The Phoenix Project is a new program at the Salverford prison. This program has been established to deal with the worst of the criminals that find themselves behind bars. Violence and attacks by radical groups has led to extreme measures and hence The Phoenix Project is born. Now prisoners are made to fight in a battle to the death and the matches are televised for the citizens to witness. This new program was designed to curb crime and bring hope to the nation. If you can survive five years at Salverford you are released but few make it past their first fight.
When I read the synopsis for this book I thought it would be about the brutal life of prisoners and constant fighting scenes. The kind of story that while entertaining isn’t especially deep. While there is plenty of scenes where Raven and other inmates are required to fight to the death, the book more than that. It’s thought-provoking in the areas of life, death and religion and I found myself questioning my views on these topics.
The Phoenix Project examines Raven’s need for forgiveness from his life before his prison as well as his actions behind bars. The forgiveness that only he can give himself and feels he doesn’t deserve. The consequences of killing other prisoners and the effect it has on him and how he learns that he can move past feelings of worthlessness. As the deaths pile up and he spins further down the rabbit hole he thinks he isn’t worth redemption. He hits rock bottom before he realizes his life isn’t hopeless. He meets people who show him he has worth and isn’t just a man who kills to survive.
D.M. Cain has done a fantastic job capturing the real emotions in the lives of these characters. I felt the sadness and experienced the emotional torture that Raven struggled with every day. I could completely understand him and why felt the way he did. I found some of the people in the book despicable and easy to hate which added to the emotional overload Raven felt. The more I read the more I found myself wrapped up in the story, I needed to know what made Raven tick, what had happened to get him where to where he was both physically and emotionally. At the point where I learned his history I couldn’t help but understand why he felt the way he did. This was a book I enjoyed as much the second time I read it as I did the first time I read it.
Length: 269 Pages
Release date: June 7, 2016
Blurb: In Salverford prison, time was obsolete. One day drifted into the next and the next… And without any sense of time, how could he move on? Time heals all wounds… So where did that leave him? One man battles through guilt and redemption in D.M. Cain’s riveting new novel, The Phoenix Project.
In a dystopian future, Britain has descended into violence and terror as criminals run rampant. In response, the Phoenix Project is created—a system in which inmates from prisons across the country fight to the death, cheered on by a bloodthirsty public. Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who is unable to forgive himself for his past crime, struggles to come to grips with a present in which he is forced to kill others.
As he faces one of his fiercest battles yet, Raven appears to find an ally in Alexia—a woman who provides both the means for Raven’s disturbing methods of self-harm and the strength to resist it. He begins to realize he will either die in the ring or live and achieve stardom; but before he can fight for his life, he needs to find a reason to live. His real enemy is not the man pitted against him; it is the monster inside himself.
DM Cain, Biography-
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released two full length novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series – ‘The Shield of Soren’ and a novella to accompany it.
D.M. Cain is also one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors.
Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.
Connect with DM Cain at the following links