I did find the pacing of the story to be a bit slow at times, and while the complex and nuanced portrayal of colonialism and cultural identity makes for a compelling and thought-provoking read, it took me more to get into this book than some others I have read. I wonder if that is because of the style. The protagonist was not in action all the time, and we viewed conflict from almost a sideline point of view. Typical science fiction and fantasy novels have set me up for different expectations of action and pacing. I would not have been able to see the nuance of the conflict otherwise. Perhaps the pacinging isn’t poor, just not the norm.
As a D10 book, Phoenix Extravagant offers a wealth of potential for gamers and game masters seeking inspiration for their own adventures and campaigns. The clash between the technological efficiency of the Razanei Empire and the traditionalist beliefs of the Hwagugin Rebels creates a rich and multifaceted setting that is ripe for exploration in a gaming context. While the characters may not be ideal as player characters, they offer some cool possibilities as non-player characters who can support or challenge the players in their journey, I personally really enjoyed the character Hak. And the setting, with its unique blend of magic and technology, offers a rich and diverse backdrop for adventures and campaigns.
One of the standout features of Phoenix Extravagant is its exploration of the value of art and creativity in a world dominated by power and violence. Jebi’s focus on their art offers a refreshing change from the typical heroic archetype found in many fantasy stories, and allows the story to explore the potential of self-expression as a form of resistance and empowerment. Overall, Phoenix Extravagant is a book that defies easy categorization and offers a fresh perspective on the genre. With its unique protagonist, complex themes, and richly imagined setting, it’s a book that will leave readers thinking long after they’ve finished. Whether you’re a fan of speculative fiction or a seasoned gamer looking for new ideas, Phoenix Extravagant is a book worth exploring.