Phoenix Rising has the same bright, slightly goofy feel of an extremely *shonen anime. I may or may not mean that in a good way. The world building is mostly “dashes of Tolkien, squibs of that really awesome roleplaying game the writer was in.” This is a book of bits and pieces that don’t always come together but manages to be fairly entertaining once you embrace the goofy shonen ridiculousness.
The back cover blurb fibs slightly about the plot! We’re told that the main character of the story is a young noblewoman named Kyri Vantage who has a quest to discover who was behind the murder of her parents. Kyri however is not actually the main character, she is more of a background character who eventually becomes important as the characters with more screen time have adventures and eventually encounter her. (One of the problems I had with this book was that there were too many point of view characters in a very short book.)
The other main characters of this story are a Toad named Poplock who is taking the place of the Halfling thief character for this
campaign story and a young nobleman named Tobimar, who is also on a quest. The Toad and the young nobleman have several adventures solo and as a team and eventually meet another young adventurer named Xavier who is from Earth. (He and his four friends appeared suddenly due to Mysterious Manipulative Wizard Shenanigans! They were then subsequently framed for regicide! Then their names are cleared, though they are now separated!)
This book had enough plot details to stretch into at least two books, crammed into a fairly short novel. I would have liked more character development and a sturdier foundation for the world building. The pacing is okay, but the fight scenes really dragged for me. Despite the problems I had with reading this, I found it to be an entertaining read.
*shonen anime: Anime intended for boys. Often extremely goofy with rambling plotlines that have very little to do with romance. (Because romance is for girrrrrlllls.)