Phoenix Rising by Corrina Lawson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (230 pgs)
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia
He was born to be a weapon. For her, he must learn to be a hero.
A Phoenix Institute story
Since birth, Alec Farley has been trained to be a living weapon. His firestarter and telekinetic abilities have been honed to deadly perfection by the Resource, a shadowy anti-terrorist organization—the only family he has ever known. What the Resource didn’t teach him, though, is how to play well with others.
When psychologist Beth Nakamora meets Alec to help him work on his people skills, she’s hit with a double-barreled first impression. He’s hot in more ways than one. And her first instinct is to rescue him from his insular existence.
Her plan to kidnap and deprogram him goes awry when her latent telepathic ability flares, turning Alec’s powers off. Hoping close proximity will reignite his flame, she leads him by the hand through a world he’s never known. And something else flares: Alec’s anger over everything he’s been denied. Especially the passion that melds his mind and body with hers.
The Resource, however, isn’t going to let anything—or anyone—steal its prime investment. Alec needs to be reminded where his loyalties lie…starting with breaking his trust in the woman he’s come to love.
Nuclear airborne sex while saving the world? Yes, please!
Alec Farley defines himself by his abilities. He has been trained to control his skills in such away as to become a powerful weapon for unbeknownst to him a very corrupt father figure. He’s also been led to believe many things about life that are outdated and is inexperienced in many common and social aspects of the world. After being recommended to see a psychologist, Alec is initially wary, but soon warms up to the woman trying to treat him when it becomes clear the only threat she poses is in her physical beauty. Having thought he was in control during their sessions, he underestimates her, so Alec tries seduction as his weapon of choice. In doing so, strange things begin to happen and a mission goes awry. His powers become impossibly stronger and harder to manage, but there is something about Beth that sets him off in an entirely new and extremely pleasant way.
For Beth Nakamora, helping Alec realize he has choices in life like everyone else helps him see that the Resource and, most especially his father, is using him. Her own traumatic past, won’t allow her to abandon him. The problem is mutual trust and when patient/psychologist lines become blurred and eventually crossed, Beth makes a fateful decision to use force by kidnapping him. She shows Alec a different side to a world he hadn’t known existed or experienced outside of books and the Resource. When it becomes apparent to both of them that his father has kept him in the dark for much of his life, Alec decides to take matters into his own hands – literally.
The story has sort of a supernatural X-Men feel to it and by the end, you’ll definitely see why. Unfortunately, while the premise was good, some of the execution felt a bit lacking. There were some awkward scene changes or dialogue that didn’t seem to flow naturally. Getting into the story and forming connections with the characters took some work as the story and their relationship development is fairly fast-paced.
Alec is and is not a naïve hero. He is extreme on both sides as displayed by never having been to a Wal-Mart and takes a new interest to Motown music and learns to drive. Throughout the story, he shows an adorable innocence and enthusiasm for learning what would be considered social norms. However, the opposite extreme in his naïveté is displayed with his visits to strip clubs and his training to take on missions deemed too dangerous for regular civilian soldiers. Somewhat of the same can be said about Beth. While she may be extremely intelligent and retains a do-gooder fearless streak, she plays the victim card a bit too much for my taste. However, her determination is a valued redeeming quality.
Regardless to some of the pitfalls of the story, I was very attracted to the continued stream of action sequences that never let the story flatline. That action includes some really out of this world sex scenes that were enjoyably imagined. The graphic description may not have all been there, but Ms. Lawson definitely provides some unique sense exploratory ones. Some of the secondary characters as well were a welcome addition and occasional distraction.
I believe the series deserves further exploration and will be keeping an eye out for when the next is released. Readers looking for an adventure into a paranormally complex and political world with a quite literally hot hero, will want to check this out.