While the sky came undone at last, Piper saw lights in the distance.
“Come on! Run!” she cried.
Laughing as the storm began to rain down upon them, she reached for Nathan’s hand and helped pull him up from the pavement. By the time the two of them started running through the deluge, Raina had already safely made it to the covered front porch. “So much for stargazing!” she called to her friends as they sprinted towards her.
“Yeah, thought you said this was a meteor shower,” Nathan joked as he began to wring out his now soaking ponytail of inky black hair.
Piper shook her head at the pair of them, “It’s not my fault!”
After shaking her own head to free the poufy coils of her hickory brown hair from the raindrops that hugged them, her dark umber eyes glanced back down the long driveway in search of the two small points of light she’d seen moments before. A pair of orbs approached the house, getting bigger by the second, until Piper finally realized what was causing them.
“What’s she doing back so soon?”
Nathan and Raina followed Piper’s gaze and saw it too. Headlights of a vehicle were barreling up the road that cut through the trees toward the mountain house. The trio hadn’t been expecting Kath back for at least another week, but even through a late night storm, her beat-up, ruby red van was unmistakable. The headlights pierced the darkness, pointing right at them, growing ever closer.
Once she’d reached the dead end in front of the house and put the van in park, Kath jumped out of the driver’s side and ran towards them, tossing on the black hood of her leather jacket. “Inside! Now!” she yelled.
“Kath, we were just—”
There wasn’t a single time in her fifteen years of life where Piper could remember her godmother sounding as demanding as she did in that instant. It scared her. So without any additional words of protest, she and her friends headed in the door.
Once all four of them were in the house, Kath slammed the door tight behind her and affixed all three locks that were on it. When she turned around, she pulled back the hood, revealing a face pale with worry under an auburn pixie cut. Dark circles stood out beneath her eyes like bruises as she sought to ease labored breaths.
“What is it?” Nathan asked.
“Each of you, go to your rooms and grab a bag. Just throw in some clothes and meet me back down here in five minutes. No questions.”
Her voice was calm and firm, but that didn’t mask her fear which poisoned the air.
Nathan and Raina nodded and started off towards their rooms, but Piper didn’t feel she could move. “I’ve never seen you like this. What’s wrong?”
Pulling her in for a reassuring hug, Kath pleaded, “Piper, baby girl, I need you to trust me right now. Please just go get your stuff.”
Still sick with unease, Piper nodded and did as she was told.
Barging into her own room, Piper grabbed the rucksack which had only hours before been full of food from an impromptu picnic. All that remained were two baggies that housed squished peanut butter...
Piper Anderson thinks she’s alone in the world: she is forgotten and left to lose herself at Edgemont, a juvenile detention center seeking to jolt the humanity from its children, leaving them as emotionless - but obedient - shades of their former selves. All hope seems lost.
Until Kath, her godmother who mysteriously disappeared years before, returns to free her. Piper then learns the unimaginable - she is a child of two worlds. With an Earthly father and an Alterian mother, she is capable of wielding the Light of her soul, an ancient gift that is sacred to the Raelarian people. It’s not long after discovering her interstellar origins that Piper is faced with the impossible.
Valos, a shadow which threatens to destroy all he touches, is breaking down the portals between worlds. If left unchecked his darkness will bleed out from Alteria, poisoning the cosmos, leaving Piper and her friends as the last hope to save it.
I could talk about the setting, or the characterization, or the premise. They are all well done, but that's not what stuck out to me. What stuck out to me was the almost musical quality to the writing. Elayna Mae Darcy has a rhythm to her words that pulled me in, and wouldn't let go until the chapter was done.
The first chapter is a conglomerate of good writing, world building and character development that I have never seen done so successfully in such a small amount of words. I care for Piper, her world, her friends... even for Caretaker Justice! Speaking of Piper, she is like a teenage version of Lyra, from the His Dark Materials trilogy, isn't she? Lovely read, I am ready for the rest of the book.
I've had the privilege to read this story, and I can assure that it's as gripping and wonderful as this opening chapter promises, complete with twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages. Elayna creates a realistic and convincing world that is well realised and one that you won't want to leave.
I'm so excited for everyone to get the chance to read this and learn more about Piper !