In the deep heart of the forest, there are places where no light ever shines, where darkness is folded by pale hands and jewel-bright eyes, where the world is ruled by the wicked and kept by the wraiths. This is where the Sprites of the Sihl live.
But Sprites are not born, they are made. On the path to Spritehood, spritelings must first become shades. They do so by binding a shadow: a woodland creature, who guides them through their training. Together, they keep from the light and learn to enchant living things, to bind them, and eventually, to kill them.
Ahraia is a shade who has bound a wolf for a shadow, as strong a shadow as there has ever been. But while her wolf marks her for greatness, Ahraia struggles with the violent ways of her people. Illicit as it is, she would rather be running wild beneath the moons. But a test is coming, and the further she and her shadow wander out of the darkness, the deeper they wander into danger. Ahraia’s time is coming and what awaits her at the end of her test will either make her or kill her . . .
Hello All! Did you get a good look at the cover? It’s OK, take your time, I don’t blame you. I’ll wait. It is simply lovely, isn’t it? *hearteyes*
Hear! Hear! Today I have gathered you all here to tease you with an excerpt from a soon to be published (21st of June, to be exact!) debut fantasy title by Coleman Alexander… You liked the cover? And yes, you liked the blurb? Well, buckle up and check out this excerpt:
Ahraia’s mother knelt before her, a summer breeze rustling the silver-white hairs that had escaped her tarry-vine.
“Do you know the true purpose of our shadows?”
Ahraia used Losna to steady herself, clutching tightly to the thick clump of fur at her neck.
To guide us as shades? she conveyed. Her eyes and ears tipped down as tears dripped over her cheeks.
Three years had passed since she returned from binding Losna, and, since that day, she had heard her mother’s voice many times—but this would be the last.
Fog swirled from the opposite bank, spilling out over the waters of the Winnowlin and hiding the stars above. Her mother’s cheek bled from the Posturant’s cut, her mark of defeat.
Her mark of condemnation.
If she was nervous, she didn’t show it. Her stark-white eyes were fixed on Ahraia, her ears upright and face a veil of calm. Ahraia’s own lip quivered, and she couldn’t help as a stricken sob escaped.
Stop that, her mother conveyed. Golden veins darkened across her eyes, like tendrils of clouds crawling across the Bright Moon. It shows weakness. And you of all shades can’t show weakness.
Ahraia dragged a light-scarred hand across her face and sniffed hard. Losna nuzzled her, her tongue scratching across her wrist.
That’s better. Her mother wiped the remaining damp from her cheek, ignoring her own bloodied face.
“The true purpose of a shadow is not to guide the shade—but to make a sprite of her. Our shadows are a measure of us. They choose us as spritelings, when we are weak and naïve, grown of soft roots—and they leave us as sprites, hardened and sharp, cut from stone. But it’s what lies between that makes us who we are.”
My thanks to Coleman Alexander, for sharing this excerpt with us! I, for one, am intrigued and excited to be reading the book soon! If I managed to grab your attention, too, then the book is available to pre-order now!
About the Author: Coleman Alexander lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, exploration runs deep in his blood. Whether visiting the remote wilds of Alaska or the imaginary lands of his books, he is happiest with his head in the woods or the mountains. The farther off the beaten path the better.
His favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.K. Rowling, and his work is influenced by a great number of fantasy and science fiction movies and books. Music plays an integral part of his writing process, and he is always diving down the rabbit hole for new musicians.
Between the Shade and the Shadow is his debut novel, but is only the first piece of a much greater world he is creating, the world of The Realmless.
(Note from Liz: PS! For you eager ones, please note that the author website will be live in a few days!)