Ever the Brave

Ever the Brave

by Erin Summerill

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

The sequel to Ever the Hunted, whichSarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series called "absolutely marvelous."
 
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost. 








The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328497956
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 12/04/2018
Series: A Clash of Kingdoms Novel Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 114,148
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

With a B.A. in English, Erin Summerill aspired to be a writer, but first she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. When she isn’t writing, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. Erin and her family live in Utah. www.erinsummerill.com

 

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER  1

COHEN

A minute spent in a shaerdanian tavern is a minute too long. I motion for Finn to fall behind as the creaky door slams closed, leaving us in the loud, crowded, lantern-lit room. We garner a few glances, but most turn back to their cups. Only a one-eyed cat perched atop an ale barrel keeps my younger brother and me in its sights. I don’t mind the surly types who hang around these places, the wenches with their skirts tied up and colorful shifts showing, and the bawdy songman accompanied by a guitar-plucking fellow. All are rightly pissed—eyes blurry, smiles toothy, and voices gratingly bright. It’s the smell that gets me every time. The rain in Shaerdan makes scents stronger. Makes taverns a pungent mix of moldy floor planks, vinegar, and fermented despair.
     I hold my breath and slide a folded piece of parchment into the pocket on my belt. Finn watches me. He’s seen me pull it out more than a few times in the last month. Probably noticed the action has increased the farther we’ve traveled from Malam.
     He knows not to mention it.
     Finn and I walk through the tavern and sit at the bar. After the long night and half day of riding, it’s good to rest. If I dropped my forehead into my hands, I’d be asleep in a blink. Tempting if we weren’t so close to the end of the hunt. And if we weren’t still on Shaerdan soil, where being identified as a Malamian will get you gutted. A vision of a pale blond, freckled girl with a smile that has to be earned spurs me on, pierces me with longing.
     A card game plays out on the nearest table, Shaerdanian silvers piled high enough to entice hungry onlookers. Pushing away the fatigue, I sit taller. Force my hands to relax, one resting over my left trouser pocket full of coins. My other hand is splayed on the bar. I fight to look the part in this tavern. Mistakes cannot happen today, not when we’re so close to finding Lord Jamis’s mistress.
     The barkeep is a big man, no taller than me, but thicker through the gut like he’s packing a barrel of ale. Busy talking to patrons, he gives no heed to Finn or me. Typical tavern kinsmen. They love their gossip as much as a Malamian market-goer.
     I scowl in the man’s direction and rap my knuckles on the tacky surface of the bar.
     “Coming, coming,” the barkeep grumbles. He moves in front of me, arms resting on the bar between us. His eyes, yellowed whites surrounding black irises, take in my little brother and me. “What’ll ya have?”
     This town, Rasimere Crossing, in the remote southern plains of Shaerdan, isn’t one I’ve been to before. Since both countries backed down from the war, tension is mountain high. Harder to navigate too. Hardly a contact in Shaerdan will speak to me without drawing a sword. Yesterday, a barkeep up north confirmed that Lord Jamis’s mistress, Phelia, was only a half day ahead of us and headed here. Within days after Jamis’s arrest, the high lord had squawked about the Spiriter’s identity. Course, it took a bit of Omar’s torture to get it out of him.
     It’s not uncommon for noblemen at court to have mistresses. The women keep to themselves. For this reason, I doubt anyone would’ve thought her a threat. Especially since association with a high nobleman comes with some protection. Still, it’s not a mistake that I, or the few men who know the harm the Spiriter inflicted, will make again.
     As soon as she was identified, King Aodren sent me after her. I’ve followed Phelia’s trail across Malam and into the dangers of Shaerdan. And now, finally, Siron’s speed has bought us enough time to cross paths.
     The bloody hunt’s had me noosed for a month. That’s a month longer than I’ve wanted to be gone from Brentyn and Britta. And damn if I haven’t felt off the entire time we’ve been apart. Like distance has set me adrift.
     Today the hunt ends.
     Most barkeeps won’t suffer a man who’ll fill a chair and not pay to fill a cup or four. Even so, I’ve no time for primer drinks. “We’re looking for our mother, who came south to find work.” In a Shaerdanian lilt, I go on with the fib, explaining that we’re soldiers returning from the war—or almost war since it ended a little over a month ago, before it officially began. “Light brown hair, blue eyes, about this tall. Goes by the name Phelia.” I hold my hand up, providing the description that the castle attendants gave me. “Seen anyone like that?”
     The man pushes his tongue into the side of his cheek and then slides it over half-blackened teeth. “Aye. Perhaps.”
     “I’m all ears.”
     “Yeah. Might’ve seen someone matching that description earlier.”
     “How long ago?” Finn cuts in. I shoot him a look. His Shaerdanian accent wouldn’t fool a deaf goat. Told him as much in the last town.
     The barkeep doesn’t seem to notice. He plunks a couple mugs on the counter. “Before we get too chatty, let me get you fellas a drink.”
     It’s a fight to keep the easy smile on my face, knowing he likely holds information about Phelia. My hand shifts to my belt, to cover the parchment hidden in the leather. The motion usually centers me.
     “Or, if you’re aiming to take off sooner . . .” The man taps a glass on the counter. “You can pay for a drink and leave with some answers.”
     Right. Should’ve thrown money at him in the first place. I withdraw some coins, dropping them to plink on the wood. “Good enough?”
     “Cohen.” Finn’s sharp whisper snags my attention. He reaches for the coins.
     The man’s fist slams Finn’s hand flat against the bar.
     My brother yelps.
     Confused, I shove my chair back and lean into the barkeep’s face. “Get your hand off my brother.”
     The music stops. Every eye in the tavern cuts to us. A few men rise to their feet.
     “No Shaerdanian would pay with Malam coins,” the barkeep says.
     My jaw ticks, insides seizing like Siron’s kicked me in the gut.
     Bloody seeds.
     “You think I’m one of those scrants?” I spit, leaning heavily into a Shaerdanian accent that sounds loud but flat in the silent room.
     Finn’s eyes volley around the tavern and back to his trapped hand. The kid hides his panic as well as a tabby cat in a wolf den.
     “Your brother looks like he’s about to toss his last meal. Doesn’t seem soldierly to me.” He grips Finn’s fingers, ripping away my brother’s hand to pick up the damning coins.
     Three prayers Finn doesn’t open his mouth.
     “Must’ve forgot those were in my pocket.” I lean back in my chair. Shrug. “Needed some Malamian silvers at the border. Nothing to spoil a man’s drink over.”
     Boots scratch the plank floor. Men step closer.
     The barkeep cocks his head. “A fortnight back, two teenage girls went missing. Upset a lot of kinsmen ’round here. A town over, a girl was taken just a week ago. Her pa saw the men who did it. Tried to fight them and lost his life. Poor man’s wife caught sight of the raiders as they were shoving her girl in a carriage. Heard ’em speak. Said they sounded Malamian. Now, why would a few ball-less scrants from Malam want our girls? Maybe they’re itching to rekindle the war they almost started. What do you know of that, traveler?”
     “No more than tavern hearsay.” During my travels I’ve caught a few stories similar to this man’s. Daughters taken at night. Some snatched during the day. No women, just girls. It’s enough to raise concerns, but that’s something to focus on after I’ve got Phelia manacled.
     “Now, I can see you’re a smart man,” I tell the barkeep. “You don’t really think my brother and me have something to do with that. Coins don’t mean anything. Collector’s items.”
     “Your brother’s awfully silent.”
     “He’s shy. You scare the piss out of him.”
     A shadow shifts over my left shoulder. A giant of a man glares down at us. “Yeah, speak, boy.”
     “Leave him out of this.” My unspoken warning is clear.
     Another person moves behind Finn, blocking the path to the door. “Maybe we’ve caught us two of their spies. Maybe we pry loose answers about where they been hiding our girls.” His bush of a beard barely moves when he talks, the comment sliding from the slits of his lips like snakes from under a briar. He must not really think we’re the kidnappers, or he’d have gutted us already. Still, I eye his hand as it moves to the dagger tucked into his belt. “Explain yourself, boy.”
     In Finn’s fourteen years, I figure I’ve seen every one of my brother’s expressions. The wide tooth-and-gum smile he flashes when he catches a river trout. How tight-knit his brows get when he’s frustrated or angry. The somber set of his eyes before we part for months on end. None of those expressions match the look he’s giving me now. Panic and fear and something more. Something like disappointment.
     I put a hand on Finn’s shoulder, squeezing. Reassuring. “He’s a boy. One who needs to get back to tending fields. Not sit around in taverns. Time to go, Finn.”
     “You aren’t leaving so soon” comes from the Goliath behind me.
     “It’s the truth.” Finn misses the accent target by a league.
     “He’s from Malam!” the barkeep yells.
     Bloody seeds!
     Someone reaches for Finn, but my brother skitters out of his seat. I slam an elbow into the man behind me before he can grab Finn. “Get out of here,” I rasp.
     My brother jerks away, maneuvering for the door before more kinsmen come at me. Four to one aren’t bad odds, considering the barkeep is blocked by the counter.
     The bearded man charges. I jump back, grab my stool, and shove it into his gut. Angling for the door, I slam a shoulder against another fellow. Fend off a punch. Take a fist square to the chin. Bludger.
     I block a hit, bob out of reach from someone coming at my side, and narrowly avoid a crashing stool. Cheers erupt over the fight. A few voices shout to end it. Or end me. The tavern is chaos.
     I manage to push someone onto the playing table. Cards scatter. Money falls to the floor. The diversion leaves one mountain of a man between the exit and me. He’s easily a half-head taller and a half-body bigger. The zing of his drawn sword has me cursing.
     The man swings. I grasp a stool, thrusting it between us to catch his blade before it takes off my limb. My arms rattle from wrists to elbows. I use all my strength to twist the stool and shove, a move that sends the man off-balance and gives me the opening I need to flee the tavern.
     Finn’s across the street, headed for an alley. I scramble after him, my breath running hard. The tavern thugs chase us around town, but they’re drunk and we’re sober. We wind through shops and hide in shadows until we’ve lost any followers.
     On the northern outskirts of Rasimere Crossing, an old barn sits unused. We settle against the wall that faces the forest and catch our breath.
     Sweat slides down Finn’s temples. “Cannot believe that.”
     “I nearly got you killed.” I’m so angry, it comes out choppy. I promised Ma and myself I’d keep him safe. Piss of a job I’ve done.
     “Nah, you made me leave before it got to the good part.”
     I rub my thumb over the scar that starts beneath my cheekbone and hides in my short beard. “The good part?”
     “I didn’t get any punches in, but still . . .”
     “Shouldn’t have been in a situation for you to throw punches.”
     “My first tavern fight,” he says, awed.
     “Don’t be a fool.”
     He grins, teeth and gums shining under the sun.
     Footsteps clap against the ground around the corner. I grab my dagger as a girl holding a sword steps into sight. There’s something familiar about her raven hair and tan face. Irritated that she was able to sneak up on us, I gesture with the point of my blade. “Stop there and state your business.”
     Her lips twitch. “Nice to see you too, Cohen.”
     My frown sets. I rack my brain. Who’s this girl?
     She lets out a short, squeaky laugh that sounds like it’s being pressed through a windbag. “You don’t remember who I am? We met once . . .” She trails off, as if hoping I’ll pick up the scent. “In Celize.”
     “I meet a lot of people.”
     Her grin fades. “At Enat’s home.”
     A memory surfaces of a log home outside of Celize. My scowl shifts into surprise. “The Archtraitor’s daughter. Lirra, right?”
     Her father is infamous for openly opposing the Purge Proclamation—a decree that eliminated most Channelers in Malam—and defecting to Shaerdan after his wife and small child were killed because of his outspoken defiance.
     Lirra cinches up straighter than an arrow. “Don’t call him the Archtraitor. Around here, he’s just Millner Barrett.”
     “No offense intended.”
     She eyeballs my dagger. “Lower your blade, hunter. I know where you can find the woman you’re hunting.”

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Ever the Brave 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As+well+written+as+the+first%21
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
At the end of Ever the Hunted, Britta uses her Channeler powers to save King Aodren which breaks the tether between she and Cohen and establishes one with the King. Despite the tether, her feelings for Cohen haven’t changed, but she is starting to care for the king as well. With the kingdom in turmoil Aodren wants to overrule ill feelings his people have had for the Channelers since his fathers rule and the first thing they have to do is find the woman who had kept his mind captive. As I wrote the above paragraph I realized how if you hadn’t read the first book, this synopsis would be so confusing! To simplify, Britta is a Channeler, she saved the king. The King doesn’t want to kill off all of the Channelers anymore in large part due to his feelings for Britta and well, that’s genocide. As the Bounty Hunter to the king, Cohen gets sent after the evil woman giving Aodren the chance to get to know Britta without Cohen around to remind Britta of her feelings for him. Yes, this story is based around a love triangle, and if Britta weren’t such a strong character this would’ve bothered me a lot more than it actually did. I enjoyed the characters just as much as I did when I read Ever the Hunted. Britta is a strong, independent woman who can hunt and track just as well as the king’s Bounty Hunter, Cohen. Cohen should actually get used to Britta coming to his rescue but for some reason is always trying to protect her and keep her safe. Cohen, this is a girl that can keep herself safe! I do think he came to realize that by the end of the book, but that one trait was a little frustrating. Otherwise, he was a totally likable character. Ever the Brave was the first time that we got to know an Aodren that was not under mind control. What we did get to know, I liked and I look forward to the next installment of this series, Once a King, which is his story. I think his character may be a little more fleshed out which will make him more of a hero, I hope. If you enjoyed Ever the Hunted and haven’t gotten around to reading Ever the Brave, have no fear! This book is a fun second installment. Read it!
QueenAlchemy More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 Stars This review MAY contain spoilers. Read at your own risk. This book was delightful! I enjoyed the first book of this series, but I enjoyed this book even more so. The author's writing skill has only improved with this follow-up novel. I think that what pulled me into this series was the author's fluid writing style. The story flows very nicely. It is fast-paced with a compelling plot. I couldn't read this book fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. The best thing about this book is the characters. They have their own depth and growth as the story progresses. I felt myself instantly liking most of the characters and their interactions with one another. The chemistry between the characters was written well. This book is told from three perspectives, which I also enjoyed. I was able to get to know the three main characters, and without feeling overpowered by their personalities. In some books with multiple POVs, gravitating towards one voice can be easy. I loved how all three voices were equally balanced in this. I didn't love one more than the others. All three voices spoke to me. I liked the romance in this book. There was a love triangle in this book. I know that there are many people that will not read a book with this trope, but I can honestly say that it was done well in this book. It wasn't forced for the sake of having a love triangle. It flowed with the story and made the characters stronger because of it. While the plot was complete and easy to follow, I would have loved to have more details about this world. This is one of those stories that is fast-paced but would be so much better if it was drawn out a bit more. More details and going even deeper into the characters. It felt more like a light read to me, but I admit that I am a sucker for gobs of details and huge tomes. Don't get me wrong though. Even though I think that this would make the story better, it does not make the book any less enjoyable. I felt that the ending of the book was a little rushed. The fight scene with the villains was anticlimactic. Though the book ended on a high note and everything was wrapped up fairly well, I still would have liked a little more conflict. A little more pow at the end. Overall, the author's writing style is a pleasure to read. If you love fast-paced young adult fantasy then you will enjoy this series. The story will suck you in and leave you in the clouds. I can't wait to read more by this author! I would absolutely recommend this book!
Bookish Owlette More than 1 year ago
I'm keeping this as short as possible. I know I always say this, but I mean it this time. Ever The Brave is fast paced and exiting. It's filled with soo much action yet it doesn't feel like it's forced on us. Everything was well balanced and connected.  This book is made up of several POVs that include Cohen, Britta and the King. This was very interesting as it gave us a more well rounded view over the whole plot of the book. So much happens in the story that its very hard to express myself. Being a spoiler free review, I won't be delving into it. The main thing I really had a hard time accepting was Cohen. This is purely my personal opinion and has nothing to do with the overall plot. I also had a hard time accepting the new bond with Britta and the King. I expected it to last longer than a book and saw the story go so many different directions than how it actually did. Naturally, I didn't like Britta's final choice.
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill is the 2nd book in her Clash of Kingdoms series. I enjoyed the first book in this series, but Ever the Brave was even better. This is a fantasy novel in a world with two factions (Malem & Shaerdan ) that are at war with each other. Malem, which is now fully ruled by King Aodren, who in the last book, was saved by Britta, our heroine and a Channeler . A powerful Channeler & Spiriter is magically controlling other Channelers to help overtake Aodren. Britta, our wonderful heroine, has a connection to Aodren, since she used her Channeler magic to save his life in the last book. Cohen, is the man Britta loves since childhood, and who is now the Bounty Hunter for King Aodren. Britta keeps the secret that her connection to Cohen has been replaced. Before she saved Aodren, she did not like him, and with the connection, Britta will discover more about the man who is King. The villians (Jamison and Pheia) are still around, and determined to kill the King. With Cohen on assignment, Britta helps prevent another attack, and together with Aodren, they escape to find help, as the traitors have overtaken the castle. They will develop a strong friendship that will test the bonds between Cohen and Britta. Who will she eventually pick? Cohen and his team that are trying to find the dangerous powerful Channeler, who has kidnapped the girls, is also attacked, killing some of his men. He will get help from a friend. Lirra is also a Channlier, and she needed Cohen’s help to find the missing girls. When Cohen is injured, she will be the one to bring him to a safe place, and work with him to help the King and Britta. What follows is a very exciting adventure that will find them all on the run, badly injured and even some dead. Britta is a tough smart and great heroine. She will begin to learn from others how to use her abilities and try to stop the powerful enemies, at a cost that could take her own life. There was so much going on; you had to keep reading to not miss a thing, and to say too much more would be spoilers. Will Aodren survive the revolution by an evil enemy, and remain King? Will Britta survive? Who will Britta choose ….Cohen or Aodren? I have said this before; the key to a successful series is to have good characters that you care about. In Ever the Brave, we have some really good characters; Britta, a wonderful heroine; Aodren, who I became crazy about as we got deeper and deeper into the story; Leif, Finn, Gillian & Lirra; I also liked Cohen a bit more closer to the end. Summerill also gives us some evil villains that added to the story line. Ever the Brave was a very exciting, tense, fast paced story line; well written by Summerrill, with great characters and many surprises along the way. The ending did feel like the finale, however I understand there will be another book, which I will be reading. So should you.
AsTheBookEnds More than 1 year ago
Those of you amazing, incredible, wonderful followers who have been with me since last year will remember that I named Erin Summerill my favorite breakout author of 2016. Those of you who are just joining me, I still love you, and you’re still wonderful, but you have some catching up to do. I’m going to need you to read every post I’ve ever written as penance for being so late to the follow party. (I’m only partially kidding) Anyways! My only concern when I read Ever the Hunted was that, although I loved Britta, I didn’t really have strong feelings for Cohen. I thought that she forgave him too easily for the things he put her through. Now, I like Cohen just fine after reading Ever the Brave, but he still ins’t my favorite male character. He kind of annoyed me a few times over the course of the book, but given the end of the story, I think he was meant to. King Aodren, however, may be one of my favorite male characters of 2017. He is such a perfect, sweet little cinnamon roll! (Thank you Mika for teaching me this term) Let me catch you up to speed. Ever the Brave is narrated by three characters this time around: Cohen, Britta and AODREN!! I loved the multiple points of view, they really fleshed out the story. Erin did a fantastic job of switching POVs at just the right time, I never found myself wishing a particular scene was narrated by a different character. Overall, I liked the plot of this a bit more than I liked Ever the Hunted. The sequel of a book is rarely better than the original, but I think that Erin managed to pull it off here. The plot moved quickly, there was plenty of action, and there were a few twists and turns to keep me on my toes. My only grievance, aside from just not really diggin Cohen, was that there wasn’t enough villain development in my opinion. I would have liked to learn more about the bad guys, and I felt like aside from being power hungry, I didn’t get a huge feel for their motives. Its entirely possible that I’ve been reading too many books with villain MCs, but I missed the development there. My Takeaway: Erin’s writing was as wonderful in Ever the Brave as it was in her debut, and I can honestly say that I can’t wait for the next book she writes (which I’m told will star my favorite cinnamon roll).