Lightbringer

( 4 )

Overview

A YA urban fantasy/romance set in a world a breath away from our own. Similar in tone to Tithe and Unleashed, this story tiptoes down the line between love and horror as Wendy discovers herself and the darkest parts of the afterlife.

Wendy has the ability to see souls that have not moved on, but she does not seek them out. They seek her. They yearn for her . . . or what she can do for them. Without Wendy's powers, the Lost, the souls that have died unnaturally young, are doomed ...

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Lightbringer (Lightbringer Series #1)

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Overview

A YA urban fantasy/romance set in a world a breath away from our own. Similar in tone to Tithe and Unleashed, this story tiptoes down the line between love and horror as Wendy discovers herself and the darkest parts of the afterlife.

Wendy has the ability to see souls that have not moved on, but she does not seek them out. They seek her. They yearn for her . . . or what she can do for them. Without Wendy's powers, the Lost, the souls that have died unnaturally young, are doomed to wander in the never forever, and Wendy knows she is the only one who can set them free by sending them into the light.

Each soul costs Wendy, delivering too many souls would be deadly, and yet she is driven to patrol, dropping everyone in her life but her best friend, Eddie-who wants to be more than friends-until she meets Piotr.

Piotr, the first Rider and guardian of the Lost, whose memory of his decades in the never, a world that the living never see, has faded away. With his old-fashioned charms, and haunted kindness, he understands Wendy in ways no one living ever could, yet Wendy is hiding that she can do more than exist in the never. Wendy is falling for a boy who she may have to send into the light.

But there are darker forces looking for the Lost. Trying to regain the youth and power that the Lost possess, the dark ones feed on the Lost and only Wendy and Piotr can save them—but at what cost?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for K.D. McEntire:

"McEntire's writing shimmers. The world she's created is intricate and full of life.
Reaper will leave you breathless."
- Kristopher Reisz, author of Unleashed

"Reaper is a fascinating and touching story built in a rich, layered world where the stakes are bigger than life or death. . . . K.D. McEntire's writing is smart, sharp, and utterly engaging. Reaper will take you on a thrilling trip . . . where death is only the beginning."
- Leah Petersen, author of Fighting Gravity

"A mesmerizing and haunting tale rich with engaging characters, tense adventures,
and a guiding theme of love and trust. . . . I highly recommend it."
- I Swim for Oceans

"A new take on ghosts, death, souls, and reaping, involving a brand new world I know readers will be dying to get inside. I would absolutely recommend this book."
- Sizzling Reads

Kirkus Reviews
Wendy struggles to hold her personal life together while performing the Lightbringer duties of reaping souls of the dead. In McEntire's debut, ghosts wander the land in between living and a true afterlife, a land called the Never. Wendy, as a Lightbringer, can see and interact with the Never. Piotr is one of the ghosts of the Never, an eternal teenager who, as a Rider, protects the ghosts of children: When children die with too much life ahead of them, their ghosts become batteries for cannibalistic adult ghosts called Walkers. Wendy discovers that the Never is far more dangerous than she imagined when her mother's soul goes missing after an accident. Meanwhile, Piotr finds protecting his group of children, the Lost, increasingly difficult, as Walkers have begun organizing under the power of a mysterious creature, the White Lady. When Wendy and Piotr team up to help each other with the strange happenings of the Never, the White Lady begins haunting Wendy's dreams. The prose is bloated and initially disorienting, with dialogue aiming to reflect the time periods of the ghosts coming off instead as stilted. The narrative is strongest when it recalls Wendy's familial obligations--holding her siblings and household together in the place of her comatose mother--and allows them to conflict with her job and growing affection for Piotr. Superficial references to Peter Pan fail to resonate meaningfully, leaving them effectively nothing more than a naming device. Creative ideas outpace the writing quality. (Paranormal romance. 12-17)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616145392
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Series: Lightbringer Series , #1
  • Pages: 300
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

K. D. McEntire is a mom and animal lover currently living just outside of Kansas City with her husband, sons, and two cats. KD spends her minuscule free time reading, writing, and battling her Sims 3 addiction. She loves Wil Wheaton, Stephen King, Joss Whedon, gaming, comic books, and all things geeky.

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Read an Excerpt

LIGHTBRINGER


By K. D. McENTIRE

Prometheus Books

Copyright © 2011 K. D. McEntire
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61614-539-2


Chapter One

Piotr hefted the newest box of loot and hauled it to the back of the mill floor, wrestling it into their makeshift pantry with effort. It had been good scrounging this week, their cubby was filled to overflowing, and Piotr was grateful to finally be done. On top of the closest box was a portfolio, battered but blank inside, and underneath a grocery bag bulging with Prismacolor colored pencils. Piotr collected the pencils and the portfolio, leaving the pantry. There was no light to turn off behind him.

It was late and the mill was silent. Poking his nose into various nooks and crannies, Piotr checked on the kids he was watching over. Snoring quietly, Specs lolled in his recliner, glasses askew, with a tattered copy of The Hobbit hanging from the tips of his fingers. As he'd done every night for over fifty years, Piotr saved his place and covered Specs with an army blanket, tucking aside the thick, black glasses on the windowsill.

The tangle of GI Joe blankets Tubs normally nested in was empty. Piotr found him asleep in Dora's corner; Tubs was curled under her blanket and an old duster Piotr had discarded months before. The soles of his footie pajamas were filthy and his chubby thumb was thrust in his mouth, lips smacking around it. Dora, still awake, glanced up as Piotr poked his head behind the beaded curtain that sectioned off her part of their den.

"Nightmare," she said, jerking her thumb towards Tubs. "How'd scavengin' go?"

"Decent overall." Piotr eased into Dora's room, careful to not jar Tubs as he joined Dora at the warped closet door balanced on cinderblocks, which she was using as an improvised desk. Making a mental note to see if he could scavenge a better tabletop for her, Piotr set the portfolio and pencils on top of Dora's dwindling stack. "How's your landscape?"

"The bark ain't right." Dora held up a sketch of the overgrown courtyard outside the mill, skeletal branches of the lone tree yearning towards the sky. "It's junk! It's all just junk." Scowling, Dora tossed down her pencil and wiped a hand across her forehead, leaving dim charcoal smudges behind. "This pencil stinks."

It didn't. The Prismacolors were the best Piotr could scavenge, but Pandora's death had left her eternally at the age where every artist's block was a major disaster, and Piotr'd long since learned to ignore her hysterics. He mussed her hair. "Keep trying. It'll come."

"Yeah, yeah. You stayin' in?" Dora smoothed the ruffled strands of her white-blonde hair back behind her headband.

"At least for a while. I might walk the perimeter later."

"'Kay. Thanks for the supplies. I know they ain't easy to rustle up."

He grinned. "Nezachto. It was no problem. Spi spokojno."

She waved a hand. "Yeah, yeah. You too. G'Night."

Resisting the urge to ruffle her hair again, Piotr left Dora to her sketchpad and, rather than walking the long way around, gathered his will and drifted through the half dozen walls that separated her cubbyhole from his own. Some days, he thought, there were definite benefits to being dead.

Outside the night smelled of metal and salt, the scent drifting in through the rotting boards nailed over remnants of shattered windows. His corner was on the far side of the floor, away from the kids, giving them privacy. Piotr would have liked to be closer for safety's sake but he knew they needed their space.

Once the entire San Francisco area had been filled with little groups like theirs—ghost children, nicknamed the Lost, eternally protected by teens like Piotr—but now there were darker things preying the streets, and Piotr's makeshift family had become a rarity. It had gotten to the point that Piotr was considering leaving the dilapidated steel mill they'd taken as a home and relocating either north to the city or south into Silicon Valley. San Francisco was teeming with the living, however, as was the valley, and abandoning the relative safety of the mill was a very big decision; one Piotr was unwilling to make just yet.

Too tired to want to think further on the subject, Piotr stripped to his boxers and a tee shirt, crawling gratefully into his pallet. His window, one of the few in the deserted mill with glass still intact, gave Piotr a breathtaking view of the surrounding city and a hint of the bay stretching out beyond. Clouds drifted across the moon as Piotr sank into sleep.

Minutes or hours later, a shrill, high scream yanked him from uneasy dreams. At first Piotr thought he was in the living world again, where the sky was blue and bright and the sounds insistent, but the room was dark, and through his window clouds now rolled swiftly across the sky, obliterating the pale moonlight in shades of dark shale.

Stumbling to the window, Piotr scrubbed his eyes and squinted down at the street. Below, amid the trees, a luminescent figure, lean and white, loomed over a smaller shape, clearly one of the Lost. The kid screamed again and Piotr, snapped from his haze, shoved back from the window and pounded down the emergency stairs, leaping over rotted risers in bounds.

He was too slow. By the time he reached the ground floor both the Walker and the kid were gone; only the ice-frosted ground where the Walker had lain in wait remained. Panting heavily, Piotr glanced left and right, hoping to catch some flash of white, a telltale glimpse of the Walker's cloak to guide him in a rescue attempt.

Nothing.

Cursing, Piotr turned to go back inside ... and found himself face to face with a second Walker. The Walker, hunched over and slavering, leaned in close so that Piotr could smell the rot of its face, the black decay eating away at the skin of its cheeks. "Rider," it hissed. "Meat."

Stumbling, Piotr fell back, his teeth clicking painfully together as he thumped to the ground. Foolishly he'd run downstairs without a weapon, hoping to snag the child and race to safety before the Walker knew what'd hit him. Walkers were lone wolves—Piotr never expected a second one to be waiting nearby.

Fingertips sharpened to brutal spikes arced across Piotr's upper arm, slashing his shirt into ribbons in four parallel lines of stinging pain. Hissing under his breath, Piotr grabbed his upper arm, and felt a gush of essence pour over his hand as he tried to stop the bleeding. The cuts were deep.

"Bastard," he groaned and kicked at the Walker's robed legs, hoping to at least push the monster back a few paces and give himself some space to scramble to his feet. Luck was with him. The Walker's knees buckled at his kick, slamming the monster face first to the ground. Lifting his leg as high as it would go, Piotr kicked again, aiming for the head, trying to ignore the wet rip of his heel breaking the thin layer of skin covering the Walker's skull. "Stay down!"

"Piotr!" Dora shouted from her window. "Here!" Balancing her hips on the windowsill, Dora leaned forward and flung her arm out in a wide arc. There was a whistling noise and a brief flash of moonlight on silver as a butter knife from the pantry clattered to the sidewalk mere feet from Piotr's outstretched and grasping hand.

"Fight to the death," Piotr grumbled, darting forward and snagging the blade with the tips of his fingers, "and she tosses me a dull knife. Great." Still, he knew what he was doing and even a dull knife was better than no knife at all.

The Walker, either sensing danger, or simply tired of the fight, flung a handful of pebbles and dirt into Piotr's face, blinding him. Cursing, Piotr swiped his free hand across his eyes, scrabbling to see, but the Walker had used his momentary blindness as a chance to flee. The courtyard was empty once again.

Groaning, Piotr struggled to his feet. He sniffed the air but his scuffle with the Walker had left a dense smell of rot clinging to his clothing. There was no way he could track the beast by smell alone.

Trudging back inside, Piotr hid a bitter smile. It looked like the decision whether to stay or go had been stripped away. Thanks to his clumsy fighting, the Walker had gotten away and now it knew where some Lost could be found. It would be back. They had to leave.

Inside, Piotr was met with anxious, pale faces. Tubs, clinging to Piotr's duster, huddled behind Dora, and Specs peered past splintery boards to the courtyard below. Piotr wanted to soothe them, to swear they were safe, but he didn't want to lie. Instead he remained silent.

The silence grew too long. Abruptly Specs turned from the window, pushing his round frames up on his nose. His hair, dark with grease, fell over one eye. "That was the third time this week, Piotr. We should pack."

"Da," Piotr sighed. "We should." He knelt down and Tubs flung himself into his arms, sobbing into his shoulder. Piotr stroked the back of Tubs' hair and let him cry.

"It spotted me," Dora said. "I saw it watchin' me."

"Most likely." Piotr stood, Tubs resting on his hip, and hugged the little boy close. Life seeped into Piotr from Tubs' skin in blue arcs, dulling his pain. The wounds on his arm began to slowly seal shut, itching like fire. "I am unsure but, yes, most likely."

"Perhaps we might bunk down with Miss Elle or Miss Lily," Specs offered, hesitant to bridge the topic of Elle to Piotr. "Or perhaps Mister James."

The thought of begging his fellow Riders for a place to stay made Piotr laugh roughly. "James? I'd rather leave you on your own." He set Tubs down and smoothed the wispy blond hair back from his forehead. "You okay now? Yes? Go wash your face."

When Tubs had toddled off, Piotr reached out and enfolded both Dora and Specs into a hug. Specs clung tighter than Dora, trembling lightly, the remaining unspent years of life flowing into Piotr in small, sharp spikes. The itching on his arm faded, replaced with smooth, blessed coolness.

Piotr squeezed them both and then stepped back, alert and wary, listening for intruders. "Spaseebo." He gestured to his upper arm. "Thank you. For the aid."

Uncomfortable, Specs shrugged. "It is the least we can do, Piotr. You're welcome."

"They, the Walkers, are getting closer." Piotr crossed his arms over his chest.

"And smarter." Dora chewed her thumbnail. "Remember, Specs? When we saw one of 'em grab that kid right outta a tree last week? They ain't ever done that before."

"Do you think it's because of the White Lady?" Specs asked, pushing his glasses higher on his nose.

"White Lady or no, so long as you three are safe, I don't care the reasons why." Piotr ran his hands through his hair. He was still shaking, his mouth sour with adrenaline. The mill had been in a safe zone for years, but with the coming of the White Lady almost no place was safe anymore. The Walkers were everywhere.

"Honestly, I don't know what to do. Walker territory is spreading and the mill is stuck between them." Piotr leaned against a nearby wall, tilted his head back, and closed his eyes. They felt gritty with lack of sleep.

"We ain't strong enough to fight 'em." Dora drummed her fingers along the kitchen countertop. "Ain't stupid enough, neither."

"Since we are running, we should decide where to go," Specs said. "Which shall it be? Move closer to the bay or the valley?"

"I thought of that before, but there are too many of the living," Piotr said, rubbing his hands across his cheeks, feeling the light rasp of hair that would never grow past a certain point, brushed by calluses that would never fade. Piotr pushed away from the wall. "You should weigh in. What do you want to do?"

Hesitantly, after several seconds, Dora hunkered down into a squat and, wrapping her arms around her knees, murmured, "I don't mean to start no fuss, Piotr, but I wanna stay with Elle for awhile." Before Piotr could protest, she hurried to say, "I know we're safe with you, but there's been a lotta Walkers 'round lately and you can't be with us 24/7. We gotta be somewhere more, I dunno, more castle-like, you know? With a moat or somethin'. Def ... dev ... dependable."

"Defensible?" Much as he hated to admit it, Dora had a point. "Specs?"

"Staying with Miss Elle does indeed appear to be the best course of action." Specs took off his glasses and cleaned them on his shirt. Like Dora, Specs was too thin and gangly, caught in an early growth spurt by a death that had come too soon. Eternally eleven. "No offense."

Sighing, Piotr rubbed his hand along the wall, feeling the spots spongy with decay crumble away under his fingertips. Elle was not going to like this. "Net, there is none taken. Fine. Go pack up then and we'll go in the morning. Pandora, please pack for Tubs?"

"Gotcha." Dora and Specs drifted towards their quarters, leaving Piotr alone by the window. Lost in thought, he stared down at the empty courtyard and watched the swirling fog drift in from the bay. With a Walker down there somewhere, he knew there'd be no more sleep for him tonight. None at all.

Dawn came, lightening the sky to a pale grey, and Piotr carried Tubs piggyback as they made their way through the shriveled remains of the world. Picking a path through crumbling brick streets, they followed the whisper of surf breaking against the piers in the bay, leaving the mill behind. At first the going was slow; Piotr's turf was around fifteen miles from where Elle and her own Lost squatted dangerously near the tourist zone, amid the life and heat of Pier 39 and North Beach, wading through the press of humanity that eddied like the tides.

A steady pace brought them just inside Elle's territory by midmorning. The idea of leaving the kids so close to the haunts of the living bothered Piotr deeply, but Elle was particular about her space, and likely wouldn't stand for another Rider on her turf for long—especially if that Rider were Piotr.

As if sensing his thoughts, an arrow speared the road inches from his toes, shooting shards of brick shrapnel in every direction. Piotr raised his hands high as the arrow quivered in the street, testament to Elle's skill. Raising his voice, Piotr glanced left and right, trying to determine from which direction the missile had flown. "Dobraye utro, Elle!" he called, striving to keep his tone light, cheerful. "Good morning!"

"How many times have I told you to stop with that foreign jibber-jabber?" echoed a reply, sounding both close and far all at once. Elle had picked her hiding spot well. "A simple 'Hi, Elle' will do me just fine."

Piotr bowed at the waist, struggling to keep his senses attuned to their surroundings, attempting to assess which direction the arrow had come from. "My apologies! Good morning, Elle. I see that you've gotten better at hiding."

"You haven't." There was a light tread behind him and Elle's hand firmly cupped the back of his neck, the strength in her fingers daring him to try something. Knowing the power of those hands and the muscles behind them, Piotr held still.

"Elle!" cried Dora, dropping her bags and flinging her arms around the slight girl holding him hostage. "I missed you!"

The hand squeezed sharply once, pinching, before dropping away. Elle turned to embrace the child. Freed, Piotr swiveled and dropped his hands cautiously to his pockets, hooking his thumbs just inside.

Dora had always adored Elle and the feeling was mutual. Watching them hug was like watching a rainbow appear from the mist—all the darkness fell away and they were momentarily awash in happiness and light. Where the two of them touched, crackles of blue essence hummed, the years traveling from Dora into Elle and back to Dora in a circuit of joy. Dora was so pleased Piotr could taste her energy on the air itself.

Keeping her tone easy, Elle glanced up from rubbing her cheek along the top of Dora's head, and said, "I never'a thought a palooka like you'd show your mug around here. Didn't I give you the bum's rush last time?"

"Yes, well, times change." Piotr scratched his chin and glanced up at the brilliant silver sky. The sun shone with fiery white light, basking them in its dim warmth and faded glory, but in the distance thick black clouds churned above the sea. "The weather's looking foul. May we move this elsewhere?"

Elle rose from her crouch, muscles rippling. Her short, fringed tunic and thigh-high skirt left nothing to the imagination and Piotr politely turned his face away. Noticing his discomfort, Elle smirked. "Fine, ya wet blanket. What's eating you?"

"A Walker was poking around the mill last night."

Elle stilled and her blonde waves, silvery pale and close-cropped, trembled. "It sussed you out."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from LIGHTBRINGER by K. D. McENTIRE Copyright © 2011 by K. D. McEntire. Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2013

    Lightbringer is the first book in the Lightbringer series By K.D

    Lightbringer is the first book in the Lightbringer series By K.D McEntire.
    Lightbringer started out very slow for me, I struggled to initially wan to pick it up again once I'd set it down, but I persevered and it did get better, onfortunately not as good as my high expectations were, I'd had this book on my wihlist for a very long time and I guess I built it up in my head.
    I guess what really annoyed me most about this book were the characters, our main heroine Wendy and her younger twin siblings Jon (he was the most normal of all three) and Michelle (chel for short) were totally messed up and that's because of their parents or lack thereof, with their Mother in some kind of coma and their Dad away working more than being at home, and Wendy stuck having to deal with the task of not only going to school and reaping but having to take care of all the household chores and pretty much having to raise her younger siblings as well, even when her Mother was well she was stuck with all of this, while her Mother who is also a Lightbringer would spend her time doing just that while taking away her eldest child's childhood to do the job that she was meant to be doing.Their was no redeeming features in her Mother whatsoever, their Dad isn't that great a parent either.
    I did however like Piotr, a Rider tasked with looking after the Lost (spirits of children) and keeping them safe from the Walkers (souls that have gone bad whom feed on the Lost) and when some of his and his fellow Riders charges go missing he sets out to find and rescue them, eventually crossing paths with Wendy who hides her true identity from Piotr who blames the Lightbringer for his troubles.
    These two have an attraction towards each other as impossible as it seems with Wendy being alive and Piotr well..not, Wendy's best-friend Eddie has been in love with Wendy for some time now but his feelings aren't reciprocated as much as he'd like them to be but he's still there for her whenever she needs him regardless of how often she turns him down.
    And then there's the evil White Lady, who I had guessed her true identity about halfway through the book but I still thought was a pretty good twist regardless.
    I'll still continue on with the rest of the trilogy, I'm intrigued now to see how this series will end, I'll get to it sooner or later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Good, not great

    Overall I really enjoyed the story however felt like it took a really long time to understand what was going on. It's half the book before you really grasp what the main character is doing, what happened to her Mom or what type of "ghost" the other characters are. Would have been nice to have a better explanation right from the begining so you could just enjoy the story and characters rather than be stuck in a state of confusion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Wonderful

    So far i luv this book

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    A Very Interesting Book....

    The story of Lightbringer was incredibly creative. Wendy is a lightbringer; she sends lingering spirits to rest. When her mother's spirit goes missing, Wendy makes it her mission to find it and return her to safety. At the same time, Piotr is having problems of his own. Piotr is a rider; a teenage ghost that oversees the safety of several ghost children. One by one, the ghost children are being kidnapped and Piotr and his friend have no idea why. Wendy and Piotr meet and they decide to help each other out with their mysteries. I am over simplifying this, but you get the gist of it.

    Wendy is an interesting character, but she wasn't terribly memorable. I just did not feel that connection that you want to feel with characters. I felt the same about the overall book. Like I said, I found it undeniably creative, but I would not classify it as a page-turner. When I put the book down, my fingers didn't itch to pick it up again. I didn't have to force myself to read slower, so that I didn't miss anything. I was interested in the book, I just wasn't captivated by it.

    I also wasn't too fond of Eddie (Wendy's best friend). But for the life of me, I cannot exactly tell you why. To me, he was presented as Wendy's alternative to Piotr, more than her partner in crime. He is meant to be her best friend, who wants more out of the relationship. But I struggled to really figure him out. At times he flirts with Wendy, but then follows it up with a joke. So, like Wendy, I was confused about where he stood.

    I would love to see more of Wendy's family in next book. I am interested in seeing how Wendy's siblings play into the upcoming story arcs. I doubt Jon has any paranormal abilities (it seems to be a girl thing), but I wonder if Chel's powers will ever awaken. That would present an interesting story arc.

    I enjoyed Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire, I just didn't love it. It was a rather creative story, but I found it to be a bit slow at times. I was impressed with how unpredictable the story was. I left like there were twists and turns around every corner. That coupled with the creative storyline, McEntire was able to create a rather impressive book.The characters and storyline were interesting; I just wasn't pulled into the book. Still, it was entertaining and I will be keeping an eye out for the upcoming books.

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