|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.91(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Amid Wind & Stone
By Nicole Luiken, Tracy Montoya
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Nicole Luiken
All rights reserved.
The lights went out, plunging the cave into absolute darkness.
Dorotea froze on her hands and knees in the tunnel. Behind her, Marta wailed. Dorotea reached back and found her little sister's hand. "It's all right. The lights will come back in a moment." Despite her reassuring words, worry wormed its way into her stomach. It wasn't unusual for one or two of the light squares embedded in the walls to burn out and stay black for a few weeks before being replaced, but every light in the whole tunnel had winked out at the same instant as if it were False Night instead of an hour short of noon.
Instinct prodded at her. Something's wrong.
Marta squeezed her hand with six-year-old strength. "I'm scared! Make the lights come back."
As if being eleven years older conferred magic powers. "The Elect will fix it. All we have to do is wait."
"I'm so scared," Marta whined.
"Crawl up closer to me," Dorotea said. "The tunnel's wide enough here."
Marta squirmed up. Dorotea lay on her side and cuddled her sister's small body. The contact comforted Dorotea, too. Marta's presence meant Dorotea couldn't panic.
Her eyes remained open, uselessly straining to see in the utter darkness. She'd never experienced anything like it. During False Night, each cavern had a few lights that remained on so people could find their way to the privy. This darkness was blacker than the inside of a coal seam.
Maybe only the tunnel's lights had gone out. Maybe there was still light in the main caverns.
"I'm scared of the dark." Marta whimpered again. "What if the gargoyles get us?"
Dorotea's heart jumped into her throat at the thought of hands reaching up through solid stone, but she made her voice calm. "Don't be silly. All the gargoyles are safely locked up in the Cavern of Traitors."
"But what if they tunneled through the floor?"
"They can't," Dorotea said shortly. "They're frozen in place. Why are you scared of gargoyles? You've never even seen one. They were imprisoned before you were born." They didn't kill your father, like they did mine. Marta's father, Martin, was annoyingly alive.
Dorotea had been younger than Marta when the gargoyles rebelled. She barely remembered them except for fuzzy images of her father's gargoyle: a very tall, silent man made of gray stone with a craggy, rough-hewn face.
The gargoyles couldn't have caused the blackout. Could they? Surely not, but anxiety still twisted inside her, keying her nerves to a higher pitch. She shivered in the clammy embrace of the stone tunnels. The rough trousers and tunic she'd donned for weeding were better suited for crawling than her usual robes, but the material was also thinner.
Something's wrong. Something more than a Tech malfunction.
She made her voice cheerful for Marta's sake. "While we wait for the lights to come back on, why don't we keep going?" The lights had been off for at least five minutes now. They couldn't stay here forever. Her throat already felt sand-dry, and soon the chill of the rock walls would seep into their bones. Or Marta was sure to need the privy.
Why, oh why, had she decided to take the tunnel today instead of the stairs?
Oh, right. Laziness. After three hours of weeding, the idea of a shortcut had appealed to her greatly.
The small natural passage connecting Vegetable Cavern with Artisan Cavern was seldom used except by children. It was big enough for an adult to squeeze through but hard on the knees. Dorotea could still crawl through it in fifteen minutes instead of the near hour it took to climb the stairs from Vegetable up to Elect Cavern, go over the mill bridge at the top of the falls, down the ladder to Stone Heart Cavern, and then along the narrow, winding passage beside the river to Artisan Cavern.
She was scheduled to take her weekly turn powering the treadmill that stored energy for the looms this afternoon. The task was both back-breaking and mind-numbingly boring. Taking the shortcut would give her a longer break.
Silently, she admitted the real reason she'd taken the tunnel: she liked it. Even though the tunnel was usually well lit and was dead easy to navigate with no side tunnels, crawling through it always made her feel like an explorer, a Stone Heart Clan member. It made her feel closer to her father.
Taking the tunnel on a day when she had Marta with her was her real mistake.
Though at least in the tunnel she didn't have to worry about Marta making a misstep and falling in the swift-flowing underground river. She shuddered at the thought.
Although the passageway itself might twist and turn, when traveling through the tunnel, there was only forward and back. Right now there was only forward because Dorotea didn't think there was space enough for her to turn around without getting stuck. Marta could manage it, but not her.
"Will the lights be on at home?" Marta asked.
"I should think so," Dorotea lied. "Do you want to go first or should I?"
"Can't we go together?" Marta clung to her neck.
"There isn't enough room to go side by side. Why don't I go first, and you hold onto my foot?" Dorotea suggested. The exit into Artisan Cavern was a bit steep. Dorotea didn't want to risk Marta falling. Besides, if Marta went first, she'd go slowly. Dorotea wanted out of here with an urgency that grew every moment.
The closeness of the tunnel had never bothered her before. Indeed, she'd prided herself on her caving ability, part of her Stone Heart Clan heritage, but it was different in the dark. The cave walls seemed to press in on her.
Dorotea gently disentangled herself from Marta and started down the sloping passage. She shuffled on her knees, taking care not to accidentally kick Marta.
Her sister clutched her ankle. "What if a gargoyle grabs me?"
"There are no gargoyles here, I promise," Dorotea said. She needed to get Marta to think about something else. "Let's sing a song, shall we?" She launched into the first song she could think of: "Inchworm, inchworm, crawling through the underground."
Marta joined her on the chorus, and they kept crawling through the irregular tunnel. Dorotea bumped her head once and her shoulders repeatedly. Goddess, it was dark. She tried to remember how far down the tunnel she and Marta had gone before the lights went out. Over halfway, maybe as far as three quarters the distance needed.
Nothing to do but keep crawling and singing. She'd run out of verses, so she started making them up: "Inchworm, inchworm, bumping his something something."
Marta giggled. "That's not right!"
"Oh? How does it go then? Inchworm, inchworm, crawling behind his sister —"
A tremor shook the tunnel walls.
Marta shrieked. "Gargoyles! Help!"
Dorotea broke out in a sweat, and dread iced her blood. That had been something far, far more dangerous than gargoyles: an earthquake. They'd been occurring all too frequently of late as the Goddess's sleep grew restless. And one tremor was often followed by a bigger quake. Dorotea swallowed, her throat painfully dry. "Keep going!" she yelled.
But Marta had let go of her ankle, crying.
"Come on, Marta, grab my foot. Please, we're almost out," she lied, nearly frantic.
But Marta just kept wailing, too young to understand how precarious their situation was in this narrow tunnel. One rockfall could trap them. Or bring the roof down on their heads.
Dorotea ground her teeth, annoyance spiking her fear. It drove her crazy when Marta did this: decide she was tired, sit down, and cry to be picked up. Her father, Martin, always gave in and picked her up as if Marta were still three instead of six.
Dorotea couldn't carry her, even if she wanted to.
"Marta!" she barked. "Move now, or I'll leave you behind." To make the threat believable, Dorotea crawled forward two feet. "I mean it! I'm leaving!"
Dorotea listened hard, hoping to hear her sister following, but Marta just bawled louder. Great. Now the kid was hysterical.
Dorotea resisted the urge to bang her head against the wall. Grudgingly, she admitted that this time Marta wasn't being willful. She was genuinely terrified. Which meant her sister wasn't going to budge.
Dorotea had two choices: go on without her and return with help or drag her along.
No choice really.
"Stop crying," Dorotea said without much hope that Marta would listen. With cold fingers, she measured the width of the tunnel. Her fingers came away gritty. When the lights were on, the tunnel had seemed generously wide. In the dark, she was constantly bruising herself on the walls.
She moved a little farther down the tunnel, away from her crying sister, and explored again. Was it wider here? Maybe. Taking a deep breath, she laboriously began to turn around. Rock scraped against her spine, and for a horrid moment, she thought she was stuck in that folded-up position, but by pushing with her feet, she squirmed past the sticking point.
Only to ram her forehead into an unseen rock. Tears stung her eyes. Sandstorms, that hurt. Had she broken the skin? She found a lump, but no blood.
"Mom, Mom, Mom, Momma," Marta blubbered.
"I'm coming, Marta."
Dorotea was facing away from the direction they needed to go, but her head and hands were aligned with her sister. In this position, she could talk to Marta — and drag her along by force if she had to.
Creeping forward, she located her sister's head in the dark and brushed at her fine hair. "Marta, it's all right. I'm here." She hugged her little sister. "Shhh, I'm here." She rubbed a circle on Marta's back and tried not to dwell on the looming possibility of another quake.
Gradually, Marta's sobs quieted.
She kissed her sister's forehead. "Come on, let's crawl together." On her hands and knees, she backed down the tunnel, coaxing Marta into following. It was slow and awkward, and Dorotea's nerves screamed at the delay, but at least they were making progress.
Why hadn't the lights come back on? Dorotea couldn't remember them ever being off for this long before. Biting her lip, she urged Marta forward with a constant stream of praise. "That's right, you're doing well. We'll be out of here soon, and Mom will make us soup."
Marta hiccupped. "I h-hate soup."
"Sweet tea then," Dorotea promised, rashly, considering how dear sugar was. They had to move faster. She could swear she felt another earthquake gathering: a vibration in her back teeth. The hairs rose on the back of her neck.
They were out of time. They'd never make it out of the tunnel.
And then, like a miracle, her knee came down on metal instead of stone. They'd hit one of the reinforced sections of the tunnel, a hollow metal box there to shore up a previous rockfall. They could shelter inside it.
She crawled faster, scraping her knee in her haste, dragging Marta forward. "Hurry." Again, that looming sense of danger, of gathering anger.
Except the metal tunnel proved too short to shelter them both, only three feet long. Nor was it wide enough for them to lie side by side. Dorotea's heart kicked in panic as she crawled out the other side, but she kept her voice calm. "Do you feel the metal floor, Marta? Get your whole body onto the metal. Curl up if you have to. Are you inside?"
"Yes. It's cold." Marta wriggled around.
"Stay still," Dorotea said sharply. She put her head next to Marta's — the only part of herself she could protect — and held her sister's hand.
The sense of building wrath exploded.
The whole passageway started to shake. A low rumble like an angry gargoyle traveled through the earth in a wave. The top of her head clonked against the metal ceiling; her teeth bit down on her tongue. Pebbles and dirt cascaded over her back and shoulders as the shaking grew fiercer.
Marta was screaming, but Dorotea could barely hear her. This was more than the Goddess turning over in her sleep. The hard shaking expressed rage, an anger so vast it battered the world. All Dorotea could do was grit her teeth and hang on as fists of stone pummeled her body.
When the earthquake finally slowed and stopped, she didn't trust it for a moment, unmoving.
The fall of pebbles turned into a fine sifting of dust. Dorotea coughed, eyes stinging. There was nothing to see except darkness, but she couldn't bear to close them.
Rubble covered her legs. She shifted them gingerly. Nothing seemed broken or trapped. She started pushing rocks to one side of the tunnel. "Don't worry, Marta," she said cheerfully. "I'll have the way cleared in a jiffy."
Ominous silence answered her. She would have expected Marta to be wailing at the top of her lungs.
Dorotea's pulsed pounded in her ears. Sudden terror seized her chest, making it hard to breathe. "Marta? Answer me!" Her sister was supposed to be safe in the reinforced tunnel. Somehow she'd lost her sister's hand. She groped until she found it again. "Marta!"
Marta's fingers hung limp in her grasp.
Still coughing, Dorotea reached out and touched rocks. The tunnel roof had caved in just where the reinforced section met stone again.
No. Goddess, no. Please —
Frantically, Dorotea picked up rocks and pushed them behind her. She found the space created by the reinforced tunnel and Marta's head. Hair, forehead ... Her fingertips dabbed wetness. Blood. Either Marta's head had stuck out just a little too far, or a falling rock had bounced inside and hit her.
"Marta!" Speaking provoked another coughing fit. Crying, Dorotea patted her hands over her sister's frail chest, terrified of what she might find. Was she —?
Marta breathed. And the rest of her body was untouched, just unresponsive.
Dorotea screamed for help, but she knew in her heart the tunnel had too many twists and turns for anyone to hear her.
Breathing ragged, Dorotea pressed the hem of her tunic to Marta's bloody forehead. She applied pressure and made herself count aloud. At five hundred, the bleeding stopped, but Marta didn't wake.
She wanted to scream. Why were the lights still off? What if the earthquake had collapsed the entire cavern? What if she were the only person still alive?
Stop it! She couldn't think like that or she'd go mad.
She couldn't panic — Marta needed her.
What was the best thing to do? Go for help? It might be the fastest way, but Dorotea couldn't bear to leave her sister alone in the dark. She couldn't stand the thought of Marta waking by herself, in pain, in the dark, screaming in fear of gargoyles.
Or dying alone.
Dorotea cleared away the rubble as best she could and began to back down the tunnel, dragging her sister's body after her. She paused frequently to reassure herself that Marta was still breathing and to call for help.
Unable to stand the silence, she began to sing the stupid song again, "Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the passageway ..." But Marta never joined in.
After an endless time, Dorotea's toes detected a steeper downward slant. Finally. The pitched incline meant they were near the entrance to the Artisan Cavern. She drew in a deep breath and yelled, "Help!"
She strained her ears and was rewarded with the faint sound of voices. Encouraged, she bellowed again. "Help! I'm in the tunnel, and my sister's hurt!"
"Who's that?" a voice called, and a faint glow appeared.
It was just barely visible, but any light after so long in darkness was incredibly welcome.
She answered the voice's questions and tugged Marta down the incline. At the bottom, hands helped both her and Marta out of the tunnel.
Dorotea tried to stand, but her legs collapsed under her. Her clothes were caked in cave mud, and her whole body shook with cold. She watched dully as her neighbors carried her sister to a nearby pallet. Under her own layer of mud, Marta was cavefish pale, her light brown hair matted with blood, and so terribly, terribly small.
"You're Hilde's daughters, aren't you?" someone asked.
She nodded. She and Marta shared the same pointy chin, inherited from their mother. Otherwise, they didn't look much alike. Dorotea had her father's dark eyebrows and dark brown hair as well as his sturdier build.
And then there were more people, and her mother was there, and Dorotea could finally let go and cry.
Two hours later, the cavern lights blazed back to life. Two hours after that, a healer and her Unskilled servant finally arrived.
Excerpted from Amid Wind & Stone by Nicole Luiken, Tracy Montoya. Copyright © 2016 Nicole Luiken. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed learning more about the Air and Stone worlds. Each has their own particular weaknesses and strengths. And each Otherself is the same in so many ways, but also shaped by their unique environment into a unique person. The battle to save the Mirror Worlds is heating up, with Qeturah trying to sabotage the worlds for her own gain. Air and Stone world really stood out to me. The fun steam-punk feeling of air with their dirigibles and technology, with the very almost sci-fi/fantasy feel of Stone with gargoyles and a more dystopian culture. As each Otherself meets their mate - in unexpected forms - I began to see the pattern. A pattern that was familiar without being repetitive. I would have liked to see a little more from Fire and Water, but they just didn't have as large a part in this one. I'm curious to see how the game Qeturah is playing ends up. The powers of the Mirror Worlds are beginning to align against her. *I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book*
Received a reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Amid Wind & Stone by Nicole Luiken. This is book two of the Otherselves series, which brings two more worlds into the story along with all of the characters, relationships and politics of each world- air and stone, on top of the same information from the fire and water worlds. The author's creative imagination is astounding because of the complexity of each world and how she brings everything together and makes it all work to become a full-on adventure, fantasy story. I give this book 4 stars for the devious antagonist, the complete world building and the interesting characters!
This is the second book in the Otherselves series and I received this novel in exchange for an honest review. In the first book, Leah lost her soul mate Gideon and fought together with her otherself Holly to protect Gideon’s otherself from the same fate. They managed to save Ryan on water world and now the time has come to the two other mirror worlds, air and stone. Here we are introduced to Dorotea from Stone and Audrey from Air. War is coming to Audrey’s city and an angry Goddess in threatening to destroy Dorotea’s home. As if this wasn’t enough, now they have to learn about the mirror worlds and help save a soul mate they haven’t even met yet. As I started this book my first thought was that the transfer from Leah and her world to the new worlds wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. It felt a bit rushed and somehow these new worlds and new characters were pushed upon me and I wasn’t sure what was happening. I wanted to continue the story from the first novel, but I got stuck with something completely new with nothing leading back to the previous novel. It took quite a long time for the stories to sort of intertwine. I can somehow understand the difficulty in getting a smooth transition and obviously the reader has to connect with the new worlds and characters too, but in my opinion there was something lacking. Dorotea’s world has some interesting plot points and I was more drawn to her story even if it was quite obvious to me as a reader who the gargoyle she forced to work for her was. I liked the gargoyle and the story behind how they came to be trapped. But Audrey’s world didn’t get to me at all and half way through the book I gave up and mostly speed read her parts (meaning I skipped a lot). After Leah appeared in these novels and at times even Holly, the story took off and became more interesting and I felt how my eagerness to keep reading returned. It was a bit slow in the beginning since it took such a long time for this book to catch up to where we left off in the first one. Overall, the book was decent and I’m glad I read it. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations after reading the first one in the series though. It felt rushed and perhaps this series would have benefitted from having made this second installment into two separate books, one for air and one for stone. The writing was good and the worlds were interesting in a way too. I loved reading about the stone world and I could easily picture it and I liked learning about their history and the gargoyles etc. Air world however felt too complex to be explained in the limited space reserved for it and therefore it was mostly confusing and hard to picture. I got the feeling it was supposed to be sort of steampunk and it had its moments, but as I said it needed more time to bloom. I still recommend reading this book for those who enjoyed the first book in the series.
*I received this eBook as a review copy from a publisher at Entangled Teen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* The sequel to Through Fire and Sea, Amis Wind and Stone introduced two new worlds that kept me wanting to read more. I was reading into the night and loving every minute of this book. Throughout this book, I felt the transitions between all of the mirror worlds was much more clear than in the first book. In the sequel, we are introduced to two more of Leah's other selves, Audrey and Dorothea, who are her air and wind other selves. I really enjoyed learning more about each their different worlds. Audrey and Dorothea's perspectives kept me on my toes and reading into the night, I couldn't get enough of each of their stories. One thing I really liked was how the Air world was almost like a steampunk world with the wind ships and the 1800s kind of clothing style. Nicole Luiken paints a distinct world that is truly her own, which is what makes the Otherselves series so amazing. Amid Wind and Stone was an amazing book and I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys young adult fantasy novels. The Otherselves series is unique and I can honestly say I have not read a book like this before. I am really enjoying reading this series and can't wait to read the third book!
This is the second novel in the enthralling “Otherselves” series. The series concerns five versions of worlds, one is the True World and the other four are Fire, Water, Air and Stone. On each world there are some special people who are mirrored on the alternative worlds. The first novel concerned the Fire and Water Worlds and was entitled ‘Through Fire and Sea’. I read and thoroughly enjoyed that so was very happy to discover this, its sequel. This time the focus is on Air and Rock, though mirror characters - and the villain of the story - from Fire and Water worlds are also featured. This is another well written, engaging, fantasy with great characters. It is told from the point of view of a strong female character who is mirrored on the different worlds. Leah (from Fire) and Holly (from Water) were the leads in the first novel and do play significant roles in this one, too, but the main leads in this are Dorotea (from Stone) and Audrey (from Air). They are parallel stories as they endeavour to prevent Qeturah from succeeding as she strives to destroy each of them, their soul mates, Red Jasper and The Phantom, and their world. The stories on the different worlds are brought vividly to life in the reader’s imagination. The characters aren’t perfect, they grow and mature with their experiences throughout the story, making it easier to relate to and empathise with them. The adventures are fast paced and action packed. I’m impressed how the author has managed to have different scenarios on each world and then to skilfully interweave them to show readers an evolving evocative tapestry of events leading to a single outcome. Whilst the characters are mirrors of each other, they still have their own distinct personalities influencing their actions and reactions. This is a great fantasy series. Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger, keeping the whole novel a real page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have no hesitation in highly recommending it for anyone who enjoys strong, feisty young ladies determined to protect those close to them, usually with the help of their soul mate - though they don’t always realise the connection to start with! This may well be targetted at Teens but I left my teens decades ago and still found this a fantastic read, so I recommend it to adults as well as teens. Many thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for gifting me an ARC of this novel with no obligation. This is my honest review.
"Amid Wind & Stone" is a marvelous continuation of the Otherselves series. In this one, we flip between the air and stone mirror worlds. Leah still interjects at parts (I wouldn't have minded dropping her from the story), but she does help her otherselves to learn about the truth and Qeturah to protect their worlds. Holly also has a minor role in this story and we hear the barest amount about the true world self, Belinda. Audrey is in the air mirror world, which exists in a time that women are undervalued. She has the gift of being able to talk to the winds (called long-winded) but her gifts are not used for the air force as they would be if she were male. Instead, her days are expected to revolve around looking pretty and socialization- but this just isn't her style. I got an Amelia Earhart vibe from her. Gideon's otherself is known as "The Phantom" and he is able to disappear and move like the wind. The stone world was really fascinating- humans have to live underground and do so in the system of caves which are the Goddess's children. Jasper is the son of one of these caves and Qeturah's otherself. Dorotea, Leah's otherself, has grown up afraid of gargoyles after their rebellion (they were enslaved by the humans) killed her father. The gargoyles were put in stasis after the rebellion. After Dorotea's sister goes into a coma, and convinced the goddess could cure her if only she is woken, Dorotea puts the slave collar on a gargoyle and wakes him to have him wake the goddess and cure her little sister. Things do not go as planned- the goddess is not a deity as she has been taught and is mad about the weakening of her children (the caves). I found both Dorotea and Audrey's stories to be absolutely fascinating and felt that each could be its own book- they were so different than the medieval fire world or the modern water world (which was just like ours). Dorotea and Audrey were both fantastic characters and I loved reading their stories as they try to save their worlds and fall in love. I really enjoyed this one and think the author has really hit her stride for the series in this book. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.