Young Adult Fantasy

Liftoff: Book 1 of the Rayatana Series

By

This book will launch on Nov 30, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Loved it! 😍

Liftoff is an enjoyable, accessible jaunt into a world that, while different, is not so unrecognizable from the current reality.

Synopsis

A spaceship in disguise,
An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,
And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,
All collide on a summer afternoon.

An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

Amaya gets trapped in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies.

What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war?

What begins as a banal, ordinary day becomes the adventure of a lifetime. Amaya is seventeen, newly transplanted to Washington from her previous life in California. Her family has been torn apart, and she has found solace in two good friends who love going to the movies and talking about boys. When their matinee showing is cut short by what feels like an earthquake, the girls are separated, leaving Amaya on a rapidly ascending movie theatre-turned-spaceship with the sexy and mysterious Sol. Moments later, Amaya is thrown across the galaxy, finding herself in the middle of a conflict that has raged for generations. Amaya’s true nature is soon revealed, causing her to question everything she thought she knew; and it is up to her to reconnect what has been torn asunder.


Written as a novella, Liftoff is a short and sweet introduction to Amaya’s world and the complexities of the universe beyond. Bite-sized chapters keep the story moving, launching Amaya into one situation after another as she travels the reaches of space. Though world-building must be done in a relatively short time-frame, it is done in a believable and comprehensible way. Readers will have no trouble settling themselves in this new environment, especially because of the myriad connections to religion and mythology already present on Earth. Light references to Christianity can be found throughout the story, although it is not a pervasive theme. Chaste allusions to romance and moderate violent scenes are also included, making this story accessible to readers transitioning to the young adult genre. Diverse characters and settings give the story a richness that drives the narrative. As mentioned in the Afterward, this story opens many ideas to be explored further, whether in subsequent novellas or in a longer novel.


While the story can easily move into a sequel, however, this first installment has an agreeable endpoint. A glossary of terms introduced in the novella is included at the end of the book, helping readers orient themselves to unfamiliar jargon used in the story. Liftoff is an enjoyable, accessible jaunt into a world that, while different, is not so unrecognizable from the current reality.

Reviewed by

My career has focused on children’s literature, primarily, but I have a love for YA books, too. I began reviewing books in 2015, since which time I have had over 500 published reviews!

I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews like this upon request: https://youtu.be/9MQx-u_NFI8

Synopsis

A spaceship in disguise,
An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,
And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,
All collide on a summer afternoon.

An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

Amaya gets trapped in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies.

What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war?

Amaya

Amaya didn’t like matinees, but they were cheap, and money was tight since her parents’ divorce and her mom’s decision to move back to the small city of her childhood in Western Washington, in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. Amaya didn’t like it. She missed her besties, martial arts classes, the California sun, everything about her old life. She’d lost so much. At seventeen, she should be getting ready for college, but all she wanted, as she sat in the dark movie theater, was a sense of home. All summer long, this old movie theater welcomed her in and wrapped her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. Something about this place just felt right.

Amaya leaned back into the surprisingly comfortable red vinyl seat and put a hand on her necklace. Three intertwined ovals were raised above the surface of the front, while the back held a triangle of three stars on one side and a shooting star on the other. Her maternal grandfather had made it, and her maternal grandmother had blessed it. It linked her to them, to belonging somewhere. Her chest ached, thinking about their sudden deaths, just months before her parents’ divorce. 

“Popcorn?” Amaya’s new friend Jessi held out the bucket, bringing Amaya back to the moment.

Amaya nodded and took a handful. She didn’t eat any, but the strong, buttery smell held her thoughts at bay. 

On the other side of Jessi, Natalie offered up their shared soda. 

Amaya smiled, but she shook her head. Jessi and Natalie were really sweet, probably the nicest, most normal friends she’d had in her life. They talked about boys, movies, romance novels, and school. And they were open about race and ethnicity, which Amaya appreciated. She’d heard racist remarks her whole life because of her burnt sienna skin, but Jessi and Natlie accepted her. They didn’t even care that she didn’t know what her ethnicity was exactly. Despite her many questions, her parents didn’t want her to know about her roots. It made no sense and drove her crazy. All her mom cared about was signing Amaya up for martial arts, survival skills, archery, and gymnastics. Amya’s old friends and private schools had also been vetted by her mom. Despite her mom’s reasoning for her paranoia, something always felt off, like her mom was just one step beyond the normal helicopter moms.

Jessi nudged her with the popcorn bucket again. At some point in her melancholy, Amaya had eaten her popcorn. She took another handful, inhaled the scent, and then forced her gaze up to the screen. 

In the movie, a teen girl and a teen guy stood awkwardly at a bus stop. He was offering to take her out for coffee or ice cream or anything. Amaya wanted to fall into the silly romantic vibe of it, but she was struggling to let go of everything today. She glanced over at her friends, who were staring up at the screen in anticipation. Jessi and Natalie loved romance with the fervor of the uninitiated. They were so much fun that it had been easy to be drawn into light conversation and boy gossip with them, even reading romances and watching cheesy movies.

They had the whole theater to themselves, and the air conditioning had been set to freezing. Shivering in summer shorts with a thin, long-sleeve top, Amaya curled her legs to her chest and tried, again, to lose herself in the movie. She hadn’t seen it before, but she had checked out the book from the library. 

The film jerked to a sudden stop right as the guy reached for the girl’s hand.

Amaya sighed. 

“Hey, we didn’t even get to the first awkward kiss,” Jessi groaned.

Then all the little lights along the aisles winked out, the comforting neon of the exit sign disappeared, and the movie screen went dark. The theater rumbled.

“Earthquake!” Amaya shouted, grabbing for her friends as she struggled to stand. The ground rolled, and she fell forward onto the next row of seats.

Jessi and Natalie screamed.

Amaya fought to right herself and settled for rolling sideways off the seats.

The earth had stopped moving, but Jessi kept screaming, and Natalie sounded as though she was crying. 

“It’s okay,” Amaya said. “It stopped. Jessi, take deep breaths. We’re going to be okay.”

“Okay,” Jessi said in a ragged voice.

A beam of light pierced the darkness, followed by a calm, deep voice. “Everyone all right in here?”

“I think so,” Amaya said. “Can you lead us out?”

The flashlight beam swept over Jessi and Natalie and landed on Amaya. She self-consciously tugged at the frayed hem of her shirt. Then she reached out to Jessi. “C’mon, we’re getting out of here.”

“Okay,” Jessi whispered. She took Amaya’s hand and rose to her feet. 

Natalie stood behind her and took Jessi’s other hand.

Amaya knew she should be prepared for anything, thanks to her mom’s training, but for now, holding hands felt better. At least they could anchor each other in the darkness. 


About the author

Tyrean Martinson, lifelong SFF fan, fenced foil and saber in college, once acted in plays, and then became a teacher and writing tutor, which gives her plenty of opportunity to use Star Wars and Marvel movies as examples, and gesture theatrically when she makes a point. view profile

Published on November 10, 2020

30000 words

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Reviewed by

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