Cycles of the Phoenix

The Whole Interlaced Souls Series

Fiction - Anthology
498 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Cycles of the Phoenix: The Whole Interlaced Souls Series by C.A. Nicholas is an anthology of surrealistic tales divided into three parts, written from the point of view of characters that reflect their inner struggles and test their mental and emotional states. Book 1, Sanity’s War contains seven tales about characters fighting monsters that are representative of an individual’s inner demons. It touches on issues like depression, sexual abuse, and PTSD. Book 2, Strange is a set of novellas with a theme running in the similar vein of people fighting against demons that take control over them and push them to commit suicide. Book 3, Kaya, Where Have You Gone? is a novella that centers on two schoolgirls, one of which has experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a relative.

Surreal. This is how I would describe C.A. Nicholas’s work. His narrative is inquisitive and exploratory as far as themes of mental and emotional struggles come into play. His characters appear helpless, yet they exhaust all means to fight and set themselves on missions of renewal—and they either win or fail. But what they discover is familiar, enlightening, and often strange. Nicholas may well be a surrealist writer who understands the disturbing dynamics of mental breakdowns and abuse and how this warps our lives. His plot and characterization present a hyper-reality that questions the border between normal and abnormal elements. His critical method in addressing sensitive social issues fuses actual representations with mythical and symbolic elements that give you a better understanding of what is being conveyed. The common ground in his metaphorical play is a magnified scrutiny of reality and brilliant social commentary. Moving in its poetic grace, this anthology deserves your attention.

Rabia Tanveer

Cycles of the Phoenix: The Whole Interlaced Souls Series by C.A. Nicholas is an anthology featuring 18 short stories and one full novel. Divided into three parts called Sanity’s War, Strange, and Kaya: Where Have You Gone, each part focuses on human nature as the characters are challenged by psychological and supernatural elements. The first book consists of stories where the characters face issues such as depression, anxiety, and even sexual abuse. The second book focuses on parasitical demons who tease and encourage their victims to kill others or kill themselves. The third book follows the story of Fumi and Kaya as the author tackles topics such as kidnapping, molestation, and sexual abuse. All of these parts focus on a different aspect of humans and the challenges they face under special circumstances and in their day-to-day lives.

Aptly named Sanity's War, the first book focuses on people as they try to keep their sanity intact. Out of all the characters included in the stories, Aveline’s character stood out to me the most. She is almost as strong as Karen from A Conversation of Four; the way she tackled her fears and faces them with her head held high is amazing. The novel Kaya: Where Have You Gone is on another level. C.A. Nicholas tackles intense and almost taboo talks such as child molestation and survivors of sexual abuse. He explained and expressed the emotions of two young girls incredibly well. Fumi’s struggles and the emotional toll she experienced because of the traumatic events in her life make the story almost hard to read. But the author does justice to Fumi, Kaya, and all the other characters. He gives them enough page space to tell their story and express their desires to get out of their mental and literal hell. Cycles of the Phoenix is a brilliant anthology!