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Phoenix Island

(Phoenix Island #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,777 ratings  ·  425 reviews
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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Gallery Books
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Vicki Renee Brutal. You better have a strong stomach and not be faint of heart.

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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies by: Rose
Actual rating: 3.5
They can shoot me through the bars of this sweatbox or hang me from the flagpole or throw me to the sharks, but they cannot make me cry or beg. I will not show them weakness. I will stay strong. If they kill me, they will remember my strength; I will force them to live with the memory of my strength forever.
And if I live, I will escape from Phoenix Island, and I will tell the world. I will bring these people down.
There is no room for pussies on Phoenix Island.

This book is r
One of the things that drew my interest to this title was that CBS based their new television series, Intelligence, on it before the book was even released. But from what I've seen of the trailers for the show, it has very little to do with the story it was based on. It seems to me as though they just took one tiny idea out of the book, and came up with something entirely different. I'm not saying that to be condescending, just to warn you that you won't be reading a CIA/spy thriller if you deci ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: younger teen boys and haters of mainstream romantic dystopia
"Welcome to the post-human age."

It's the Marines meets Maze Runner meets Unwind meets Fight Club (the cover even reminds me of the FC cover) meets some weird version of The Island of Dr. Moreau/Jurassic Park (without the animals) mashup - in this book's version of "it really sucks to go to juvvie."

The show Beyond Scared Straight would probably love to have some of Phoenix Island's tactics at their disposal.

I'm itching to shelve this book as horror lite, but I'll go with science fict
Initial reaction: Very nicely plotted action/adventure thriller. I'll admit it kept me on the edge of my toes many times wondering what would happen and some of the scenes were deliciously dark, despite a few pacing issues. Nonetheless, this will certainly make an interesting jumping point for the TV series that's based on it. I enjoyed the read.

Full review:

John Dixon's "Phoenix Island" took me by surprise in terms of how immersive and enthralling an adventure it portrayed. The story centers on
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

This book blends in shades of Lord of the Flies, Mad Scientists and Bootcamp. Carl is a orphaned teen who just cannot stay out of trouble. He does fight for the underdog. If he sees someone being bullied he can't help himself. (boxing champion) He even takes out an entire football team for bullying a kid he didn't even know. He ends up in court again after many encounters and is given "bootcamp" at Phoenix Island. No outside contact with foster family at all, no emails, no phone calls, nothing.
Faye, la Patata
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Okay, I admit it. The unimpressive cover aside, Phoenix Island hooked me line and sinker with its blurb that just screams Danger! Conspiracies! Evil governments! Kids running for survival! Underdog Triumphing All! Bootcamp of doom! You see, my insatiable thirst for these themes all started with a particular manga called Deadman Wonderland, where a group of people (some kids) are put into a shady government facility for their crimes. One of these people is a young boy who was falsely accused of m ...more
Irina Elena
I'm tempted to give it five stars. Very tempted. But the elated, hyper feeling a book can leave you with at the end is not the only thing that counts, and this one had moments and elements that didn't quite convince me.
Overall, though, it's fucking awesome.

Carl's story is terrifying and uplifting, hopeful and horribly dark.
It's a story of survival against all odds, courage and pride.
It's a "boys' story", the kind of thing I tend to avoid because of the (mistaken) idea that they don't have the ki
Nick Cato
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sixteen year-old boxing champ (and orphan) Carl Freeman is the type of guy who likes to stick up for the weaker kids against bullies: he has a sense of justice handed down from his father but as noble as it is, he often goes overboard and gets into trouble. After too many instances (taking out an entire football team single-handedly now pushing the limit), a judge takes Carl away from his current foster home and sentences him to Phoenix Island, a military-style boot camp designed to straighten-o ...more
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Check out Scott Reads It!

I'll be honest the main reason I wanted to read Phoenix Island was because I had heard it was the inspiration for CBS's Intelligence. If I hadn't heard about Intelligence, this book probably wouldn't have landed on my radar. Despite the fact that it's been published by an adult imprint (Gallery Books), Phoenix Island is definitely a YA novel. Phoenix Island is just as clever and inventive as The Lord Of The Flies and The Maze Runner; this is one of the most intense d
Maria V. Snyder
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great book! Full of action and suspense and characters that you can care about. The plot made sense and the ending was perfect for the story (and those that have read my reviews, know this is something I rarely say!). It's YA book, but adults would like it as well. This book is the creative inspiration for the TV show Intelligence on CBS - the show is not like the book at all as they changed the main protagonists age, name and who he is working for, but the tech is the same.

The main character,
Matt Knepper
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a thrilling, fast-paced novel. John Dixon does a great job telling an intriguing story with unexpected twists that had me wondering what would happen next throughout the entire book. This is exceedingly well written with an impressive cast of characters and fantastic imagery. The characters, settings, and situations are described so well it is easy to imagine exactly what these people and places are like.

At times I couldn’t tell who the enemy was. I found myself going back and forth on a
F. Paul
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this a couple of years ago in galleys and gave it an enthusiastic blurb: "Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke. A tribute to the indomitable human spirit that challenges the mob and chooses values over expediency." ...more
Sarah Marie
Phoenix Island by John Dixon

First in the Phoenix Island series

3 stars

Carl is sixteen years old and he has been in plenty enough trouble in his short life time. When he finds himself in court again the judge sentences him to Phoenix Island. Phoenix Island will reform him and it’s the place where orphans who also happen to be delinquents are sent. There are a lot of strange things going on at Phoenix Island and it’s up to Carl to save his friends and figure out the dark secrets surrounding the isl

When Carl Freeman’s policeman father was shot by a criminal, and forced to endure the rest of his life in a wheelchair, along with needing full time care from Carl and his mother, then Carl’s mother died of cancer, something broke in Carl. Feeling the need to protect his father, protect the underdog even when he didn’t know him, caused Carl far more trouble than he should have had to endure in his short life. So by the time he was sixteen years of age, his father had died, he had found his outle ...more
Ellen Gail
I'm abandoning ship at 40%. There are so many better books I could be reading and I just can't with this one.

Phoenix Island is the story of Carl, a junior boxing champ who is sent away to a hardcore boot camp called, you guessed it, Phoenix Island. It's his very last chance before he lands himself in grownup prison. Unfortunately Phoenix Island turns out to be less of a camp & more of a secretive, brutal military dumping ground for orphans.

There are three central reasons why I don't think Phoeni
Benoit Lelièvre
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
My reading of PHOENIX ISLAND quickly turned into a moral dilemma. As it is often the case when I read Young Adult fiction, I objected the Shakespearean treatment of adolescent issues but the writing of John Dixon has two quirks that most YA fiction novels don't have:

1) It is highly aware that adolescence is a period where everybody dramatizes everything.


2) It delivers wicked, entertaining story, which should be the main purpose of every novel.

PHOENIX ISLAND puts its protagonist, teenage orpha
Eureca Laurice
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hey-ya, dystopian
Phoenix Island

An overwhelming book filled with anxiety of does it going to have a sequel or what, full of actions and alot more.

Why you wouldn't want this (but believe me, you are so going to love it)
- It is predictable.
- It is weak on romance part I actually hated Octavia at first.
- Their age was doubtful at times.

Why you wanted to read this:
- It is predictable though the result always exceeds my expectations.
- You don't need the romance in here.
- Their age was doubtful at times but they are a
Gritty, dark, magnetic! Phoenix Island by John Dixon takes crime and punishment and delivers a twisted knock-out punch that will leave you reeling long after that last page is finished! Carl Freeman is a sixteen-year-old orphan who has been bounced around the system “we” have designed to protect children like him. His temper often gets the best of him, but his intentions are good, as he repeatedly stand up to bullying with his fists, making his juvenile record as thick as Webster’s Dictionary, w ...more
I must admit that the reason I requested Phoenix Island for review was because I had seen previews for Intelligence, the upcoming show the book inspired. See based on the book blurb, Phoenix Island isn't exactly my cup of tea. For one I'm not big on young adult books and if I do read something in the genre, it's urban fantasy or paranormal romance. Phoenix Island is neither of those things but I took a chance because I was intrigued. Boy am I glad I took that chance.

Phoenix Island was emotionall
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sixteen-year-old Carl is an orphan with a talent for fighting and a hatred for bullies. As a result, he finds himself arrested for assault (not for the first time) and is sentenced to Phoenix Island, a boot camp for young delinquents, until the age of eighteen. But Carl soon begins to have doubts about this camp. For one thing, no one seems to know where it’s located; for another, all of the kids are orphans like himself.

Still, Carl is determined to make the best of a very bad situation even af
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
John Dixon comes out of his corner fast and hits hard! This book will have you seeing stars. Dixon tells the tale of Carl Freeman, a kid with anger management issues and a delinquent record who has just been given his last chance at rehabilitation. Or so he thinks. In reality, he is a lost boy before he even reaches the island.

It's hard to resist comparing Phoenix Island with other works like Papillon, Lord of the Flies, and--with a touch of military sci fi--maybe even a little bit of 007, but
Wow, this is a really great book! I didn't do much yesterday besides read this book.

This book is about a 16 year boy. His parents have both died, and he has been bounced around from foster home to foster home. Getting into trouble for fighting in every placement. They send him to Phoenix Island, a bootcamp for wayward children, he is told. Then things get wacky and the action starts.

This book is exciting from start to end. Good job John Dixon!
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*I received this book in exchange for an honest
Matt Schwartz
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievably terrific debut, well suited for adults and teens alike. Breakneck pace, great dialogue, smart as hell. Go for it. You won't regret it. ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Dixon's PHOENIX ISLAND first came to my attention when I heard that a Young Adult novel has inspired a new CBS television series starring Josh Holloway (LOST) and Marg Helgenberger (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) - before the book had even released. It seems that with the recent success of THE HUNGER GAMES series, studios have been aggressively pursuing the next big YA property. Of all the YA novels that have been optioned PHOENIX ISLAND is the first I've heard of to get picked up for TV - ...more
John D.  Harvey
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
“Phoenix Island” by John Dixon an Action-Packed Adventure

John Dixon’s “Phoenix Island” is a compelling first-in-series novel for many reasons, but perhaps the most prominent is its ability to effectively straddle the adult and young-adult (YA) reading market. I’ve read several YA novels where I was led to believe that the author pulled off this feat, only to discover that the validity of the claim ranged from a bit off the mark to entirely fanciful. That didn’t make them bad books, but they didn
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, ya, netgalley
I was foolish to try to read this book before going to bed. Wild vivid dreams left me tossing and turning all night as I was trapped on Phoenix Island with Carl. Not the sweatbox! Please, no!! I had started to read this book as we drove through the state of Illinois and my “ahh!” and ”no’s!” started to irritate my husband as he tried to listen to the radio. Carl has a temper, a vicious temper. Using boxing as a means for channeling his temper, Carl has made himself a name in the boxing arena. Ca ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book sounded so good that I couldn't wait to borrow it from a friend and devour it. Sadly the teeth marks that I left in the binding were due to frustration about how much I disliked this book!

This book was more like the Boot Camp Diaries than a dystopian thriller. A group of juvenile criminals unwanted by society for various alleged crimes are dumped on an island boot camp where they need to survive until being released at 18. We had military marches, military discipline, military songs, m
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-2014, arc
The good: Solid, well written, and fluid. It keeps a well pace and keeps you engrossed with the character’s plight and struggles throughout the entire story.

The bad: Nothing constructive that I could pick up on. Be warned though, it can be a bit overwhelming with how detailed the training is. Very gritty.

My thoughts:
Normally, my interest doesn’t appeal to book genres among these but when I saw “Phoenix Island” available on Edelweiss my interest was piqued.

Going into this I thought that this was
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Carl Freeman is a sixteen year old boy who is a champion boxer. He has been defending the weak his entire life, but has gotten in trouble for it. Carl has been sent around the country to different schools and juvenile detentions. After one fight, the judge sends Carl to Phoenix Island. Phoenix Island is no place like he has ever been before. It is completely off of the grid, and only few people even know it exists. There are lieutenants that kill children and push them to no limit. There are sta ...more
Like most, I found my way to this book on the basis that it was the inspiration for the amazing (and amazingly underrated) new CBS techno-thriller Intelligence. Let me tell you - it's totally different. The connection to Intelligence is paper-thin at best, both stories being about cybernetically-enhanced soldiers, but at that point the similarities end. This one reads like The Maze Runner as re-imagined by Matthew Reilly.

Best of all, there's clearly room for a sequel. Which I'm now officially dy
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John Dixon's first two novels, PHOENIX ISLAND and DEVIL'S POCKET, won back-to-back Bram Stoker Awards and inspired the CBS TV series INTELLIGENCE.

A former boxer, teacher, and stone mason, John lives in West Chester, PA, with his wife, daughter, and freeloading dog. When not reading or writing, he obsesses over boxing, chess, and hot peppers.


Other books in the series

Phoenix Island (2 books)
  • Devil's Pocket (Phoenix Island, #2)

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