Monday, February 29, 2016

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

“Trust No One.”

Addie Webster disappeared without a trace from the Governor’s Mansion while her father was  Governor of Virginia. Eight years old at the time, she and her best friend, Darrow Fergusson, were playing a game of Connect Four that turned out badly when Darrow was about to win but Addie ruined the game so that she wouldn’t lose. Arguing, Addie stomps off. A few minutes later, Darrow realizes that he can never stay mad at Addie and goes to look for her. After an hour of searching, it becomes evident that she is missing. Addie is gone without a trace. Darrow, whose mother is Governor Webster’s Chief of Staff, blames himself. He keeps a red checker from the game in his pocket as a reminder that maybe some day he will get a do over as far as addie is concerned.

Eight years have passed and Governor Mark Webster is now President Mark Webster. He is in the middle of his turbulent first term. When a girl appears at a truck stop in the middle of Pennsylvania claiming to be the missing Adele Webster, the Secret Service begins a relentless train of questioning. A DNA test is performed and the results come back that the girl claiming to be Adele Webster is in fact Addie. Reintroduction with her family now living in the White House goes as well as expected, especially since her young sister Ellie isn’t there. Addie also meets her replacement, youngest sister Mackenzie, who doesn’t understand what is going on. Soon, someone realizes that Addie has more than a few secrets about her abduction and return.

In the midst of Addie’s reappearance, Cerberus ups it’s cyber attacks. President Webster is against electronic surveillance and the government has widely scaled back on “spying” on its citizens. Cerberus, an unknown terrorist group who believes President Webster is wrong in his surveillance stance, is trying to prove how easily cyber attacks can happen. Up until six months ago when Cerberus stopped the U.S nuclear power grid from melting down, the group had only been known to disrupt terrorist run Web sites and altering authorities. Not happy with President Webster’s stance on surveillance, Cerberus is attacking sites around the capital to show how wrong he is. One person, General James McQueen who was named by the president to look into Cerberus, is investigating what is going on and he believes Addie Webster is involved some how. He “recruits” Darrow to spy on her, who doesn’t like having his hand forced. Soon, thrust into the political storm surrounding Addie Webster, Darrow is looking to not fail his friend a second time.

The question now becomes, why after all of these years has Addie reappeared? Will Darrow spy on his friend? What really happened to Addie during the eight years she spent captive? Who was her captor and what reason was she taken? What secrets is Addie hiding from everyone? Can Darrow save Addie Webster?

Readers will be racing for the end of this book full of mystery, political intrigue and psychological thriller.

Visit Jan Gangsei‘s website.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Riders by Veronica Rossi

“Can you outrun destiny?”

Eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake cannot wait to finish high school and head to Fort Benning, Georgia. After finishing Basic Training, Advanced Infantry Training and Airborne School, Gideon ended up in RASP;  the gate way to becoming a US Army Ranger. He is determined to follow in his father's footsteps, even if it kills him. Turns out, it did.

Halfway through RASP, the class is taken for a parachute jump to keep their Airborne training fresh in their minds. Excited for his sixth jump and first without being weighed down by gear, Gideon experiences every jumpers worst nightmare. Neither his main or reserve chutes open, instead becoming tangled. Using his training, Gideon attempts to get his reserve chute to open. When he is finally successful, it is too late. His fall cannot be slowed down enough for a safe landing. Gideon’s mind flashes to the thought that he would die on the first anniversary of his father's death. Preparing to make his landing, the last thing Gideon hears is the bones in his left arm and leg breaking.

Gideon thinks he is dead but can hear the commotion going on around him as his friends try to save his life. He feels something clasp around his left wrist and life flows back into him. He wakes up a few days later in Walter Reed Medical Center and is discharged after only one week. Gideon is transferred home to Half Moon Bay, California to heal some more before the doctors decide what to do about his injuries. While at home things, begin to get weird for Gideon. Waking up one morning, Gideon is aware of how quiet the house is. After life in the noisy barracks, it is a little unsettling. He looks at his injuries and knows that beneath the clothes and air-casts, his body looks like a black and blue patchwork quilt. Gideon is angry that his recovery is expected to take up to a year. On strict orders to only move when necessary, his rage gets the best of him. Sitting up in bed, he waits for the pain to hit but it never does. Ditching his pain medication, he grabs a crutch to use with his unbroken arm. Gideon drags his injured body out of the house.

Once outside, Gideon sees his next door neighbor in her yard. Having treated him and his twin sister Anna like grandchildren, he knows the polite thing to do is speak. Calling him by name, Mrs. Collins drops the garden shears that she was holding. Attempting to apologize for scaring her, she begins to berate Gideon, calling him a liar and tells him to go on his way. Confused, he drags himself to the beach trail head. Gideon stops when he realizes there is no pain in neither his arm or leg. Thinking the doctors were way off on his recovery time, he sets himself a new target of six months to return to Benning. On the beach, Gideon spots the neighbor's dog, Jackson, who used to be his running partner. He calls the dog over but he stops ten feet from Gideon. With hackles raised and a low growl, it is as if the dog doesn’t recognize him. Jackson charges Gideon, who quickly loses his footing. Once he is back on the asphalt, Jackson stops and runs away when his owner calls.

Having had enough for one day, Gideon heads home. His mother reprimands him as soon as he comes through the door. Gideon finally gets her to quiet down when he agrees to go back to bed. He is puzzled over how much venom his mother’s words had. Laying in bed, Gideon realizes that he isn’t dragging his leg nor is he in any pain. He can wiggle his toes and realizes that he feels fine. His mom knocks on the door and apologizes. Seeing him up and moving around scared her. He is able to send her away before she can open the door. Gideon decides to look at his leg and takes his air-cast off. He is shocked to see only a few pale scars; no bruising or swelling. Gideon panics and unstraps the cast on his arm. It is completely healed, just like his leg. The only thing different is a two inch metal band around his wrist. Not recognizing the metal, it gives off a crimson glow when light hits it. Gideon doesn’t know what it is, how it got on him, or how he was even going to get it off. It is fastened tight.

Gideon wakes up the next morning to his  mother yelling on the phone. She comes to his room to tell him that she has been unexpectedly called into work. Anna will be there that evening to stay with him and Mrs. C can come over in the meantime. Gideon tries to refuse but is only successful in stopping Mrs. C from coming over. Anna has already made her plans. After his mother leaves, Gideon packs a bag and heads out to his Jeep. He drives to Cal Poly to stop his sister from coming home. When she doesn’t answer the door buzzer, he goes around back to see if he can climb into her dorm. Joy, Anna’s downstairs neighbor is on her balcony. Introducing themselves to each other, Joy immediately knows all about Anna’s Army brother. She invites him to a party at her place later that night and watches as Gideon climbs up to his sister’s room.

With her sliding door unlocked, Gideon enters her dorm and hears Anna crying behind as door. She is shocked to see her brother standing there. Anna questions him about his injuries and he tells her that they aren’t as bad as she has been led to believe. He wants to know why she is crying and is furious to learn that her ex boyfriend wants to get back together. Anna and Wyatt dated in high school but decided to take a mutual break once college started. Anna warns him that Wyatt is on his way over and there is a knock on the door. Anna lets Wyatt in. He isn’t happy to see Gideon and vice versa. Soon , Anna begins to get angry with Wyatt, slaps him across the  face and tells him to not come back. Afterwards, Anna cannot believe what she just did and locks herself in her room. Gideon cannot get her to open the door. He hears the front door open and doesn’t want to  have another bizarre social situation and leaves by the balcony for a head clearing run.

Running clears Gideon’s head and he tries to figure out what is going on. He healed super fast, he has a strange bracelet and it seems that his ability to make people angry just got better. Cooling down, he notices that the bracelet has a buzzing sensation on his wrist. He takes a rock and strikes it only to fall over. There is a high pitched screaming in his ears and the sound of hoofbeats. Out for what seems a few minutes, Gideon heads back to Anna’s place. He works on getting his temper in check before seeing his sister again. Noticing her brother’s physique, she questions him if something else is going on and the accident is just a cover. He denies it. She heads off to Joy’s party and will see him there. By the way, mom went ballistic when she heard Gideon was at her place. Alone, he pulls out his discharge papers and calls his doctor back at Walter Reed. She asks how he is doing and then Gideon gets to the point of his call. He asks her if anyone put a bracelet on his arm and she tells him that he doesn’t need a medical alert id. No, he asks, a healing bracelet. It’s not in his papers but a magnetic bracelet won’t help him with the extent of his injuries. She will see him next week for a follow up. Finding no information on mysterious bracelets on the Internet except in reference to super heroes, Gideon heads down to the party.

At the party, the guys there flash hostile looks and mutter about “G.I. Joe” under their breaths. Hanging out with Anna and her roommate Taylor, it isn’t long before Anna goes over to talk with Wyatt and Taylor sees someone else. Joy comes over and the two begin chatting. Gideon looks out to the balcony and sees a girl staring back at him with a determined look on her face. Joy asks him if he knows that girl. Gideon replies that he might and excuses himself. The girl comes up to him, looking super confident and Gideon tries to put on an air of confidence himself. Her gaze flickers to the band on his wrist. She tells him that he needs to come with her, right now. Gideon thinks that it is a pick up line but she tells him that she isn’t joking. They need to leave before he gets hurt. Looking confused, she realizes that he doesn’t know what’s going on or found the others. Joking, he stops when she places her hand on his arm and calls him by name. She introduces herself as Daryn and turns him towards the door. He is questioning her behavior when he runs into her back. She has stopped suddenly and the front door open to two guys and a girl. Gideon realizes that something bad is about to happen. Daryn tells him to run but Gideon is ready for some action.

Two guys and a girl are at the door and all breaks loose. The girl takes after Daryn and Gideon takes on the bigger guy. Strange things occur and Gideon is left wondering what is going on. Bloody and weakened from the fight, Anna is able to get the guy off of her brother. When the girl comes back saying that she lost Daryn, the guy looks at Gideon and tells him that he won’t be able to do anything. They leave. Gideon’s right hand is bloody and probably broken. He grabs the bat and takes off after the monster of a guy. Outside, Gideon doesn’t find them but does find Daryn. She is standing in his Jeep. he gets in and watches as Daryn hot wires it and races down the road.

Stopping at a deserted beach, Daryn asks for something to drink but Gideon is ready for answers. When he puts his hand on her, Daryn demands that he takes it off. He does and she gets out of the Jeep. She has her hand to her hand like she has a migraine and Gideon wants to know why she kidnapped him. He came willingly and she is not scared of him the way he thinks. Gideon is just looking for answers and she seems to know them. Daryn wasn’t prepared for him not to know. She blurts out that he is War. Gideon responds by saying he has been to war yet. Daryn tells him that he is War, the second rider from the book of Revelations. He has been given some of the abilities to carry out a specific task along with Conquest, Famine and Death.Gideon asks if she is Peace. No and he refers to her as crazy. Daryn shouts that she isn’t crazy and runs off.

What happened to Gideon when his parachute didn’t open? Why has his body healed at an incredible rate? What is the bracelet on his wrist and what does it do? Who is Daryn? Who was the guy that Gideon fought at the party? Is Gideon really the embodiment of War? What specific task is he suppose to carry out? Who are the remaining three riders?

Book two, Seeker, will be out in 2017 and wraps up the story.

Visit Veronica Rossi’s website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (The Great Library book 1)

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…
Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.
Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.… -

Book two, Paper and Fire, will be out July 5, 2016.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t  read the first book in this series, Red Queen, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you.

“Kneel or bleed”
“If there is one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.”

Here is a quick recap from Epic Reads of Red Queen.
Please visit the Recaptains blog if you need an in depth refresher on Red Queen.

Picking up immediately where Red Queen ended, Mare and Cal are now on the run from Maven with the Scarlet Guard. Mare knows that their one chance of defeating Maven is finding and recruiting the other Red bloods with Silver abilities like herself before Maven can kill them. With the Scarlet Guard, it's not long before Mare is blindsided by the fact that once again, she has placed her trust with someone she shouldn't. Imprisoned with Cal, the two hatch a plan to escape and find as many newbloods as they can before King Maven has them killed.

Can Mare ever find anyone to trust? Will sparks still fly between Mare and Cal? Who ends up helping Mare rescue the newbloods? Can she find them before Maven does? Will Maven ever let Mare go?

Readers will be left in breathless anticipation for the third book in the Red Queen quartet.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Traveler by Arwen Elys Dayton (Seeker book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Seeker, Stop! I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

“The past is merciless.”

Two weeks have passed since the airship Traveler crashed. Shinobu MacBain has lain unconscious in his hospital bed. Quin Kincaid has been by his hospital bed continuously, even on her seventeenth birthday. Finally regaining consciousness, Quin shows Shinobu the copy of Catherine Hart’s journal that she had made. John recovered the original during the battle on the Traveler. Quin is determined to learn the truth behind the Seekers; why they strayed from their true mission and what happened to the other families. The two don’t have the opportunity to really catch up before two strange boys, using Seeker weapons, appear in Shinobu’s hospital room. They are looking for the Dreads’ athame, which the Young Dread gave to Quin. Soon, Quin’s father, Briac, is there with sparks around his head. He was hit with a disrupter while on the Traveler. He keeps referring to Quin as Fiona, her mother’s name. With no other way out of the room, Quin uses the athame to open a portal to Hong Kong for herself and Shinobu.

Leaving There for Hong Kong, Quin is dismayed to find that her father and the two boys are already there. She finds a place and distracts her rattled father by throwing rocks. The two boys gather up Briac. Quin notices that they move like the Young Dread but are nothing like her. The older boy has no idea how they are going to find Quin in Hong Kong but the young one says that they need to get the others to help. Quin wonders why the want the Dreads’ athame and doesn’t think that the Young read is involved. She realizes that instead of solving the mystery of the Seekers, the two of them have come across a much more dangerous piece of the puzzle.

John Hart was sought out by the Young Dread, Maud, after the fight on the Traveler. She offered to complete his Seeker training when Briac refused to do so. She feels that she is making up for interfering in Catherine Hart’s life. When Briac and the two boys show up at the estate one night, Maud doesn’t know who they are either. She does take note of the athame they are carrying.  Moving like Dreads, they are much too loud to actually be ones. John joins Maud in her hiding spot. John notices that Briac is with them and he takes off, ignoring Maud’s warnings. Briac sees a raging John and orders the boys to use the athame to open a portal. They disappear before John can follow them.

Who are the boys with Briac Kincaid and who do they “work” for? Why are they looking for Quin? What secrets does Catherine Hart’s journal contain? Can Quin discover the truth behind the Seekers? What happened to the other Seeker families? How did the Young Dread interfere with Catherine's life? Will John complete his Seeker training? Can he get past his need for vengeance and redeem himself? Why did the Young Dread give Quin the athame?

After that ending, readers will be left clamoring for Disruptor in 2017.

Visit Arwen Elys Dayton’s website.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (A Lunar Chronicles Collection)

A collection of short stories set in the Lunar Chronicles. Five of these stories have never appeared in print before.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century… taken from

A worthwhile read for fans of the series.

Visit Marissa Meyer’s website.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Starflight by Melissa Landers (Starflight book 1)

Solara Brooks is looking for a fresh start, one away from the orphanage where she learned to become a mechanic and where no one cares about the felony tattoos that cover her knuckles. She is looking for work as an indentured servant in order to earn passage aboard the Zenith to the outer realms. Solara was just offered a job on a new terraform on Vega as a mechanic. She is the last one standing looking for passage when her worse nightmare walks up. Doran Spaulding was the star quarterback and her academic rival at the exclusive academy where Solara was a scholarship student. She was forced to leave and graduate elsewhere when she got into trouble. If she doesn’t accept Doran’s servitude, the next trip won’t be for another year. With nowhere else to go, she humbles herself and accepts Doran’s offer over the protests of his girlfriend. Five months is better than waiting another year.

Doran is a demanding master, calling for Solara at all hours of the day and night. When he sends for her one night, in her haste, Solara forgets to wear her fingerless gloves. Doran doesn’t trust her and freaks out to learn that she is a felony. He no longer wants Solara to work for him and informs her that she will now be at the beck and call of Miss DePaul, his girlfriend. Solara will need to take care of her dog before breakfast. Solara sleeps in her bunk until the morning alarm.  Feeling uneasy, it isn’t until she heads towards Miss DePaul’s suite that she realizes her wristband hasn’t registered any pages. Miss DePaul answers the door telling Solara to clean up Baby’s accident before taking her for a walk. She is going to take a shower and instructs Solara to lock the door when she leaves. She takes the dog for a walk and “forgets” to lock the door behind her. The Zenith has reached a refueling station and Doran has requested that she meet him outside the auxiliary engine room.

Without speaking to her, Doran points out a window where she sees the ship being refueled and her trunk on the floor. He is dead serious about leaving her behind at the outpost because she wouldn't tell him what she did to get the tattoos. Solara doesn't want to tell him but instead the two shoot insults at one another over each other's character. At the end of her rope, Solara remembers Sister Agnes’ is parting gift, a stunner. She is able to knock him out and slip his wristband off of his hand. Suddenly, she realizes that she hadn't thought through her plan. Doran’s handprint is needed to use the band at any purchasing scanners.

When Doran come to, he is unable to remember who he is or where he is at. A female voice speaks and she helps him to sit up. The young girl looks familiar but he cannot recall how he knows her. He notices the M band on her wrist and realizes that it stands for master. He looks down and sees that he is wearing the matching slave band. Solara tells him that he was hired to travel with her to the Obsidian Beaches. He became became dizzy and fell down the stairs. He accepts her story because it sounds familiar. Solara tells Doran that he is hung over and they need to hurry to catch their connecting ship. He is unable to remember his name and asks what it is. Doran Zenith and her name is Lara, but he can call her Miss Brooks.

Solara doesn't feel guilty for taking Doran's money and once she reaches the outer realm, the Enforcers cannot touch her. She wants to purchase him a ticket back to Earth but he is having none of it. Doran has something important to do at the Obsidian Beaches. He is determined to go with her. She relents, knowing that she would still have access to his money and makes clear to him what their relationship is. At the Auto Mall, she withdraws some of Doran’s  money, takes him to a clinic for some “medicine” and goes shopping. After she has outfitted Doran in some coveralls, he begrudgingly carries her packages. Suddenly, an announcement comes over the broad over the speaker saying, “Passenger Spaulding, please report to your ship.” Solara panics and points towards a ship saying “that one!” A sign on the wall states that it is the SS Banshee, Captain Phineas Ross, sole proprietor. Solara keeps pushing the call button while keeping an eye on the enith. Finally, a boy opens the door and asks what they want. Solara ask for passage for two to the outer realm. Both boys look at her questioningly and Doran asks about the Obsidian beaches. Solara correct herself saying the Beaches first, then the realm  and asks how much, while the announcement is made again. The captain finally comes to the door and Solara bargains over the price while she keeps looking at the Zenith and see several Enforcers. They finally agree on a price and Ross says that they will leave in five minutes.

In the ship, the boy introduced introduces himself as Kane and continues to flirt with Solara. They eventually meet Cassia and Lawrence, who is the first mate. Solara is surprised to see the ship tracer on a table and she is quickly told that it is broken, which she knows is a lie. Later, the Banshee takes a couple of warning shots from the Enforcers and Solara realizes how the ship got her name, they take off screaming like a banshee. Solara realizes the depth of the trouble she will be in if the Enforcers catch her. Already a convicted felony, kidnapping a Spaulding wouldn’t bode well for her future. The captain pages everyone to report to the bridge. Doran is feeling claustrophobic in the ship and begins to remember some facts about his living situation, facts that aren’t adding up. He begins to wonder exactly how he has ended up in his current situation. Doran asks “Lara” for some answers but backs off when he startles her. On their way, they run into the two younger crew members and they tell the two to turn in for the night. The captain is tired and the ship’s autopilot is broken. They have stopped for the night on an abandoned lunar colony.

The two must share a bed but Solara makes Doran sleep on the floor. During the night, Doran wakes up to find the ship has zero gravity. He stares at Solara before he wakes her up. She immediately realizes that the gravity drive is down and the two of them head to the engine room to repair it. Doran is shocked to learn that Solara is able to fix and asks if she is an engineering student. Something like that she respond and he is even more intrigued about why a young girl is heading towards such a dangerous place. While working in the tight space, Solara asks Doran to hold her hair back so that she can work. He is enjoying the feel of her hair when a flashback of pink hair from his girlfriend comes to mind. Suddenly, all of Doran’s memories come flooding back. She tries to explain but he slams the door shut, trapping her inside. Angry, he doesn’t let Solara explain herself. Doran is ready to go to the captain to tell him what is going on. Solara tells him not to. The crew cannot be trusted since the Enforcers were after them. If he tells them who he really is, they might try to ransom him. If he doesn’t believe, he can go to the bridge and see that the tracker is missing. Doran does just that, leaving Solara behind the locked door. He is dismayed to find that Solara is right and wonders what his plan of action will be.

Can Doran begin to trust Solara and work with her to get himself out of their situation? Why is Solara heading to the outer realms? What did Solara do to receive her tattoos? What is the real reason Doran is traveling to the Obsidian Beaches? How come he was being paged repeatedly at the refueling station? What is really going on with the SS Banshee and its crew? Do they find out who Doran really is?
Visit Melissa Landers’ website.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen book 0.1-0.2)

"Two women on either side of the Silver-Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Discover the truth of Norta's bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Queen Song
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars
Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow." -

Book two in the Red Queen quartet, Glass Sword, will be published February 9, 2016.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan (Sword and Verse book 1)

“I never knew Tyasha ke Demit, but her execution started everything.”

Fifteen year old Raisa is cleaning in the Library of the Gods before Prince Mati’s tutor is to be executed for treason. An Arnath child slave, she was captured by raiders two days after her sixth birthday and just before her father could teach her how to write. Only the king, his heir and their tutors know the higher order script. It is forbidden for even the nobles who refer to themselves as the Scholar class, because they could read and write, to know anything other than the lower order. The lower classes couldn't even learn that. Raisa is able to recognize the symbol for Rai, which could get her killed. With tensions running high over the impending executions, Raisa is caught removing one of the written letters to the Gods from its alcove in the Library. She is immediately taken to Prince Mati.

Mati asks if the claim is true and she says that it was just an accident. He orders her released. Notifying the king would only infuriate him. The guards reluctantly agree knowing that Tyasha’s guards are to executed as well. The ranking guard tells the prince that the letter is still on the library floor. The prince leads them all to the library. The guards and children have all moved as far as possible away from the half unrolled scroll. Prince Mati picks it up and asks Raisa if she can read it. He reads it, laughs and rolls it back up before placing it back in its slot. He asks her how old she is and questions the ranking guard if she isn’t too old for library work. The guard says that he will rectify it but the prince suggests that she become the next tutor-in-training. Following Tyasha’s execution the next day, Raisa joins a group of girls being tested to take her place. Fumbling through the testing, she is surprised to find herself chosen.

One year has passed since Raisa became the tutor-in-training. She studies all day along beside Prince Mati with the tutor, Laiyones ke Tirit. Raisa and Mati are close in age unlike Tyasha, who was seven years his senior. She likes the attention that the prince shows her but even Raisa knows that it is wrong since she is still essentially a slave. Raisa is also a bit frustrated because the only thing she has learned so far is the lower order script. She can recognize just a few of the symbols in her heart-verse that her father gave her on her sixth birthday. The heart-verse is a “symbol of who I was, who I was born to be. It was to have been the first thing I would learn to write.”  Raisa has kept it hidden since her capture nine years ago. Her father, one of the Learned Ones, was going to teach Raisa how to read and write the language of the Gods so that she could take his place on the council of four who passed on the teachings of their people. The Qilarites exterminated the Learned Ones and their families every chance they got.

Sotia is the displaced goddess of wisdom that is worshipped by the Arnathim. No daughter from a Scholar family wants to portray her, bound and gagged, even with Prince Mati as Aqil, standing over her with his foot on her back during the pantomime that takes place during the Festival of Aqil. Laiyonea doesn’t think King Tyno will agree, especially on the anniversary of Tyasha’s execution. Prince Mati pleads with Raisa to take part of Sotia. Wanting to finally learn what her heart-verse says, Raisa strikes a deal with Prince Mati to teach her the higher order script.
After making her grand exit from the stage, Raisa heads to the dressing room in the basement. She is surprised to find that she is not alone. The curly-haired slave from the audience that she recognized from the market is impatiently waiting on her. He binds her arms and clasps his hand over her mouth. He only wants to talk and curious, Raisa agrees. He asks her if she knows what Tyasha ke Demit did. Nodding, he tells her that she has the opportunity to serve her people as she did. Tyasha taught the Arnath people the knowledge stolen from them for years before she caught. Raisa asks him if he wants her to become a traitor. One way or the other, she will be betraying someone. She wil not help him and he needs to leave; the less she knows the better. He is surprised that she is unwillingly to rat him out but tells her that the Learned Ones would be ashamed by what she has become. There is a knock on the door and Kiti tells Jonis that it is time to leave. Raisa is shocked to learn that someone she knows is with the Resistance. Jonis leaves her with a coded message to signify whether or not she will join the Resistance.

Does Raisa ever figure out the heart-verse her father gave her? Will she join the Resistance and become a traitor like Tyasha ? Is Prince Mati really interested in her or is her imagination getting the best of her? Why is the higher order writing so secretive? Exactly what path will Raisa decide to take and where will it take her?

This book does function as a stand alone but the author is currently working on a companion novel.

Visit Kathy MacMillian’s website.