Gift of the Phoenix is 574 pages of fantasy, magic, valour and love. It is a splendid read, specially if you like the epic genre.

The prologue starts off in a faraway place and time where a magical phoenix is about to regenerate. The wizards of the land have a ceremony for the regeneration which takes an unexpected turn because the dying phoenix brings 3 magical stones instead of its usual offering of ash with magical properties.

Hundreds of years later, an orphan prodigy wizard, a dead farmer’s gentle son and the heir of a royal kingdom are drawn together by blood, a prophecy and faerie legacy. Each has to overcome personal challenges and discover their part to play in what fate has to unfold. They have to learn to trust and dare to sacrifice to save the good guys from the evil one.

The book is well paced with details of the magical elements from potions to staffs scattered in between the progressing adventures of the main characters. I personally wouldn’t have minded even more details, but then am a fan of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. More magic is always a good thing for readers like me.

There are three beautiful love stories each with distinct characteristics. My favourite has two competent warriors who get drawn to each other through the wars they fight side by side and the rides they share hidden from prying eyes. A jaw-dropping reveal adds aching intensity to this pair’s destiny. And am intentionally vague to not give away any of the surprises the author, Donna Cook, masterfully lays out for us.

For a greater part of the book, my main complaint was the absence of actual tragedy brought about by the villain. That gets rectified towards the end. Souls are destroyed, armies wiped out, men tortured and killed with complete disregard. Essential to establish the dichotomy between good and bad, leading to the dire need for a Phoenix saving prophecy.

Family plays an important part in the narrative and the Gift of the Phoenix brings about the developing fondness, the bond of brotherhood and foundation of trust with a sweet sensitivity that will be appreciated by readers of any age.

Pick this book next if you love fantasies and epic quests..