Maddix Kell is not a murderer. Unfortunately for him, all of Aestos thinks otherwise. Jayin Ijaad is a witch on the run. Hunted for her unique abilities, she hides in plain sight from an unspeakable past.
Bound together by violence, fate, and a fair bit of magic, Jayin and Maddix must set aside their prejudices if they want to survive. Witchhunters, vengeance, and a darkness that spreads like a plague... Welcome to the Kingdom of Aestos.
The idea for Catching Stars came to me during a philosophy lecture, of all places. Maddix and Jayin sucked me into their story and wouldn’t let go until I’d built an entire world (and half of a language) for them to explore. This book is the product of nearly a year of research, writing, editing, re-writing, and trying not to get sucked into the Netflix rabbit-hole.
So how can you help?
Pre-orders! Every person who orders the book gets me closer to my goal. If I hit 250 orders, Inkshares will publish Catching Stars through their Quill imprint, and if I make it to 750 pre-orders, I will be paired with an editorial and marketing team, and the book will be distributed in stores nationwide. Your interest and support means the world to me, so order if you can, and if not, please spread the word.
Maddix wasn’t afraid of witches. There wasn’t anything to be afraid of. Everyone knew that magic was dying out. Even the Kingswitch, the most powerful sahir in their land – in any land – was said to be losing his abilities. The stories said that something in their Oldlands, whatever gave them their magic, was losing power and sucking the witches dry. Though he had no way of knowing what was true, Maddix relished the thought that the source of the sahir’s life and vitality was killing them.
Another widespread rumor was that they were being called back into the Dark. It was common knowledge that the witches came from across the sea, but some people said that they had sold their souls in return for power. The magic had spread from generation to generation until it was a veritable plague throughout the Three Kingdoms. But now, their contract was up and all of them were being pulled into the Dark where they belonged.
How it happened didn’t much matter to him. Maddix was of age and a proud member of the King’s Guard, though he hadn’t been one for long. He had only been given his pin a month ago, but it had been the proudest moment of his life. Finally, he was free to roam Pavaal as he pleased and given the respect he rightfully deserved. With any luck he would rise quickly through the ranks, maybe even make it to Ayrie Palace. He had his whole life ahead of him and Maddix didn’t need anything as troublesome as witches mucking it up. Besides, their numbers were dwindling even within the protection of the city walls. Maddix didn’t understand why the King hadn’t exiled the whole stinking lot of them. What did witches do, except cause trouble and live better than the rest of them? For no reason but that they’d been born with magic, the witches lived in the Palace, while Maddix and the rest of the Aestosi had to fight to survive.
It didn’t matter now – witches and their privilege didn’t matter. He was a man grown, with a profession that afforded him dignity and honor. Darek, his roommate in the barracks, said that some of the Guards went their whole lives without seeing a single sahir.
Maddix was confident that he would be just as lucky. He had a star, a star that looked out just for him. Luck wasn’t easy to come by for a kid growing up in the Gull. Maddix didn’t have any family or real home, just a bed in the orphanage. He bunked with Pavaal’s strays until they were old enough to work or they ran away, whichever came first. Sometimes he used to sneak out of the Gull and watch as the Kingswitch and the other sahir from Ayrie Palace paraded through the merchant sectors, hoping that maybe if he got close enough their magic would rub off on him. He’d been young and stupid then, and hadn’t yet known that the witches were a blight on their world.
The only thing he had left of his parents hung around his neck, an amulet that had been found with him. Maddix might have ended up in the gangs or dead in a ditch like most of the other boys he’d known, but...
In this excerpt of Catching Stars, Keenan weaves the story of Maddix, a greenie in the King's Guard with a mysterious past. The only clue he has to his heritage is an amulet that protects him, but even the amulet isn't enough to ward off a powerful demon possessing him and causing him to kill. The hooks are set, and I look forward to learning how Maddix comes to meet the other protagonist, a young witch, a race of people Maddix despises, and how they must work together to save their world.
Strong writing, an intriguing world, and hard life-lessons for all! This fantasy novel seems to be weaving together all the elements I could ask for, and does so with a commanding voice that demanded my attention. It is worth your time to read the excerpts and see for yourself.