Any Given Doomsday (The Phoenix Chronicles, Book 1)

Any Given Doomsday - Lori Handeland 3,5 starsElizabeth "Liz" Phoenix is a young woman with psychic abilities, which have led to her leaving the police force and taking up a bartending job. When a psychic compulsion leads her to her foster mother's house she finds Ruthie Kane dying, her last words causing confusion right before Liz slips into a coma.Awakened from her coma she finds out ex-lover and foster brother Jimmy Sanducci is the prime suspect and he has some disturbing news about the end of the world and her role in it. This is the start of a journey to stop the end of the world as we know it, a journey during which Liz learns not only things about Ruthie, Sawyer and Jimmy, but also about herself and her destiny in leading the battle of good against evil. The battle between the Federation and the Nephilim.In ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY Lori Handeland approaches the age-old theme of "good versus evil" and the battle against supernatural evil out to destroy the world, from a fresh and original angle combining an agreeable writing style with a heroine who will appeal to many urban fantasy reader and I do think that true fans of urban fantasy poured into a multi-installment series (chronicles so to speak), will appreciate it more than I did because it’s a well-written first installment with promises for the rest of the series but for me some things just didn’t click into place enough for me to be overwhelmed by it.This is clearly the first book in the series with a lot of world building, introducing of creatures and preparing Liz for her future purpose. The way this was done from Liz' point of view complemented the vibe of this first book of The Chronicles of Phoenix. Even though I was intrigued by the whole concept and the story kept me glued to the pages thanks to the action and Liz' character, there were some elements that just weren't my cup of tea. Still these elements didn’t bother me to the point of not liking the book.The situation with the two men (Jimmy and Sawyer) in Liz' life is complicated and for me as an avid romance reader a slightly uncomfortable one. Knowing this book is classified as an urban fantasy, I wasn't expecting romance as in the paranormal romances I'm used to but in the beginning I was inclined to go that way because of the way Liz' relationship with Jimmy was being described. But then halfway through the book there are some twists in the plot that left me a bit uncomfortable because they were a little contrary to the way Jimmy and Liz' story had been set up. Further developments in the plot and the relationships with between Liz, Sawyer and Jimmy only added to my confusion. I understood the developments were important to Liz' coming into her powers, but that didn't take away the uncomfortable feeling.I was a bit less enthusiastic about the overall pace and plot-developments in the last part of the book. The pace varied in different parts of the story. The beginning was fast-paced despite the world building and explanations. But in the middle part of the book the pace changed and slowed considerably. The end was fast-paced again but it also seemed a bit rushed and some storylines that were started were left without closure. I understand that in this series the story continues with future books but there were some things, like the Summer-Jimmy story and the exposing of the traitor that caused Ruthie's death, I wanted to be worked out better. Especially that last storyline was rushed and I'm still trying to grasp what exactly was the deal there. I was left with a bit too many questions and loose ends and would have liked to see these storylines wrapped up in this installment.Because the story is told from Liz' perspective, she is the character the reader gets to know the best. I liked Liz' character in the way she accepts her destiny with realistic reluctance at first and in the end embraces it wholeheartedly but I feel at the end of the book that there are hints at certain things about Liz but they are left untold. I guess and hope this will be done in future books. I did like Liz' sense of humor a lot. She has this dry, sarcastic sense of humor that pops up mostly in situations where she's confronted with things she has trouble handling.I loved the writing style, which was crisp, snappy and witty. I loved the premise of the series with Liz as a powerful seer to lead the demon killers into battle against the spawn of the fallen angels and humans. I also liked the narrative. While I'm not a fan of first person narrative in this book Lori Handeland made it work for me.Since this was my first venture into urban fantasy I can't tell if my not being blown away is because I'm not that into the genre or that this was just not the book for me to start this genre with. Time will tell since the excerpt of the next book in this series, DOOMSDAY CAN WAIT, did leave me more than a bit curious how the story is going to proceed.