Titles: Evermarked, DeathMarked, ShadowMarked. FateMarked is scheduled for release February 2021.
Author: AJ Eversley
Genre: YA; Sci-Fi
Marked. Hidden. Trained. But the terror awaiting is greater than any of them can imagine.
Sienna has spent her entire life inside the DEZ, a glorified orphanage for unwanted Marked kids. Finally, she’s only months away from graduation. For over a year she’s worked hard to prepare for life outside the DEZ, but being the arena’s champion isn’t always an easy task…even for the notorious Blaze. Fighting in the Underground isn’t about the thrill or the glory, though Sienna has achieved both, it’s about the money—and a way out.
When an explosion rocks the city of Cytos, the Marked kids find themselves at the center of a brewing war. Desperation brings Sienna into the arena one last time, only her opponent, the Wraith, won’t be so easy to defeat. And for Sienna, failure is not an option.
Jayla is a Watcher. She’s been tasked with keeping her city safe from an enemy the citizens don’t even know exists. For over 150 years the Watchers have kept them safe, but a darkness has awoken, and even the shadows have gone quiet in fear.
When Jayla fails to stop the explosion at the Genetics Lab, she and her team vow to find those responsible. Soon they discover the Marked kids are at the center of it all. To figure out what’s going on, Jayla will have to step back into the arena and become something she thought she’d tried to forget. She must become the Wraith, even if only for a night, to acquire an ally and a way into the DEZ. But can she do it without losing herself again?
Peace has always been the goal, and they’ve succeeded for a long time, but at what cost? How long can a deadly secret be hidden from the world? This isn’t a fight for glory and riches…this is a battle of survival.
Purchase Link: https: geni.us/evermarked
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54105386-evermarked
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Review: 5 Stars. “Evermarked is a compelling dystopian fantasy I couldn’t put down. The characters (both main and minor) are so well-written with each having their own backstory, I connected with them on various levels. Some I hated on sight and some I adored. I kept rooting for both Sienna and Jayla as they had their own agendas and motivations. The plot moves at a fast pace without being too complicated. At the center of the plot beats the heart of a coming of age story. Fans of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series will love this book and series. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger but it sets it up for the next in the series. Highly recommend!”
Chapter One: Sienna
“Blaze, Blaze, Blaze,” the crowd chanted.
My heart thumped hard against my chest in anticipation, but any fear I once had disappeared the moment I stepped in the arena. This was what I was good at, what I was made for. Maybe not intentionally, but if I had been given a gift—an advantage—who was I not to use it?
The arena silenced as the Maestro stepped forward. He tapped once on his mic before speaking. “Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow humans and esteemed Carbons. I welcome you all on this monumental occasion as we watch our Champion, Blaze, take on The Beast.”
The crowd went wild, cheers and boos and screams surrounding me, but my focus narrowed on The Beast. An apt nickname, if it weren’t so obvious. She looked more like a beast than a woman—that was clear enough—but I would expect nothing less from these vagabonds who came here every weekend to bet on the fights.
A few hours ago when I’d entered this place, I wasn’t thinking about my opponent or how large the payout might be tonight. The only thought running through my mind was simple—don’t lose. It was the same thought I had each time I entered the ring. And it was the fear of failure that had made me their champion.
This was the world I lived in, where a seventeen-year-old girl prepared to fight. For sport, not war or conflict. For fun.
I squeezed and flexed my hands, zoning in on my opponent. The black tape covering my knuckles and wrist trailed up my forearm until it covered the crisp, black marks stained across my pale skin just below my elbow. My first identifiers.
The black mask across my eyes was secured at the back of my head under the tightly braided hair falling down the middle of my back. The mask hid my second identifier from view—my eyes. Two narrow slits were all I needed to assess my opponent, to pick out potential strengths and weaknesses.
The Beast stood across the cage, rotating her wrists and cracking her neck, as she sneered down on me. She was nearly a foot taller and probably double my weight—all muscle—but I wasn’t worried. They didn’t pay me to worry. They paid me to win.
My eyes closed, and the Maestro’s voice faded. The roaring beat of the music washed out as my focus centered on my breaths—deep, slow, intentional. A calm swept through me.
“Blaze, Blaze, Blaze,” the crowd continued, referring to another of my identifiers, the one I let them see. They hadn’t given me the name for a fire burning inside me, or because I could create flames with the flick of my wrist like some Carbons once could.
No, I was human.