Community, a gang of thieves with paranormal powers. Yves Benedict, an American student visiting London, is her mark. But Yves turns out to be more than just a target. He is her destiny. Her soulmate. The Community owns Phoenix's past and it wants her future too. Can Phoenix save the boy she loves . . . and herself?


A heartwarmingly sweet soul mate romance with two seemingly opposites in every aspect going through initially impassable obstacles and heaps of life threatening action (not to mention some very repulsive antagonists) with the support of one of the most wonderful families in YA to finally reach the happy-ever-after that you can’t anticipate enough. Well, this is the main gist of the story, but the actual experience is much more fulfilling and enjoyable.

I took to this book a lot more than the previous one in the series. I guess mostly due to Phoenix being more appealing and engaging than Sky, even though I have to admit that the latter (and Zed) were an essential part of the present story and she impressed me with her positive attitude and support to Phe. Yves, needless to say, was nerdy yet intriguing, manly and attractive and didn’t fall into cliché as I’ve encountered with many geeky characters, he was his own person who shined long before meeting Phe.

The story structure in the most part follows the same pattern as in Finding Sky, which I found both positive, since the pattern works and is enjoyable, and a flaw, since at times I felt that I’m already too familiar with the course of the story. It goes as follows: Yves, having recognized his soul finder, discovers that Phe’s life is more complicated and strictly dependent on the whims of others to just whisk her away to start their lives together.

As with the first book, the highlight of the series is the family dynamics of the Benedict family, they’re perfect yet warm and chaotic and it’s a joy to observe their interactions and devotion towards each other. What’s more, they are all recognizable from each other and the teasing, disagreeing, banter, etc just brings out the colorful family life they lead even more.

Also liked: Placing the setting in London made the story more distinct and exciting. I really enjoyed the conference scenes, especially the first actual conversation between Phe and Yves on the topic environment. Adorable and funny.

Quibble: I did feel that the story came across too short and I would have preferred to read more on the development of Yves and Phe’s connection. It went by too quickly along with the conflict that seemed to resolve too fast. But maybe it’s just me.


Phe was a conflicting character in some ways, which also made her unique and likable. She was forced to lead a life or crime under the reign of misery and fear of the Seer, yet she confesses she wasn’t fully disgusted with the stealing she had to do. She was fearless, self-sacrificing and kind yet completely lost in the new environment she became a part of with her connection to Yves. She was in denial of him, but luckily, not annoyingly long. In general, Phe was a great heroine to root for and a cute match for Yves.

Yves – calm and collected, reasonable and a boy genius, but not dull in any way. Alone his power over fire and occasional difficulty to control it revealed that there was a lot more underneath than just being the good smart boy amongst his brothers. His complete trust in Phe was admirable and he really set all out in the name of her, trying to act as gentle and understanding of her predicament as possible. But he was also slightly awkward, shy and had many geeky traits to him to stay true to the nerdy image, which I really liked. He came across as an extremely loving boyfriend.


This second book in the Benedicts series was more enjoyable than the first, and that’s saying a lot since I was very much fond of the first one as well. It’s just a sweet YA romance and I will definitely pick up the third book in the series.

4 stars!



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