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Title: THE RISE OF THE RAIDIN
(The Human-Born Era #1)
Author: Susan L. Markloff
Pub. Date: November 1, 2021
Publisher: Susan L. Markloff
Formats: Paperback, eBook
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2022 Readers’ Favorite Winner for YA Urban Fantasy.
Jennifer Monroe is an average eighteen-year-old girl, and she knows it.
Which is precisely why no one—least of all herself—would suspect anything extraordinary from the quiet, boring girl who only has a few good friends to call her own. But that all got flipped on its head about a year ago, when two imposing men, a complete goofball, a werewolf, and two large four-legged creatures barged into her life.
Now over a year later, Jen leads a double life. Mild mannered, quiet, high schooler by day; dragon slayer and raw-energy-wielding-warrior (in training) by night. Juggling SAT scores, papers, and mastering the art of flying, she’s managed to keep her friends and family oblivious of her hybrid abilities and continue on a track for college. Everything was going swimmingly.
Until one normal, foggy, November morning, when a dragon crashed through the clouds, heralding a small army to descend on her high school.
All for little, forgettable her.
Making her realize that maybe there’s a whole lot more going on than she originally thought.
“A must-read, action-packed adventure that combines the real-life challenges of high school with that of an epic, otherworldly armageddon. I highly suggest The Rise of the Raidin for YA fantasy fans—you won’t be disappointed!” – Reedsy Discovery, ★★★★★
“Susan L Markloff has pulled off a fantastic story here, with depth of plot and characters that leave you wanting to read more. Young Adult Fantasy readers will find a whole world to love in The Rise of Raidin, and the premise fits nicely within the genre. Superbly written, with great humor and attention paid to each character that makes the whole read thoroughly enjoyable.” – ManyBooks
“A highly original YA urban fantasy, The Rise of the Raidin is an engaging mixture of everyday high school pressures, and the pressure of confronting mythical beasts. The well-choreographed action scenes and snappy dialogue result in a work of YA fantasy that will satisfy traditional YA readers and fantasy readers alike.” – Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★
“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.” – Reader’s Favorite, ★★★★★
“The Rise of the Raidin is an exceptional science fiction/high fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of those genres, as well as readers who enjoy high school drama.”- BookLife, ★★★★
Training in the Dark
Ar’on smacked her shoulder with his wooden practice sword, and she let out a yelp, hopping a little toward the side to avoid any further hits. He frowned and rolled his eyes with a small shake of his head. An exasperated sigh left him as he let his arms fall, the sword rocking back and forth in his loose grip.
“You’re still not guarding properly,” Tyron said from the corner of the room, his arms crossed as he surveyed his charge’s progress. He resisted the urge to remind her, again, that she was supposed to focus on her opponent’s movements.
Rolling her eyes, Jennifer Monroe rubbed her wounded shoulder as she looked over at Tyron. “You’re having me train with a wooden sword; what could this possibly teach me about fighting with energy?” She was only eighteen, still young in any hybrid’s eyes, but picked up fighting tactics faster than he would have anticipated, especially considering she had only been aware of her abilities as a Human Born for a little over a year.
She was short and athletically built, but never would he consider her tiny. Her medium-length brown hair framed her face, sometimes obscuring her hazel eyes when her bangs got too long. She usually had her hair hidden under a baseball cap when she trained to keep the locks from flying into her face.
Tyron’s gaze hardened as he pushed himself off the wall and made his way to the middle of the room where they stood. “It’s not about the weapon.” He took the practice sword from Ar’on, and the elder warrior stepped aside as the Team Leader took his place. “It’s about how you wield it. Your energy is a part of you, and any good swordsman will tell you that a blade is an extension of themselves. The great ones learn to treat it like a part of their bodies. You need to learn to do the same in order to keep your power in check.”
“In check of what?” She shrugged. “I thought I was wielding it pretty well.” To accentuate her point, she held her left hand out and twinged her fingers a bit as smokey blue tendrils flew around her digits.
Flicking the tip of his sword at her hand, Tyron smacked her and the energy dissipated.
“You don’t have full control of it yet. Being so lackadaisical about it will only lull you into a false sense of confidence. That’s the worst thing you could do.”
Jen let out a disgruntled sigh. “What harm could it possibly do?” “That’s a loaded question.”
“It wasn’t a question.”
“It sounded like one,” Tyron said as he lifted his sword. Mirroring his stance, she was quiet for a few seconds before she said, “I really do want to know.”
“You might hurt yourself, or someone else, or you could blow something up for all we know,” he said as he jabbed forward. With a clack, clack, clack, the wood met in succession as he gently pushed her backward. Jen hopped with each movement fluidly, just as she had seen on shows and in movies. A simple movement. He was testing her on something, but she didn’t know what.
“I can’t blow things up,” she said sarcastically. When Tyron didn’t respond or move, she jutted her sword forward. He countered, and she pushed forward again, trying to force him backward. He kept his feet grounded, and despite her efforts to move him, he blocked each of her blows effortlessly and sent her stumbling back.
“We don’t know that,” he said as the wood clanked with each hit. “You don’t know anything about my energy,” she retorted, getting ever angrier as he calmly and easily deflected her attacks. He wasn’t breaking a sweat, but she could feel her pulse beginning to speed up, trying to get some movement out of him. Every now and then, she might cause him to lean back slightly, but his feet never moved. She could swear not a single hair on his head shifted. Jen felt like she was dancing around, trying to find his vulnerable spot.
A smile tugged at his lips as he watched her struggle. “We know that it’s just like ours, but stronger. That being said, you should learn the basics. No one’s above the basics.”
Her frustration bubbling, Jen jabbed forward and let out a small yell. Tyron side-stepped and brought his blade around, smacking her in the back with little effort. He didn’t hold back on the power behind his hit, though.
He wasn’t going easy on her. He never did. Clearly, he had never learned to not hit girls when he was growing up.
As Jen fell to her knees and let out a hiss, he said, “No one here would doubt for a second that you’re powerful, Jen. But all that means is that your energy needs to be treated with even more care than a normal hybrid.”
She glared at him from over her shoulder. “Was that necessary?” “You’re not thinking through your attacks.” He placed the tip of the sword on the ground and leaned against the hilt. “You’re just… flailing the weapon at your enemy, hoping it’ll connect. You’re not actually taking in their advantages or disadvantages. It’s like your mentality is that you’ll wear them down.”
“Maybe that method works,” she said, gritting her teeth as she stood. Gently touching her back, she felt the muscles flinch at her soft inspection. It was going to bruise, and badly. She hated that he never held back. He never treated her like a fragile human.
Sure, fine, she wasn’t a fragile human, but it still hurt to be whacked with the full strength of a Chief Master of the Agerian Defense.
Tyron tilted his head slightly and scrunched his face. “Mm, that’s not likely.”
“Look, it works in video games,” she said, deadpan. He sniggered. “Right, because that’s the best argument for why things should work in reality.” He closed the distance between them and snatched the sword from her. Turning around, he walked to the far wall and put the swords back on the racks.
“Did you have to hit me so hard?” she whined.
“A little bruising never killed anyone,” Ar’on said from his spot in the corner.
“Easy for you to say.”
The elder hybrid grinned, an action that showcased his wrinkles most prominently, and said, “Trust me when I say that I’ve had my fair share of sore mornings.”
“Sure you have.”
“We’re going to keep working on this,” Tyron proclaimed, walking back toward her. “These methods will help you learn how to focus what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You can’t just go shooting your energy around like a leaf in the wind.”
Jen let out a short breath before she said, “Hypothetical question.”
“Let’s say there are enemies around, and only enemies. And, like, you’re not there. And no one’s there. And it’s just me.” “Jen,” Tyron said with a slightly bored look.
“Let’s just say I’m alone, and I get attacked. And there’s no one around that could get hurt.” She shrugged. “What’s to say I can’t just unleash some energy then?”
Tyron glanced at Ar’on before returning his gaze to her. “I’m not saying never use your energy. I’m saying you need to learn how to properly wield it so you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.”
She glanced at the swords hanging on the wall and asked as she pointed at them, “And those will help with that?”
With a nod, he said, “Yes.” As she opened her mouth to say something, he held up a finger and added, “With time and practice.” As though he were asking her to do a dance recital in front of the whole school, she grumbled, “Fine.”
“You’ll thank me for this, eventually.” Glancing at his watch, he continued, “All right, it’s almost two. You’d better get home and get some sleep before—”
All three of them turned toward the doorway where a five-foot tall, tan grovix, named Archer, skidded to a stop just past the thresh old. Archer had a more canine structure to his face, with big ears that sat erect on his head, and large feet. Jen had never asked, but she thought it was fair to guess that Archer’s weight rivaled a lion’s. “There’s a Ferveos loose,” Archer said.
“What?” Tyron asked, pulling his brow together.
There was a swirl of silver dust, and a lean man appeared in front of the grovix, lackadaisically holding a tablet. Called a Jumper, he had the ability to shift into and out of the third and fifth dimensions. He used it in a cavalier manner, frequently choosing to close the distance between floors rather than towns. Krelien easily could be called the most fashionable of the group and, without a doubt, the shortest.
“Hey, there’s a Ferveos out in a cow field.”
“Hey, dingus, I said I would get them,” Archer barked. “Obviously, not fast enough,” Krelien said with a smirk. He turned back toward the others. “It’s like fifteen miles from here.” The Alpha Team Leader flitted his eyes around the room for a moment before he turned to Jen, who stared at him apprehensively. A little uneasily, Tyron asked her, “You up for slaying a dragon?”
About Susan L. Markloff:
2022 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner.
Susan Markloff spent a majority of her childhood pretending to live in other worlds. Coupled with her admiration for fantastical stories, she crafted one of her own. Studying writing at Houghton College, she learned how to hone her skills as an author, writing first drafts of five books during her college career. The Rise of the Raidin is her debut novel and the first in the Human-Born Era series. Susan resides in her hometown of Sellersville, PA with her faithful dog, Pinkerton.
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