I would recommend reading PHOENIX OVERTURE after you've read the second book in the trilogy, ASUNDER. While you can read it first, since it takes place before Sam ever meets Ana in INCARNATE, it spoils ALL THE THINGS.
So, if you're not caught up, go read those reviews. ^.~ I've kept this one spoiler-free, so you can read it without spoiling yourself on the rest of the series!
(Hence the unusual format! It's sort of a flash review, but a little meatier, too!)
Anyone who knows and loves the Newsoul Trilogy knows and loves Sam. He's such an amazing human being; I wish he really existed so we could meet and be friends.
There are a lot of things we know about Sam, such as his extraordinary gift when it comes to music.
But we don't know his origin story. All of the souls in Range have been reincarnated time after time--all except Ana the New Soul, of course. Who were these souls in the beginning? What was their first lifetime like? PHOENIX OVERTURE takes us there, and shows us what life was like the first time around.
Life for Sam is much harder and tougher than you might initially think. He's not good at anything important and isn't trusted for important jobs. Instead, he enjoys things that aren't useful, like music. It's amazing to see how Sam has made a life for himself over the centuries and evolved so much. He is so much stronger and likable now. But I really embraced this first form of him, of seeing the way he has changed so much. That's the beauty of this novella.
In the main series, he is a sturdy rock for Ana to take strength from. He is a trusted member of society and well-liked. In his first lifetime, he is so much more timid, and it's amazing to see the difference.
There's also a scene that echoes alongside the memories of other scenes in INFINITE, coming together to form a powerful new scene that change everything. To go back and re-read PHOENIX OVERTURE after reading the series will change the way you see everything.
There are new characters to love and despise alongside familiar faces that make you want to hug everybody. It was so interesting seeing how people met, how their lives entwined and involved to form the threads that tie them together in the main series.
For such a short story, it tells so much!