The future is bright for 16-year-old Ava Holland and the residents of Evereach. They don’t have to worry about old age or even getting sick. In their world, humans regenerate, heal, and live for hundreds of years. Mortality isn’t something to fear. Disease has been all but eradicated. Everything changes when Ava watches her brother die and he doesn’t regenerate. Ava’s genetics are called into question by the government, scientists, extremists, and Ava herself. Could her genes hold the answer to mortality? Is she an anomaly or something to be feared? Determined not to become anyone’s guinea pig, Ava doesn’t stick around to find out. She wants answers too, but the only person who can help her is 17-year-old Michael Bradley, the boy who killed her brother. If either of them have even the slightest chance of survival, they must find the genetic keys hidden in Ava’s DNA before it’s too late.
About the Author
Everly Frost works by day, writes by night, and flies by the seat of her pants the rest of the time. She enjoys writing fiction that is set in worlds like ours with unexpected differences. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Read an Excerpt
Fear My Mortality
Mortal Eternity Book 1
By Everly Frost
Month9BooksCopyright © 2015 Everly Frost
All rights reserved.
I never could watch anyone die.
Tricycle wheels flipped through the air. Brakes shrieked and metal crunched. The kid's trike rattled all the way across the road and hit my foot. I froze at the curb in front of my house, school bag sliding off my shoulder, vision filled with the spinning wheels. I told myself to walk away, pretend I hadn't heard the smash or seen the boy go under the vehicle. I should shrug it off like I was supposed to.
I should ignore the impulse to help.
I bounded around the broken bike and sprinted to the car in the middle of the road. A little arm extended from underneath the front fender, palm up, motionless. Biting my lip, I sank to my heels, wishing his fingers would twitch, fighting the tears that welled behind my eyes.
The silence was heavy after the squeal and crash. I hovered, not sure if I should pull him out. I hated my brother for leaving me behind. If Josh had driven me to dance class like he was supposed to, I wouldn't be here now, staring at first death and not knowing what to do. I'd be going about my day like normal. No, I reminded myself. Today was not an ordinary day. Today was Implosion.
The driver emerged from the car with annoyance on her face. I flinched as she slammed the car door. Another woman ran from a nearby house, screaming into a phone. She raced to the driver and gave her a shove. "That's my son! I'm calling the Hazard Police. You'd better be insured!"
The driver threw up her hands and backed off, slumping against the side of her car, clicking her fingernails together, and tapping her heels against the pavement.
I knelt down to the boy as his mother continued to yell into the phone. She paced up and down the road, her voice shrill. "How long will it take to get a recovery dome here? What — you've got to be kidding me. I'm already late for work."
Wisps of his blond hair touched the side of the wheel like yellow cotton candy, all floating and soft. I wondered if his soul floated there too, inches above the hot road, waiting to get back to his body. I was glad I couldn't see the rest of his head.
Before I touched him, something zipped past my shoulder.
The drone circled up and back, swinging close to my ear. Shaped like a metal cross no bigger than my hand, it skimmed the air in front of the car. Beneath the hum of its four miniature rotor blades came the chatter of shutters. It was taking shots of the damage: the boy's hand, the wheel, a piece of tricycle jammed under there with him. Assessing the situation and relaying the information twenty miles west to the nearest Hazard Police station.
The information drone flitted from spot to spot, whirring around the car straight toward the driver, hovering and clicking, transmitting her image back to the police. The kid's mother was next before the drone flew to me. A pinprick of light struck my eyes, and I stopped still, waiting for it to take the shot and move on, but the clicking stopped.
I frowned as the mechanical chattering died. Instead of taking my picture, the drone floated, paused for the first time. I stared back at it, waiting, a feeling of unease spreading through my chest.
Someone grabbed my arm.
My elderly neighbor, Mrs. Hubert, wrenched me to my feet, a pair of pruning shears wavering in her other hand. The camera clicked behind me — just once — and I imagined the blur of my body captured in the image. Before I drew breath, Mrs. Hubert's strong grip propelled me several feet from the car. Her long braid — a sign of her age — slapped against her thigh as she strode away from the accident, taking me with her.
"Come away, Ava. You don't need to get caught up in that." She flicked her head in the direction of the scowling driver who looked as if she wanted to strangle someone. I guessed she didn't have insurance, after all.
"But, he's still under there ..." I threw a confused look at the boy's mother. She still hadn't checked him.
"Everyone deals with first death differently. You need to get used to it if you want to get through Implosion tonight."
Implosion. When I get to see the color of my own blood.
She tugged on my arm again. "Besides, the Hazard Police will be here soon. They'll take care of him."
Behind us, the info drone returned to the crash as Mrs. Hubert urged me further away from the accident. I picked up my bag and tried to forget about the child. I guessed it would be at least half an hour before he regenerated and was fully conscious again — faster if the Hazards brought a recovery dome.
Mrs. Hubert opened her gate and went back to pruning her rose bushes as if nothing had happened. The shears snapped. Petals floated to newly mulched earth, bright red on brown. "Go on. There's nothing more to do here."
I forced myself to focus. If I didn't hurry, I'd miss dance class completely.
It took me twenty minutes to rush to the dance studio downtown, which made me ten minutes late. Dance was part of my schooling and counted as the first two classes of my day. Luckily, the studio was located just a few blocks up from the school. As I puffed toward the café below the studio, I slowed for a moment to breathe in the normality of people drinking coffee, the crackle of open newspapers, and the soft jumble of conversation. No more broken bike and tiny hand.
Approaching the corner of the building, I gave Lucy, the owner of the café, a quick wave. She'd offered me a waitressing job over summer holidays, which was perfect because I could head upstairs to dance practice after my shift. She returned the wave with a bright smile. With her olive skin and dark brown hair, Lucy had the kind of complexion that hinted at a Seversandian heritage. My own features weren't far off: brown hair, brown eyes, and skin that was a shade darker than pale. There used to be free movement between our country, Evereach, and the country across the sea, Seversand, but not anymore.
I took the stairs two at a time, raced past the poster I normally drooled over — an ad for the Conservatorium, the most prestigious dance academy in all of Evereach — and launched myself through the door.
Inside the studio, students were moving away from the warm-up bar into the center of the room. Ms. White towered at the head of the dance floor, her reflection tall and straight in the mirror behind her. "Hurry up, class! Selections for the Conservatorium are only six months away and I won't accept dawdling because summer's here."
I ran to put my bag down, searching the group for my best friend, Hannah. I caught sight of her pale blond head among the other students, shining like the first ray of sunlight that morning. She threw me a questioning look as Ms. White pointed me to the warm-up bar. I rushed through my stretches and positioned myself at the back of the room, focusing on the new routine, until Hannah maneuvered her way over to me.
"Where were you?"
"There was a car accident. One of my neighbor's kids got hit."
Her eyes glazed over. The boy's death wouldn't matter to her. It shouldn't matter to me.
"And Josh hates me, but what's new." I leaped, twisting my body mid-air and landing on my feet, to spring upward again.
Hannah dipped away, and when she moved back, she edged closer so we could talk. "Are you ready for Implosion tonight? My mom was all mushy about it this morning, it was embarrassing."
I forced a laugh. "Yeah, my parents not so much." Mom had taken me shopping for a new dress in all black so it didn't show the blood. Black wasn't compulsory and Josh had told me that some kids at his Implosion ceremony the previous year wore white, but those were mostly the religious kids, and they framed their Implosion clothes afterward to remind themselves about faith. I only had Josh's word for it, since only adult members of the family were allowed to attend the ceremony and it wasn't televised. Other than the dress shopping, my parents hadn't talked about Implosion much, as though it wasn't important that I was becoming an adult.
After tonight, I'd be allowed to grow my hair past my shoulders — but only about half an inch, since the length of our hair had to match our age. And I'd be allowed to drink. And move out of home, except only the really fast healers did that since they were offered paid Hazard training while they completed their last year of school. I figured I'd be stuck at home for the next year, but Josh was heading to college after summer holidays.
"So, what about Josh? He's going to the Terminal tonight? I heard it's going to be a massive fight."
My stomach clenched and I missed the move Ms. White was demonstrating. Josh had begged to go to his graduation party, but our parents insisted he come to Implosion with me. "Dad said no."
"But all the graduates are going. It's the last time they'll get to kill each other." The lightness was gone from her voice. "He has to be there."
I shrugged, but the nonchalant gesture was a lie. How could I tell her that the very idea of the Terminal made me sick? That my heart hurt every time I remembered the little boy under the car. That the thought of Implosion — of being killed — made me shudder so hard I couldn't breathe. Hannah hadn't died before either, but I knew she didn't feel the same way.
I said none of those things as Ms. White's voice drowned out my thoughts, beating out a warning with a finger pointed firmly in my direction. "Concentrate, Miss Holland. Or I'll have to send you to school without your Extra-Curricular Pass."
Hannah flicked me a quick, apologetic glance and I ducked my head and willed my body to obey the music, to turn when it should and leap when it should. Finally, I lost myself in rhythm and movement and the quiet that always fell over me when I danced.
When we arrived at school, it was morning break and students crowded the halls. I pushed on the doors just in time for someone to release a wash of red flyers advertising the Terminal.
A familiar giggle told me that Sarah Watson posed against the nearby wall. Her nail scissors glinted as she tilted her bleeding ear, showing off how her blood didn't even drip before her skin healed.
I rolled my eyes and turned away before the inevitable face sucking with her latest conquest, but I was surprised when it was Michael Bradley. He had Sarah hanging off his arm as if she was an extension of his elbow.
"Remember when we said we'd never be some guy's accessory?" Hannah grabbed my hand with her eyebrows way up in her hair. "That's the one guy I'd make an exception for. Do you know he's never lost a fight at the Terminal?"
Josh didn't say how fast Michael healed at Implosion the previous year, but I'd heard he turned down Hazard training. I guessed, if my dad were part owner of the Terminal, I wouldn't bother with a job either.
Sarah caught my eye before I could pretend to look somewhere else. "Hey, Ava," she said, looking me up and down from my regulation-length short ponytail to my leggings. "Been to dance class? Seems like a waste of time to me."
She turned away before I could reply, but Michael gave me a nod, a strangely serious acknowledgment of my presence, and I wasn't sure how to respond. I frowned at him as Hannah pulled me along. "Pfft. She's just jealous. Besides, did you know she's a third child?"
"Truly?" When I turned twelve, Mom had given me "the talk." At the end of it, she'd told me that our bodies can only have one child, maybe two, and that was a good thing given how long people lived. Otherwise, the world would be overpopulated.
Hannah drew me into the swarm of students. "Did you see how fast she heals? She's probably a Basher."
I glanced back at Sarah and Michael as they disappeared into the milling students. Members of the Basher gang were always fast healers. There were images of them on the news, always slightly blurry and concealed in full camouflage gear, and I'd heard stories about them, whispers of espionage and subterfuge, talk of theft and threats, hatred of slow healers, but they were always far away, somewhere else. They went to extremes to keep their identities secret and nobody knew who their leader was, but their message appeared in graffiti sprawled on the corners of billboards or across the sides of buildings: Bury the weak.
"Do you think it's true what they say about the Basher cells underground?"
"That they bury slow healers alive." She screwed up her face in disgust. "The police seem to take it seriously, but I don't know. Sounds like a scary story."
"I don't understand why they hate people who don't heal fast." I struggled to say the words "slow healer." It was insulting to label someone that way.
Hannah shrugged. "I heard they think slow healers make us look weak, vulnerable; everything we use Implosion to prove we aren't." She smiled and bumped my shoulder, trying to lighten the mood. "Hey, if I turn out to be a slow healer tonight, you've got my back, right?"
I attempted a smile as she pulled me down the hallway. Heading to class, I checked the steady stream of students for my brother. School was finishing early in honor of Implosion — I had only two classes left — and I didn't trust him to wait to give me a lift home.
As soon as the final bell rang, I raided my locker, hugged Hannah, and raced out to the parking lot.
Josh was already opening the driver side door as I ran up. "Hey."
He didn't answer, settling behind the wheel with his hair blending into the cracked black leather seat. He pointed at me and then to the passenger seat.
I raced around to the side and dropped into the seat, just as his best friend, Aaron Reid, appeared, his red hair tousled and full of gel. He drummed his fists on the hood of the car and shouted at Josh through the windscreen. "See you at the Terminal, buddy!"
He signaled to Josh, put a finger to the underside of his chin, and pretended to pull the trigger. Josh mocked a slit throat in return. A ghost of a smile crept onto my brother's face as he revved the engine and slammed the car into reverse. Josh drove faster than the speed limit, but I picked my battles.
I chose my words carefully. "Aaron seems to think you're going to the Terminal tonight."
His jaw flexed and there were murky stains under his eyes that made him look hollow. "So what if I am?"
I took a deep breath. It wasn't because I didn't want him to go to the Terminal — as much as I couldn't stand the idea of people killing each other with swords or guns or drones, or whatever new thrill the Terminal came up with. I didn't want him to miss his graduation party either. But he'd been through Implosion before. He knew what was coming.
"Josh, it's my Implosion. You're my brother. I need ..."
I don't want to be alone when I die.
I swallowed the words I couldn't say. I'd be surrounded by hundreds of kids. My parents would be there. But, somehow, the thought of my brother standing beside me gave me courage. Even if I regenerated straight away. Even if there was a chance I was a fast healer, I didn't want to lose myself to that moment of darkness. That moment of death.
The words tumbled out of my mouth. "I need you to be there."
He didn't look at me, his expression hooded and unreadable, as his hands tightened on the wheel. He was quiet for so long that exasperation bubbled up inside me.
"How can playing at the Terminal be more important than my first death?"
"Because I'd rather kill than watch you be killed." He glared at me as we stopped at an intersection, a deep darkness behind his eyes.
I struggled to understand. "Implosion's important ..."
"You're a freak, Ava. It's a stupid ceremony that lets people sleep at night. Seversand isn't coming to kill us. Because we can't die. Nobody can."
He tapped his temple and pressed his finger there, his eyes boring holes into me. "The only war we fight is the one in here."
Excerpted from Fear My Mortality by Everly Frost. Copyright © 2015 Everly Frost. Excerpted by permission of Month9Books.
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.
Table of Contents
ContentsPart One: Freak,
Part Two: Terminal,
About the Author,
Other Month9Books Titles You Might Like,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
FEAR MY MORTALITY started with a unique and engaging premise and stayed there, with a story that holds the reader's interest from beginning to end. Full of action, intrigue, heartbreak, a little romance, and desperation this futuristic story had it all. If you enjoy reading in the dystopian or scifi genre, definitely pick this one up! I began this book late at night and thought I'd just read a few chapters before bed so that I would have a head-start in getting it finished the next day. I never put it down. I literally ate up the pages as fast as I could. It was engaging and I not only felt immersed in the story, I also really grew to love these characters and cheered them on as they faced challenge after challenge just striving to survive and not be at the hands of scientists who would use them. The author did a fabulous job in allowing the reader to know these characters, to feel what they felt, and to drive emotion into the story. Everything also made perfect sense with the scifi elements and for me, that's a big deal. So many times I read a story and it comes across as unrealistic, but this story was not that way at all. There was no info dumping. I learned along with the characters and as they lived their lives. It worked, these characters came alive, and the plot was propelled forward in this twisted fight of mortality versus immortality and the fear of war. I'm so glad this is a series because I'm not quite ready to let go of these characters. I can't wait for book two! Content: Some violence, but clean. Source: I received a complimentary copy through a tour host for the purposes of a virtual tour, which did not affect my review in any way.
This book was spectacular! The layering plot, complex characters, and amazing details make Fear My Mortality a book worth reading. Evelyn Frost just promoted herself to one of my new favorite authors!
Oh, where do I start. I was instantly sucked in from the first paragraph (you can read it on Amazon = no spoilers here). I mean, seriously, a kid gets hit by a car an no one really cares. In fact, even his own mother treats it like an inconvenience -- Uh, hello, son I'm gonna be late for work! Get up already! In the land of immortality first death is just a pain in the butt. From there I was taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions. As Ava preps for her Implosion (a coming of age tradition where your parents *ahem* help you achieve first death) no one empathizes with her discomfort. I seriously felt for her, feeling antsier the closer the event came. And then just when I think things can't get more interesting...wham...what happens at Implosion? Well, I can't tell you, but I will say you'll never see it coming... Fear My Mortality will keep you at the edge of your seat, with page turning excitement, and twists and turns you never saw coming. Ava is the perfect heroine, both vulnerable and caring, which makes her that much more important. Michael is the golden boy from school, driven by purpose and duty. A 5 star fantastic YA read, I can't wait to read the sequel! And don't worry, there's a little bit of romance for those of you interested... I received a free copy for an honest review.
Fear my Mortality, from the cover to the premise everything was super intriguing. That is why I requested it and was lucky enough to receive a copy to read and review. Even the first chapter captures your attention, especially how little death meant to them and how the only person that seemed to be concerned was Ava. I thought the whole concept of the book was a good one. It is usually mortals who fear death, knowing that that will be the end for them. So it was interesting to see the idea that someone that considers themselves immortal fears that being immortal can be or was a concept of the mind or something that was created. So that fear of not living forever starts to creep in and when fear takes a hold of you, a lot of crazy things can happen and it does. From the beginning, it starts out with a bang. A car hits a little boy and his mother is more upset about the driver's insurance than the fact that her son is mangled underneath a car. That opening scene got my attention, and my curiosity of what will happen next kept me interested. The whole concept of the book was so interesting. It’s a world where all humans are immortal and killing is considered a sport that people partake in regularly. It’s like the purge but on a regular basis. At the center of this world, you have Ava, the main character whose whole world turns upside down on the night of her Implosion, a ceremony to celebrate her first death, when her brother dies before her eyes and doesn’t come back to life. Before she knows it, she’s running for her life and trying to escape the grasp of those who want to do tests on her to find out whether she’s a mortal too and of course the usual suspects, those who want to kill her. This book has a blend of dystopian threads, futuristic science and tech, and just the right amount of romance that doesn’t overtake large part of the story, Fear My Mortality is sure to capture fans who like books with dystopian themes, who like face paced books with a great combination of action, suspense and curiosity.
This book was fast paced and had me wondering what was going to happen next. The story is around humans that have immortality, but people who are slow healers are shunned. Ava faces her first test as an immortal during the Implosion, where a person is killed and comes back to life. Her brother, Josh has already done this and leaves Ava during the ceremony. Something goes terrible wrong and this changes the course of Ava's and Josh lives. Ava is a strong character with such inner strength that shines through and maintains her throughout this story. My heart went out to her as not being understood and abandoned. Michael helps Ava or does he really put her in more danger? Does an attraction between the two change Michael or does he do what he is told to do. Michael is strong, but yet a side of him has a soft spot as both he and Ava fight for survival. I was taken on a ride that was exciting and yet full of hope for the future with these two characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading dystopian stories. I can't wait to see what awaits Ava and Michael in the next book.
I loved this book. It was excellent. It kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen next. I liked both Ava and Michael, but specifically Michael. He is just such an amazing character. I thought he was really well-developed and he added so much to the story. There were several questions that I thought were either unanswered or not answered well that I would have liked to see better answered, but overall, this was well worth reading. I would probably read it again nearly immediately. I keep thinking back to it and wondering about things or remembering a part. I would definitely recommend it.