Title: The Rise of the Phoenix (Daimones Trilogy #3)
Author: Massimo Marino
Genres: Dystopia | Post-Apocalyptic | Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction
Length: 320 pages | 4556 locations
Ninety years have passed since the events of book 1. Dan has survived many of his loved ones and is now a representative of the human race. He decides it is time for justice to come to the people of Eridu.
So, I have now reached the conclusion of the Daimones series, and I have to tell you, these are three very different books.
I would say Book One is more character oriented. We meet a bunch of regular folks who are faced with a post-apocalyptic scenario where, for a long time, they believe they may be the only humans left, and struggle to survive. The book ends with major revelations bestowed upon Dan and other Selected about the motives behind humanity’s culling. The Moîrai felt this action was necessary in order to prevent humanity from self-destructing for the third time.
So Book Two, Once Humans, describes Dan and other Selected trying to figure out what the Moîrai are hiding from them, while trying to deal with vicious acts of sabotage. I would say it is very much plot oriented. The new humans find out that what they were told was not the full truth and that there were other agendas taking place that led to the killing of so many humans. In fact, the genocide was most likely unnecessary.
Now, in Book Three, Dan and the other Selected are even more suspicious of the Moîrai and other races in the Confederation and will do whatever it takes to take their own place and have the alien races respect Eridu, owning up to what they did.
A long time has passed since the events of the second book. While some main episodes are mentioned, like the passing of Dan’s loved ones, I wanted to know more about them, in detail. So I guess what I would really like is a tv show based on this trilogy, eheh, or maybe some novellas in between the main books.
Most of all, I was at times very bored because of all the ship battles, and sadly have to admit I skimmed through some sections because I was just not being able to focus and it already took me so long to finish the book…
The fact is I had not expected that much war. I felt that the large majority of the book took place in space, either in battle or planning one, and that is just not my cup of tea.
Obviously, if you are a fan of space operas, you will enjoy this book a lot more than I did. Personally, I wanted more character and world development.
Most of all, I wanted to have felt more.
For instance, I would have liked to see small details like Dan being sad about Joshua’s diamond not going into the memorial stone because he could not gather his remains from space. And I felt some details were necessary to make the characters more human – or rather more relatable -, perhaps stuff like this playful banter, for instance: “Well, I knew it was a mistake missing the Evasive Maneuvers lessons!” “Aha, but she was a hottie, Glenn, and -“. I did not even get to see much of Joshua but somehow ended up liking him more than other more main characters.
I also wanted to know more about how things progressed in terms of humanity’s place amongst the other races. I mean, I know the Moîrai helped the humans, and that they were technically more than humans since they were genetically modified, but they went from almost complete decimation, having no infra-structures or even knowledge to rely upon, to being able to learn all sorts of alien technology and even being better than the Moîrai at certain things, and it just felt abrupt to me.
I read about doors that announce who is on the other side, walls that dilate under the characters’ command, furniture which can form from the floor up and hide back down, not to mention the battleships and suddenly they are measuring time in ‘time units’ and I have no idea how long that is; I guess I would have liked to know more about how all that worked, and how the humans struggled, or not, to learn these things that were so different from what they were used to and adjust to them, even if just the tiniest references.
There were particular things that I was just baffled to know and wish I could have been given a proper explanation instead of being expected to just believe it, which is a feeling I got a lot throughout the book, like why the humans were even allowed to be the only ones to produce the drug everyone wants, or how on earth they managed to infiltrate other races, looking like them instead of humans (shame that wasn’t explored further, by the way).
Now I am perfectly aware that this is all very common in science fiction. We are given amazing worlds and never really get told how they came to be. But I guess it is more difficult to accept because these guys started off as humans and were genetically transformed into something else. They weren’t introduced to me, the reader, as such. For me, this whole process of the transformation is one of the most interesting aspects of the Daimones trilogy, and I would have loved to see it further explored. In the end, it became sort of a these people were this and now they’re that sort of thing, and everything in between that could have been so awesome to know was just lost.
Even the Moîrai themselves always felt like gods to humans, the sheer way they spoke and the posture they maintained screamed that, and in this book their thoughts and reactions seem very human.
There were certain things that, even though I never knew how they came to be, kept me very entertained. I love the idea of a memnosphere, for instance – a sort of a biological computer capable of retaining someone’s thought process, thinking and speaking as the person would have – although I cannot for the life of me understand how these things could be harvested from someone after they died. This opens the door to all sorts of metaphysical discussions, particularly about where a soul goes when we die…
Massimo Marino creates stunning visual and olfactory descriptions, and suspense quite masterfully. There are things he wrote that kept me on the edge of my seat and I just could not wait to know what that was all about. However, I did find the resolution of these mysteries a bit unclear, and so I was left with a bit of a bittersweet feeling. I wanted a nicely clean wrap-up of the whole thing, something that clearly connected the dots previously mentioned.
Example: At some point we are told things like We had, though, one advantage, if it worked… and The scientists called it a weakness. In the Council, we saw in it a feature to use at our advantage, instead; we welcomed its discovery as a godsend., if this is leaked, Moîrai might shut down the whole Initiative and I for one never could tell with 100% clarity whether they were referring to the fact that the humans had altered the drug, or that they could create wormholes without physically piloting the ship, or even the whole infiltrating other races thingie, or that thing in the second to last chapter about being able to bend time, or something else entirely. So that is what I mean about not getting a full resolution to the mystery that was previously set up. It’s like there are all these things happening, each a revelation in itself, and it was hard to focus on what goes where and when. I am pretty sure the answer to this particular issue is option #2 because pilot symbiosis is mentioned (even though I had forgotten by then and only know this because I reread that bit), but I would have liked everything about the subject to be clearly stated, especially why anyone would consider it a weakness.
I thought some things were a bit repetitive, particularly in how the characters acted – frowning or snorting too much, that kind of thing. There were few misspellings – the occasional felt instead of fell or silent instead of silence, always very minor things and I didn’t really pay much attention.
I think that one of the biggest things that kept me from enjoying the book more, and reaching full closure, was that The One behind all the Wisest conspiracy always remained abstract. If there was one thing that kept me going was trying to figure out the mystery behind who could be the Moîrai who orchestrated all that, and managed to exert such influence upon the entire council of Wisests. I actually thought it had been the guy from book two, whose name I can’t remember anymore but starts with a K (he reported to Ekahau), since he mysteriously disappeared and we never heard from him again – only through Ekahau, who wasn’t exactly the most reliable source. So in the end, that bit, which was actually pretty major, felt… hollow.
I was also sad to see what Dan became, even though I suppose it was inevitable. I wish he would at least have told Michael about their mutual past. That confrontation scene would have been very emotional, I am sure.
So while I would say there was closure to a large part of the events portrayed in the first two books, and I genuinely appreciated knowing who Kristas’ human was (especially since I had wondered about him in the review of book 2 ), and there were things that did wrap up all these guys’ journey nicely (like once again calling Eridu Earth) – there were just many things I wish I would have seen in this book that did not allow me to reach full satisfaction.
I am, however, very aware that most of the reasons why I did not appreciate the book much might appeal to others, so am rounding the 2.5 stars up on GR.
Those last 10% were very exciting and there’s a lot of good things to this book, as well as the entire trilogy, so I am glad I got to read it and recommend it. Personally, I preferred the first book, but firmly believe there is something in all three that will appear to all fans of the genre.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Jun 28 to Jul 07, 2015