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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Rise of the Raidin by Susan L. Markloff is the first book in the Human-Born Era series. Just over a year ago, Jennifer Monroe was an average teenage girl. Now she's living a secret life as a hybrid with abilities that allow her to slay dragons alongside her newfound allies. During the day, she puts on the act of a normal teenager where she focuses on school, worries about test scores, and hangs out with her friends, but at night she trains under her new friends to hunt dragons. She's managed to keep her two lives separate until a dragon crashes into her normal life with an army bent on finding her. Jennifer soon uncovers a secret behind her own origins that comes with a surprising revelation.
The crashing of one world into the other pushes her to explore who she is when both sides of herself merge. The blending of her two lives also delivers drama, humor, and action as it allows Jennifer to discover what life she's willing to fight for and creates tension in her relationships with her friends as they see this new side of her. The clash of her two lives provides chaos that makes her want to go back to being a normal, boring girl but also allows her to see the power and strength this new life offers. The aesthetic that Susan L. Markloff has created stems from a vivid assortment of characters which includes two grovix creatures, a werewolf, two strong personalities, and comic relief. The characters are uniquely fitted to the world such as Archer who has a canine structure to his face with big ears and weight that rivals a lion's, and Blaze who has a pristine white coat, a picture-perfect mane, and a presence that commands attention. Markloff captures these unique characters through their appearances, attitudes, and interactions with Jennifer. The dragon sketches add to the reality of the world and the general feel of the story. The Rise of the Raidin delivers an original take on dragons and dragon slayers with a secret world, a double life, coming-of-age discovery, and action-packed fight scenes.