Author: Cindy Pon
Pub. Date: September 8, 2015
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.
Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.
When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.
“Vivid worldbuilding, incendiary romance, heart-pounding action, and characters that will win you over–I highly recommend Serpentine.” Cinda Williams Chima, best-selling author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles fantasy novels
“Serpentine is unique and surprising, with a beautifully-drawn fantasy world that sucked me right in! I love Skybright’s transformative power, and how she learns to take charge of it.” ~Kristin Cashore, NYT Bestseller of the Graceling Realm Series
“Serpentine’s world oozes with lush details and rich lore, and the characters crackle with life. This is one story that you’ll want to lose yourself in.” ~ Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites
"It's a nice morning for song," a soft voice said from behind her--a male voice-- and Skybright leaped to her feet, turning to thrust the lathered soap in front of her like a weapon.
The young man smiled. "You're quick." He carried a wooden staff that was taller than he was, long enough that he could whack her in the head without moving.
She grimaced at her soap. "You frightened me."
"I apologize." He inclined his head.
He couldn't have been more than seventeen years, dressed in a tan sleeveless tunic that revealed wiry arms. His slender eyes were near black in color. Skybright took a small step forward, and he lifted his chin, as if in challenge, and she saw the angry red mark covering his neck, like a hand had seized him by the throat, burning an imprint into his flesh.
"You're...him," she said.
"And you are her. The girl spying in the tree." He laughed, and it was warm and unguarded.
"I wasn't--." She stuttered. "I was--"
"Chasing after a lost cat?" he offered.
She smiled despite herself. Skybright had never spoken to a boy so near her own age before, other than haggling over the price of vegetables at the market.
"I'm Kai Sen." He half-bowed, gripping the staff with both hands so it was parallel to the ground.
"Skybright." She nodded shyly.
He pointed at her washing. "I didn't mean to interrupt. Do you mind if I rest here a few moments?"
Skybright returned to wringing the sheet, and he sat near her by the creek's bank. Feeling self-conscious, she was relieved that he was gazing at the water. The thick trees surrounding them made it seem as if they were the only people for leagues. He closed his eyes and tilted his face toward the sky, seeming content. She submerged the sheet, splashing the water just to make some noise.
"So truthfully, were you spying?" Kai Sen asked, breaking the silence.
She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "My mistress talked me into it. She's always full of wild notions."
"Was it worth the climb?"
"I saw you." She wrung the sheet, then realized her simple statement could be construed another way. She hadn't meant to be coy, he was truly the most interesting thing she had seen during her tree climbing escapade. Mortified, she considered putting the wet sheet over her head.
His dark brows lifted, then he laughed again. She liked his laugh--so full and unrestrained.
Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association's Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at www.cindypon.com.
1 winner will receive a signed hardcover of SERPENTINE and brush art painting card. US Only.
3 winners will receive a signed paperback of SERPENTINE and brush art painting card. US Only.
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