Phoenix is the debut YA novel of Victorian author, Alison Ashley.  Book one in a paranormal series, the fifth shadow, it’s a truly remarkable story that weaves back and forth between the present and war torn England.

Twins, Katie and Ally have left Australia to look after their aging grandfather in England. They’re not at all thrilled about the idea of leaving behind the life they have always known.

For Katie and Ally, it’s not just about their future, but it’s also about a journey back in time and righting past wrongs.

Katie and Ally both have strong psychic powers – the difference between them is that whilst Katie embraces hers, Ally is in denial. This is a source of conflict between the twins and nearly costs one of them her life.

Apart from the shadow from the past that lurks in the family, I was also intrigued by the father’s rejection of all things paranormal. I wondered why he was like that when psychic connections so obviously run in the family.  What happened to him to make him banish psychic books and discussions from their lives? I expect these questions will be answered in future books in the series and I’m looking forward to finding out more.

Phoenix has plenty of action and suspense – a chilling message, a family secret and a tragic crime. All the threads are cleverly pulled together in an engrossing plot that hooked me right to the end and left me wanting to read book two in the series, Revival.

Phoenix is told from both Katie and Ally’s point of view but the author has managed to give them both very distinct voices – both authentically teen.

The contemporary lives and loves of today’s teens are well depicted but the two main characters also have deeper dilemmas to address – facing up to who they really are and the fact that if they change the past, it will also affect the future in devastating ways.

The sensory description enables the reader to become immersed in Katie and Ally’s world and to step back and forwards in time along with the story.

The candlesticks and the bucket in the corner trembled with the sounds of distant rumbling and explosions and the air was tainted with damp earth and a waxy odour.

Phoenix is a YA paranormal that could be enjoyed by lovers of both contemporary and paranormal YA. It’s an engrossing story with engaging characters, set in a believable world with not a vampire in sight.

Phoenix is published by Warrambucca Books. More about this book is available from