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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Arion Rising by Jackie Anders is action-packed, exciting, and engaging. Tea Lane knows how to take care of herself. She's gained plenty of experience by having to survive foster home after foster home. Now living on the streets, she won't let this stop her from achieving her dream of being the first female Latino to become an astronaut and take a spacewalk. Her whole life changes after she discovers a Native American artifact that gives her abilities. No better time to suddenly become all-powerful as girls start disappearing and it soon becomes apparent that she's the only one that can stop it. As if her life wasn't weird enough, she meets the handsome Ben who becomes her mentor and introduces her to an otherworldly threat that only she can help with as he's an alien from Aepi. Though they're a peaceful race, they have fled to earth from a deadly and dangerous race, the Epex. Now the Epex have come to earth and have made humans their victims, which pushes Tea into the role of hero and protector with the weight of mankind on her shoulders.
Tea's coming-of-age story becomes a superhero quest and a science fiction adventure when she receives superpowers and discovers that aliens exist. Tea has a clear vision of her future in the STEM field and while events take her away from that course, she has the heroic characteristics needed to fight evil aliens and save the world. Though the story focuses on the journey of her character and the fight against the Epex, romance is woven into her journey as she has a connection to the mysterious Ben. The spark between them and the instant chemistry create a romantic tone that lightens moments between the action-packed and heroic ones. Jackie Anders creates a unique world within our own and has thrown an empowered young woman into the middle to be the hero that the world needs. The science-fiction elements are woven into the world with ease and despite the fact of aliens threatening earth, the story still feels grounded. The mashup of genres by Anders is seamlessly done with a coming-of-age aspect at the start that weaves into the tone of an action-packed superhero mixed with a science fiction adventure. Arion Rising delivers a unique and action-packed story that brings together Native American lore, a superhero, and science fiction with a headstrong heroine leading the charge.