I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Phoenix Island by John Dixon
Genres: Action, Suspense, YA
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 7th
Buy on Amazon
The judge told Carl that one day he'd have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.
A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.
Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.
A new life. . . .
A new body. A new brain.
Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he's not sure he wants to become.
For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.
And for Carl, it's just the beginning. . .
John Dixon’s debut novel Phoenix Island is what inspired the television show Intelligence. While I can see that a little in this book, I am having trouble seeing how it inspired a series based on an adult who is a good guy when this was a teen book and the people want to use the chip for bad things. (though the kid is good)
Phoenix Island was packed full of action and suspense right from the very beginning and it never let up. There was something always going on whether you were following Carl or Octavia and you couldn’t help but root for them.
Carl is a fighter and his temper has landed him in trouble everywhere he goes, but he is always trying to help some weaker person. Since he is an orphan and won’t be missed he is sent to Phoenix Island. Carl soon realizes that this is not just a boot camp to straighten out wayward teens, but a place where they are turning kids into killers.
Carl is determined to not make trouble but on the very first day he makes enemies with his drill sergeant and that was the worse thing to do. Drill sergeant Parker is gunning for Carl but he does really good at keeping his temper in check as they go through grueling routines day in and day out, but he has made enemies and will have to watch his back. Parker gives him the one job that turns most of his group against him.
Carl makes a couple friends, Campbell, Ross and Octavia. He really likes Octavia and finds her easy to talk too so when he finds out what this place is really like he wants to find a way to get them off the island. Then Carl’s temper gets the best of him and he gets in a fight that lands him in the sweatbox. He has gained the attention of the man who runs Phoenix Island and is taken to the Chop Shop (med center) to heal and while there he gets a few new inserts in his body. His new body that is filled with chips, but not the master chip at least not yet.
While Carl is with Commander Stark, he trains and feels stronger than ever, but even though he likes being there compared to with the group he still knows what they are trying to turn him into. A killer kid. Can he get off the island or save his friends?
Carl is a complex character. He is very mature for a sixteen year old but it probably comes from being in the system after his parents died. He is a natural born fighter, but he has a heart. When others around him are turning to bloodlust and giving in to the routine he is always trying to look out for his friends and those weaker. He is a great character.
Like I said before the TV show intelligence was based on the concept of the chips from this book, but that is about as far as I would say the similarities are at least to me. I think this book would make an awesome Teen movie and be something different for teens. It is a bit brutal so if that is not your think you might not enjoy this, but I thought it was pretty good.
The only downfall I seen was the ending because I am not sure if there is going to be a sequel or not and it sort of leaves it open for one. I sort of thought I might have had a standalone novel but now I am not sure and I like it when they let me know ahead of time if it’s a series.
I would recommend this for anyone who likes a good action packed survival type novel.