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10 June 2020

Book Review: A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

I got A Phoenix First Must Burn in a Wildest Dreams book box the other month, and it's been calling to me ever since. I have a bit of a soft spot for anthologies, and as I've been in a bit of a slump it was the perfect way to get me back in to reading.

This book was first up on my Make Your Myth-Taker ReadathonTBR, fulfilling the Anticipated Read prompt.

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell coverAdd to Goodreads button

Evoking Beyoncé's Lemonade for a YA audience, these authors have woven worlds to create stunning narratives that centre Black women and gender nonconforming individuals.

With fantasy, science fiction and magic at their core, the stories are sharp, atmospheric and visual explorations of histories, relationships and alternate universes that you can't help but to get lost in.

It will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, trauma and heroism, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN are unforgettable and shine brightly.

Source: Purchase, Wildest Dreams

5 Word Review: Hope, magic, power, survival, resistance.

There are sixteen stories in this anthology of Black Girl Magic, and I liked every single one of them. 

Something that surprised me a lot was that the first story in this anthology is my favourite. When Life Hands You A Lemon Fruitbomb by Amerie has a bit of a space opera feel to it that I adored, even though it features Orcs (which are one of my least favourite fantasy beings) and time travel (which my minds just struggles with full stop).It was just such a gorgeous story and had such scope despite the short length

Second favourite for me is The Actress by Danielle Page, it hit me right in the feels. I loved how it looked at the pressures on young people and especially the build up to a first kiss. I also loved the critical look at the media, the inequality evident on screen and off, the fact that we see the same "types" over and over on screen. And then there's the magic... I also really want to read the fictional book from the story.

And the rest? Honestly I couldn't pick, I enjoyed every one of them. Not a single story was merely good, they were all exceptional and this was an easy five stars for me. It's a quick read, and all of the stories worked well as a collection.

A Phoenix First Must Burn is an amazing anthology, absolutely worth picking up. It's easy to dip in and out of and perfect for if you feel a slump coming on. Every story is fantastically written and there really is something for everyone.

Also the cover is beautiful and I want it as a print for my wall.

What's your favourite anthology?


  1. This sounds so good, and that cover is beautiful!!

  2. The cover for this is beautiful and it sounds excellent!

  3. I definitely need to read more anthologies and this sounds fab!

  4. Anthologies aren't really for me, but I love the rep!


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