I’m delighted to share an intriguing book extract with you today for Mageborn by Jessica Thorne. Sounds so good. I had originally hoped to share a review, but a spate of migraines put a stop to that. But I do plan on reading and reviewing with you all sometime soon
Thanks to Bookouture for giving me for giving me a copy of this book for review consideration. As always, no matter what the source of the book, you get my honest, unbiased opinion.Mageborn by Jessica Thorne
Published by Bookouture on 18 February 2019
Source: Received from Publisher
Buy on Amazon
A dark and addictive fantasy read for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas. The life of an orphan soldier becomes entwined with that of the mysterious heir to the throne, whose very presence draws out the secret magic living inside her: a magic that breaks every law she is duty-bound to uphold…
The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.
Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.
The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.
Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just – but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.
Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…
Prologue for Mageborn
Ripples and waves of light danced on the roof of the cave, the churning maelstrom of the glowing pool beneath reflected on the centuries-old rock worn smooth by the passage of time and water. The boy with the sword stopped in the entrance, mouth agape at this wonder. The king watched, his chin resting on his fist. He might have been a statue, sitting on his broken throne in front of the pool, bathed in the shifting light. The polished obsidian rock from which the throne was carved mirrored that light like a living thing, and he was a shadow, a void, an empty space upon the seat. Outside, the roses adorning the approach had all burned days ago, incinerated by the magical wildfires which had consumed the valley beyond the cave. Only the thorns remained, black and brittle. The boy had cut his way through them.
It came down to this. All his power, all his might, armies born of magic to command, godhood coursing through his veins – and a boy with a sword come to stop him.
He didn’t look like a hero. He definitely didn’t look like a would-be king.
The Maegen – that source of magic, light and dark, that place where anything was possible – stole the intruder’s breath, making the king forget why he was here in hiding. He could kill the boy now, in this moment.
But the Hollow King didn’t move. To do it was to forsake everything he was, everything he could be. To do it was to fall. He sat as still as stone.
‘Kill him,’ the Little Goddess whispered from behind his throne. Her voice was sweet and beguiling, but her words were terrible. He heard the echo of otherness in her, the Deep Dark, that which was infecting all the mageborn and driving them to acts too terrible to continue.
‘Kill him, or let us have him,’ the Deep Dark whispered from behind her.
The Hollow King wasn’t fooled. He’d resisted them this long. He held up his hand and forced them back into the shadows. It was harder every time.
The strain must have shown on his face. The boy gazed at him with dark eyes, black like the polished obsidian on which the king sat. But not cold. There was compassion there. Warmth.
‘You’re him, aren’t you?’ he said. Not the voice of a warrior. The Hollow King had no knowledge of human lives, of human years or ages. But he recognised youth. And innocence.
‘They told me you were a monster,’ the boy said. A broken laugh echoed around the chamber and the Maegen rippled, throwing up a rainbow of lights into the darkness. It took a moment for the Hollow King to recognise that laughter as his own.
‘I’ve been called worse. What do you want, boy?’
A flicker of annoyance passed over his delicate features. ‘I’m fifteen.’
Fifteen. Only fifteen years in this world and he thought he could defeat a god. Was that common for humans? That belief? That arrogance? Probably.
‘Congratulations.’ He couldn’t keep the sarcasm from his tone. The Little Goddess edged forward, slinking past him and showing all her teeth, white and gleaming like wet bone. The circlet crowning her head glittered like a starry midnight amid her thick curls.
The boy’s face paled. His grip on the weapon tightened. A ridiculously long sword. He could barely lift it.
His sister, the Little Goddess, laughed. ‘This? This is what we hide from?’
No. Not this. This was just the surgeon come to deal with the source of the infection. What they hid from was much worse. The Deep Dark had made it and it would consume them all. But she could not see that. Not when it consumed her as well.
It would take him too. It was only a matter of time.
‘Run away, little boy,’ the goddess sang to him. ‘Run back to your mother’s skirts.’
Something tightened in the boy’s face. Something hard and bitter, determined. ‘My family are dead. The mageborn killed them all.’
‘The mageborn are beyond control now,’ the Hollow King sighed.
‘Not for you,’ the boy said. ‘I want… I’m here to offer you a way out.’
The Hollow King pushed himself up from the broken throne. The Maegen called him. The Deep Dark called him. It whispered words of comfort, sweet enticements. It was running wild through his mageborn people and soon it would take him too. It was inevitable. Why fight it any more?
There was no way out. This child of hope knew nothing. The Hollow King took off his crown. He cradled it in his hands, staring from it to the luminous waters of magic beneath.
All it would take was for him to finally give up. Break the crown. Fall. Be consumed and lost. Do what they wanted at last.
‘Please,’ the boy cried. In a fit of despair, he dropped the ridiculous sword and threw himself forwards. The crown cracked before he made it.
But his hands shot out, almost touching the Maegen, and he caught the pieces before they could vanish into it. He knelt beside the king, holding them back, holding him back.
‘Please,’ he said again. ‘Please listen to me. I want to offer you a deal. A pact. Please.’
The Hollow King stared down into those endless dark eyes, so full of faith and hope. And for a moment he too believed. Maybe… maybe… there was a way.
‘Don’t!’ his sister cried out. ‘Please, my liege, don’t do this.’
He was so tired. Tired of being a king, tired of the struggle, tired of trying to make it right. Besides, he knew better than to listen to her. She could make you think day was night if it served her purpose. And it never ended well.
‘What’s your name?’ he asked the boy.
‘Larelwynn. Lucien Larelwynn.’
His hands shook as he held the pieces of the broken crown. He was terrified. But he wasn’t running away. Larelwynn believed in something.
If his belief had bid him to come here, face a monster, and save the crown – or what was left of it – perhaps the Hollow King could believe as well.
Belief was power. But more than that. Belief could save them all.
‘And what is this pact?’
If you’ve enjoyed the Prologue from Mageborn by Jessica Thorne, you can grab a copy here:
Thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to join this tour.