I love superhero stories, but I’m not big on visual formats like comic books and graphic novels. That’s why I was so excited to review Corrina Lawson’s new novel, Phoenix Rising. It’s a comic book kind of story anchored in novelistic prose, so it’s definitely my kind of read.
Aside: After reading the review, check the end of the post to enter a free giveaway of the book.
To those who know him, Alec Farley is the closest thing to a superhero they’ve ever seen. He can move things with his mind, he can control fire with a wave of his hand, and he looks good enough to pull off a spandex ‘n’ cape ensemble (although he doesn’t wear one).
Trouble is, not many people know Alec. That’s because he’s been kept under lock and key for most of his life, “protected” from the world by his adoptive father, who just happens to be the power-hungry director of a shadowy organization called The Resource.
Beth Nakamora wants to change that. Herself a telepath — although her power’s been latent since her childhood — she understands what it means to be used for your power and given no choice about your life path. In the guise of a mental health counselor, she infiltrates The Resource and gains Alec’s trust, hoping to show him another way to live.
But things go a bit awry, and Beth ends up kidnapping Alec, which leads to a string of shootouts, desperate escapes, rebellions, and reversals. Oh, and there’s a radioactive dirty bomb heading for New York City, and Alec might be the only one who can stop it.
Phoenix Rising keeps up an intense pace and a gripping narrative. As outlandish as the characters may sound, they’re actually quite believable and relatable, and watching them come to terms with their powers and fight to make their own decisions — all while fending off bad guys — is endlessly absorbing, and in the end, quite moving. Alec in particular is a unique mix of tough-guy supersoldier and naive youth, and his emotional arc as he learns to think for himself is very compelling.
Vivid writing makes the climactic scenes incredibly visual — you can almost picture these fiery explosions and tension-filled standoffs as gorgeous full-page panels in a comic book. But I’m just as happy to have read them in print.
Full disclosure: Yes, of course, I know Corrina Lawson! She’s one of our fine editors here at GeekMom, and we’ve been friends and occasional critique partners for years. That doesn’t unduly influence my review, though, because the fact is that I only hang out with awesome writers. Cory’s definitely one of them, and Phoenix Rising is a terrific read. I’m looking forward to the next book in what looks to be a fantastic series.
To enter to win a copy of Phoenix Rising, just comment below and Corrina will pick a winner via random number generator. Winner will be announced in the comments on Tuesday of next week.