From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack, the second in the captivating new YA fantasy/romance Stormheart series, perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Victoria Aveyard.
Princess or adventurer.
Duty or freedom.
Her Kingdom or the storm hunter she loves.
If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.
In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different…they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.
This feels like more than rage.
It feels like war.
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“Jinx?” she whispered as loud as she dared. Her only answer was a loud crash as something was slammed onto the door. Suddenly, she heard voices coming not from above, but from deeper in the shelter. She ran across the room, using her hand to flatten her leather collar over her chest, smothering the skyfire light, and then hurled herself behind the supply barrels moments before the door she’d been listening at flew open.
Aurora pressed her back into the wall, doing her best to slow her breathing. The silver-blue glow of a skyfire lantern cast shadows on the wall. She crouched lower, and quickly strapped her collar back into place. The thud of multiple sets of feet were drowned out by more noises overhead. Before Aurora could wrap her mind around anything but hiding, the shelter door was pulled wide, washing the room in daylight, and revealing a large brute of a man with one thick, inked arm curled threateningly around Jinx’s small throat.
Aurora slapped a hand over her mouth to stop her gasp. Jinx, on the other hand, looked nonplussed, almost bored, despite the fierce grip of the man who held her. Aurora ducked lower as the man’s eyes roved over the room, and she saw that Jinx was careful not to let her eyes wander.
“Brax!” a deep, feminine voice called out, mere feet away from Aurora. The man’s eyes snapped to attention. The woman asked, “What have you brought me?”
Aurora listened as Jinx was transferred down the ladder from the first man to another. After a series of heavy footsteps down the ladder, the room dropped into darkness once more, save for the skyfire lantern.
Aurora peeked around the barrel enough to see the woman. She was medium height, but plump, with womanly curves. Her sandy brown skin had an otherworldly gleam in the skyfire’s light.
The man called Brax cracked his knuckles and answered, “Found her lurking about outside, fiddling with the plants you use to hide this place.”
“Is that so?” Silence hung in the air after the woman’s question; a dangerous intensity weaved through the air. Her voice was layered and deep, but precise and crisp. She took one slow step for- ward, then another, until she was face-to-face with Jinx. Then she tilted her head to the side, her long dark hair sliding over her shoulder, and said, “Now who, exactly, are you?”
Aurora saw Jinx smile in the glow of the skyfire, utterly fearless in the face of whoever it was they had stumbled upon. Jinx shrugged casually and replied, “No one you need concern yourself with. I mean you no harm. I just . . . have a fondness for plants.”
The woman laughed, the kind of laugh that would have drawn every eye in a room, only the men around her stayed still and stiff at her side, like soldiers waiting for her command. “That’s darling,” the woman replied, circling around Jinx, surveying her like a predator. “I have a fondness for sharp things.”
At her words, Aurora heard several blades pulled by the surrounding men. Her stomach clenched with nerves. She should have been more careful. She never should have taken such a risk.
“Take these, for example.” The woman held up a hand near Jinx’s face. She wore a shiny leather glove that was more like armor, tipped with dark sharp points that she lightly trailed down the side of Jinx’s throat. “I took these from a wildcat that made the wrong choice in prey. That’s actually her you feel at your feet. I took her claws as punishment, but let her keep her teeth as respect for one predator from another.”
Aurora hadn’t noticed before, but sure enough, a spotted cat with pointed ears wove between Jinx’s legs, tall enough to rub its cheek against her thigh.
“How intimidating,” Jinx said, an exaggerated shiver in her voice. “A cat! How ever will I keep from spilling all my secrets?” Despite the blades pointed at her, the brazen earth witch bent just enough to scratch the wildcat between the ears. She murmured something that might have been, “Sweet kitty,” then straightened and asked, “Is this the part where I should beg for mercy?”
Skies, Aurora didn’t know how Jinx did it—stayed so calm. She was a mess of nerves, and she had not even been noticed.
Brax, the man who had captured Jinx, took a menacing step forward. “Are you stupid or something?”
Jinx smiled, her eyes crinkling at the corners. “Or something.”
Then the earth buckled beneath their feet, and a chorus of shouts rang out as the room began to shake. Roots and plants of every kind burst from the dirt floor and walls. Vines twined around people’s limbs. Jinx swung her arm, landing an elbow to the face of the man holding her. Jinx shoved the woman back into a grasping web of green and yelled, “Now, Roar!”
Aurora leaped up from her hiding place. A large man turned, looming in front of her. His skin was nearly the same shade as the shadows that swathed the room. A vine caught him around the ankle at the perfect moment, and Aurora shoved him off-balance. Jinx was halfway up the ladder, calling for her. Darting after her friend, Aurora cleared the first few rungs in a leap. The plants rose ahead of them, pushing the shelter door up and up, dousing them all in bright sunlight.
Then . . . something went wrong. The plants around Aurora began to turn brown and dull. They continued moving as Jinx’s magic commanded, but they grew dry and brittle, and they snapped under the strain.
Aurora too felt strange. Her vision flashed with shadows despite the sunlight overhead. Her mouth felt as if a dust storm had rolled over her tongue then settled into a desert in her throat. A gnawing pain began at her temples and the base of her neck. The world started to wobble, the ground tipping from side to side below her. A fist curled around the belt at her waist and jerked her backward. Her fingers broke from the ladder like the brittle vines beside her. Dust flew up as she landed flat on her back, and the pain shattered the remaining control she had over her mental shields.
Sensations swamped her, foreign and overpowering, but even lost in the deluge it was the ache in her throat that bothered her most. Dizziness kept spinning her mind around as she tried to focus. A dark form came into view, and her vision cleared just enough for her to see.
The woman. The one with the claw-tipped, red glove—singular, for her other hand was bare. She was striking, and not just because Aurora felt like the air had been knocked from her lungs and refused to return. She had thick dark hair that trailed past her waist and was decorated with braids and curls. Her eyebrows were dark and straight over piercing brown-black eyes. Her cheekbones were sharply defined, and her skin a gold-touched brown. The woman wore fine clothes made of rich, draping fabrics that flowed around her shape as if at her command. She radiated power.
The dark spots in Aurora’s vision began to stretch and merge, blocking out even the sun that streamed through the open hatch above. When she dangled at the edge of consciousness, the woman bent down toward Aurora’s face, a shrewd look in her narrowed eyes.
“I can make it stop,” the woman said, her voice soft—just shy of kind. “If you tell me who sent you.”
Aurora tried to answer her, but her tongue was thick and dry and useless in her mouth. The woman reached out and pulled away the cloth covering the lower part of Aurora’s face, then tugged at the hood covering her hair. Aurora’s heart gave one heavy, panicked thump, but she was too weak to fight back.
A voice in her head shouted, “Stop!” And she tried to make the word herself.
The word surprised her, for it came not from her mouth, but from somewhere outside her narrowed vision. She heard it repeated—a deep voice, a man’s voice.
Someone grabbed the woman, dark hands on her pristine garments, shoving her back and away from Aurora. The terrible crushing pressure on her chest eased, but she was hit by another wave of nausea so extreme she rolled to the side and retched. Nothing came out despite the desperate, painful heaving of her stomach.
“Help her. Please, Zephyr.”
Someone pulled on her shoulder, rolling her back and pushing away the sweaty hair that hung across her face.
“Why should I?” Aurora heard as her vision cleared enough to make out the stern, serious face of the man who had once been her guard.
Taven’s eyes were wild and panicked like she had never seen them.
“Because she’s the rightful heir to the kingdom of Pavan.”
RAGE is available NOW!
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My full review is posted here:
- Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
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About the Author
Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult Romance and YA fantasy. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora lives in Austin, TX, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss and her dog Sherlock. But she can always be found on Twitter and Instagram (@coracarmack), Facebook (www.facebook.com/coracarmackbooks), and her website (www.coracarmack.com).