This is a recent video that Chris Morphew posted on YouTube about his fantastic Phoenix Files series. I’m a huge fan of The Phoenix Files and highly recommend it (especially for fans of Michael Grant’s Gone series).
Chris Morphew is the author of the action-packed Phoenix Files series, about a group of teenagers who have 100 days to stop the world from ending, and he’s also one of the authors who write the Zac Power series (under the name H I Larry) . I got the chance to ask Chris a few questions when he came to Christchurch last year.
What is it like to be one of the authors of the Zac Power series?
It’s pretty cool! Whenever I visit a school and ask how many kids have read a Zac Power book, I’m always amazed at how many hands go up!
What’s your favourite Zac Power gadget?
I think Zac’s Turbo Boots in Volcanic Panic are pretty awesome. Jetpack shoes powerful enough to blast someone out of a volcano? That sounds pretty good to me!
Zac Power books written by Chris Morphew
What inspired you to write your action-packed Phoenix Files series?
This might sound a bit morbid, but one of the biggest things I want to do with The Phoenix Files is tell a story about hardship and suffering. I want to be really honest about the darkness and brokenness of the world. But I don’t want to stop there. I want to suggest that the darkness and the brokenness isn’t all there is, and that maybe there’s a bigger story being told that makes the bad parts worthwhile in the end.
In The Phoenix Files Luke, Peter and Jordan learn that there is only 100 days until the end of the world. What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live?
I would pray a lot. And then maybe see if I could find a super-powered homeless man to tell me what was really going on.
What was the book you loved most as a child?
That’s a tough one! There are so many!
Fiction: The Narnia series, Animorphs, Where the Wild Things Are…
Non-fiction: The Bible and books about dinosaurs.
Who is your favourite author/children’s author?
It’s a toss-up between C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling.
Why did you want to be a writer?
Because I love telling stories! I think fictional stories have incredible power to help us understand the real world in new ways.
What’s the best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
The best thing is having the opportunity to explore interesting ideas. The worst thing is usually my next deadline. I write pretty slowly, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write about things that matter. If you care about your story, then other people are far more likely to care about it too.
The fifth book in Chris Morphew’s brilliant Phoenix Files series, Fallout, is released in NZ this month. To celebrate I want to highlight this great series by posting my review of the first book in the series, Arrival, my review of the latest book, Fallout, and an interview that I did with Chris Morphew last year when he came to NZ for the Storylines Family Day. If you haven’t already discovered this series you should go and grab copies of them now, especially if you’re a fan of Michael Grant’s Gone series.
What would you do if you found out there were only 100 days until the end of the world?
When Luke and his mum move to the town of Phoenix, out in the middle of nowhere, Luke knows straight away that something isn’t quite right about the place. There are no cars, no phones and no internet. All the houses look the same and the only way to get around the town is to walk or bike. The town was especially built by the Shackleton Cooperative, the mysterious company that offered Luke’s mum a job, and their security officers roam the streets. A coded message brings Luke together with Peter and Jordan, and when they decipher the message they realise they’re in serious danger. Someone is plotting to wipe out the human race in 100 days and Phoenix suddenly becomes the safest and most dangerous place on earth. When Luke discovers a note in his backpack inviting them to a secret meeting at the Phoenix Airport, they hope that they’ll get some answers. However, their meeting at the airport gives them more questions than answers and as they hunt for information about Phoenix and the deadly plans, the more dangerous it becomes for them in the town.
Arrival is the first book in the action-packed, heart-stopping Phoenix Files series. It’s one of those books that you just have to keep reading to find out what happens. It grabs you from the very first page and doesn’t let you go until the end. You’re left with lots of unanswered questions about Phoenix and the Shackleton Cooperative, but this just makes you want to go and pick up the next book straight away. Luckily there are 5 books already released in this 6 book series. The Phoenix Files are perfect for those who like mystery, adventure and suspense, or books about secret agencies and the end of the world. If you like Michael Grant’s Gone series, then you’ll love The Phoenix Files. Recommended for 12+ 10 out of 10
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.
Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever … because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.
Starters by Lissa Price
16-year-old Callie lost her parents when the ‘genocide spore’ wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first – the very young and very old. She and her little brother must go on the run, living as squatters, fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes in the form of the Body Bank run by a mysterious figure, known only as The Old Man. The Body Bank allows teenagers to rent out their bodies to ‘Enders’ – the elderly members of society – who want to be young again. But Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party in her body. She intends to commit murder…
The Phoenix Files: Fallout by Chris Morphew
The Shackleton Building has been turned into a concentration camp, and the last free people in Phoenix have been forced into hiding. Unless Jordan and the others can figure out where the Co-operative is keeping Tobias, everything they’ve fought for will be for nothing.
As Peter spins further out of control, can Jordan find a way to save Luke’s life, or is history doomed to repeat itself?
With only weeks left until Tabitha is released, Phoenix’s biggest secrets are still yet to be revealed.
And the clock is still ticking.
There are 35 days until the end of the world.
Dragonkeeper Book 4: Blood Brothers
The year is 325. The powerful Han Dynasty is a distant memory and tribes of barbarian soldiers fight over what was once the Empire. It is a dangerous time. Kai is 465 years old – a teenager in dragon years. He is searching for the person predestined to be his dragonkeeper. Kai’s search has led him to a Buddhist novice named Tao. But Tao is certain he is not the one; he has no interest in caring for a difficult dragon. He believes his path lies in another direction. But Tao must learn to listen to the voice within himself and that no journey ever reveals its true purpose until it is over.
10 Futures by Michael Pryor
Sam and Tara. Best friends in a future when artificial intelligence organises our lives, and micropets are the latest craze. Best friends when rationing means cold showers and no internet. Best friends when genetic matching makes asking a girl on a date a minefield of epic proportions.
But will they still be best friends in a future when plague wipes out most of humanity? Or a future when the Inquisitor asks Sam to choose one betrayal over another?
Michael Pryor, one of Australia’s best authors of speculative fiction, imagines what our next 100 years might be like. Utopia or dystopia? Miracle or catastrophe? Whatever might happen, it’s just around the corner. Which future will be yours?
Contact jumps straight back into the story of Jordan, Luke and Peter, three of the inhabitants (or prisoners) of the town of Phoenix. It starts off right where the first book, Arrival ended with Luke, Peter and Jordan hearing the ring of a phone and running off to find out who the phone belongs to. You learn in the first book that the phones and internet don’t work in Phoenix so it’s strange to hear a phone ringing. This mysterious phone sets off a string of events that Luke, Peter and Jordan get caught up in. The people who are in charge of Phoenix discover that the three of them are snooping around, so their principal gives them tasks to keep them busy. This doesn’t stop them investigating the plans of the Shackleton Cooperative to bring about the end of the world, and as they uncover more secrets they find themselves fighting to save themselves and the ones they love.
Contact is fast-paced and so suspenseful that I found I was racing to finish the book. Luke, Peter and Jordan get themselves into some really tight situations in this book and you wonder if they are going to get out of them alive. The part when they are in Ketterley’s office really had me on the edge of my seat, hoping that they didn’t get caught. One of the things I liked best about Contact is that Chris Morphew told the story from a different character’s perspective. We see things from Peter’s point of view, which is quite different from Luke’s in the first book. Hopefully the third book, Mutation will be told from Jordan’s perspective. I’m going to get started on Mutation straight away because I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Recommended for 12+. 10 out of 10