Queen to Ashes by Mallory McCartney
(Black Dawn #2)
Publication Date: April 21st, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
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“You lived your entire life feeling like half of you was missing. Fight for the missing part. Fight for this.”
Emory Fae has abandoned everything she thought she knew about her previous life on Earth. Stepping up to her role as Queen of Kiero she makes a startling sacrifice- feigning her allegiances to Adair Stratton, the man who murdered her parents and casted Kiero into ruin. Emory’s memories slowly piece together, and she soon realizes the Mad King may not be all he seems— and the man who was once best friend, may be fighting beneath the surface.
With the King’s attention on her, can she buy Black Dawn Rebellion enough time to recuperate their forces? And when the times comes, will she be able to kill Adair, ending his tyranny and rising herself as the rightful Queen? Fighting to hide her secret, Emory navigates the brutal trials of the Mad King, trying not to lose herself in the process.
Sequel to Heir of Lies, now a bestselling series, the sparks are ignited, as Emory learns the cost of freedom, and her heritage. Will the rebels unite in time? A sinister force has spread across the land, stripping everyone bare- their betrayals, their secrets, their intentions. But above all, what will their decisions cost? By refusing to give in to the darkness, will Emory rise as Queen?
Adair Stratton tugged his button-down jacket tighter around him, trying to block the wind from his lookout post. The vastness of the sky was consuming, a strange energy clinging on the night air. The churning dark clouds cast a purplish hue, bleeding with the softness created from the moon. The stars shone between the pockets, obscuring the scene and making it beautiful. Far below him, the Ruined City lay in its grave, quiet and still, the broken buildings reminding him of splintered bones. The once thriving capital of Kiero—Sarthaven—was nothing more than a whispered memory to him now. His gaze wandered to the edge of the Draken Mountain range, the wildness of the Noctis woods flourishing, the purple hues of the trees pulsing like gems. It had taken years to build his kingdom, shackling Kiero in fear. The people that now lived in the Draken Mountains valued their lives and were loyal to him. Sighing, the darkness in his veins was smothered ever so slightly as he breathed in the crisp air. In this brief and flickering moment of clarity, his mind wandered to the girl who was locked in the cells of his kingdom, waiting for him: Emory Fae, the Princess of Kiero. Popping his collar up, he scowled. Under the blanket of night, he could trace back to the man he used to be when Emory had known him-an echo of his humanity. Thinking of her, he could see the splaying of memories come back to life all around him, of his friends, of the Academy. And it was in these sparse moments of lucidity, he allowed himself to remember, relishing it, pushing back that yearning for destruction, pushing back the voices, trying to lock them away. And like every other night, he lost. The wind howled, making the edges of his coat and pants tug upward, his hair standing on end from the sudden chill. His heart raced as the smooth voices filled his consciousness. “Adair, this kingdom is yours. Make her bow, make her bleed… make her pay for what she has done.” He closed his eyes for a beat, digging his fingernails into his palms. “Why do you wait? You know what you want. What you have always wanted.” Images were thrown at him; so quick and enthralling, they swept his breath away: The inky crown, embedded with roses and thorns, lay delicately on top of Emory’s ebony hair. Memphis Carter, the once commander of the Black Dawn Rebellion, bowed, pleading for his life as Adair smirked above him. His darkness had whisked away any trace of rebellion and Emory was by his side as they watched the world continue to burn until it was only them. Always for them. Adair snarled, then said, “Leave me alone.” Their snickers bounced around him, their whispers tugging at his heart. “Do not falter now, our Mad King. You have come so far, achieved so much. The binds your father tried to keep you in, you broke. The ones the Academy kept you in, you turned to ash.
“We are a team. We know the desires of your soul, how you revel in watching the world shudder in your reign. You have always been more. A reckoning force that no one can stop. Can never stop.” He became still, his muscles taut. Opening his eyes, his gaze fell a thousand miles away, to where the Academy had stood. Where a boy that once wanted to explore the world and not shackle it had lived. He knew both were dead. Ice coursed through his body, spreading through his core faster than he could register. His pulse slowed, the roaring emotions he felt slowing as well. Darkness encased him, pulling him down, down, down: Locking him away, roaring, snarling, and clawing at him. A slow exhale escaped from between his dry lips, and as he stood, every movement was precise, a predatory grace. Flicking his gaze below him once more, instead of the dark beauty that he was met with earlier, the world around him was bleeding. Dark, black blood gushed from the mountainside, thickly caking the field and the Ruined City. Echoes of screams filled the air, and Adair was reminded of his bloodshed, of his control and power. “Do not disappoint us, our King.” The corners of his lips tugged upward as he whispered to the wind, “I won’t.”
Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.
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Thanks so much for hosting today 🙂