Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Ficiton, Paranormal
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Almost a hundred years ago, the Enchanters defeated the Lord of the Underworld in one of the most fearsome wars the world had ever seen. The public thinks that this victory means the people are safe. But they're wrong. The supernatural beasts the Lord unleashed remain on the earth, multiplying and ravaging what's left of civilization.
As long as these monsters exist, mankind will be in danger. And though the government, ruled by the magic-wielding Enchanters, seeks to protect their people, they are too few in number. They need the Defenders - a special class of non-magical humans - to fight the monsters. The Defenders are an elite force, and mankind's only hope against the horrors that live beyond their gates.
Fourteen-year-old Aurelia ""the Firedragon"" Sun has been training since she could walk to become a Defender, and her extraordinary combat skills have earned the attention of the powerful government. In fact, she's been tapped to represent her nation in an international monster-fighting competition, which pits champions from across the globe against creatures of the Underworld in a violent spectacle. If she wins, she will become a full-fledged member of the Defender force.
But as Aurelia moves deeper into the competition, she realizes that all is not as it appears. There's something sinister behind the competition, something that could change the way she sees everything and the Enchanters, it seems, are not the heroes she thought. Aurelia begins to ask questions. But before she can discover the truth, she is pitted against the most dangerous monster in the competition - one that will take her life if it can.
AURELIA STEPPED INTO THE LIGHT. Though she’d fought hundreds of vicious supernatural beasts during her two years at the Academy of Supernatural Defense, she’d never faced stakes this high before.
The judges of the International Challenge, the first worldwide monster-fighting competition ever, stared down at her from one of the arena’s boxes. If she impressed them, they would let her enter the contest. And if she made it past their screening, and then through the qualifying round, and ultimately took the prize … her life would never be the same. She’d have the chance to do something much, much bigger than just taking home a trophy. She could change the world.
Suddenly, a man’s voice boomed out from above. “Aurelia Sun. Age: Fourteen. Classification: Norm. Nation: Triumvirate of North America.”
Aurelia inhaled sharply and walked forward, trying to keep herself from jittering with excitement. Her shoes, light and flexible, barely made a sound against the arena’s stone floor, but even if she’d been tromping around in heavy boots, she didn’t think she would have been able to hear her own footsteps. The eager pounding of her heart was far too loud. This was her shot at everything she’d ever wanted. All her life, she’d been told that those with magic – Enchanters – were superior to those without – Norms, like her. Now, finally, she had the chance to prove everyone wrong.
Enchanters ruled the Triumvirate, or what was left of the United States and its surrounding nations. They had always done whatever they could to keep their own kind separate from everyone else, and Norms got the short end of the stick. Aurelia had lost count of how many times she’d been reminded that this division was fair, because the Enchanters – specifically, an elite class known as Sentinels – kept the people safe from the monsters prowling the areas outside of the protected cities.
She knew the history as well as anyone. Almost a hundred years earlier, the Lord of the Underworld and his hordes of supernatural beasts had escaped their fiery dimension and overrun the entire earth. The Sentinels had managed to destroy the Lord, but the monsters had remained. Now, Enchanters around the world were engaged in a never-ending war against the creatures. If they lost that war, the monsters would invade the cities, and consume every last human being.
But Enchanters were a small minority of the human population, and there weren’t enough of them to fight the monsters. Their solution: A special Defender class of Norms – non-magical humans trained to fight the supernatural. One day, Aurelia would join their ranks. She’d been preparing for it her whole life, dreaming of the day when she could finally fulfill that destiny. Thanks to the International Challenge, that day could be closer than she’d thought. If she won, she’d automatically graduate from the Academy and be granted full-fledged Defender status. But more importantly, the Challenge featured both magical and non-magical contestants. Which meant that if she won, she would show the world that a Norm could beat an Enchanter, and that someone who’d been born without magic could be better than someone born with it.
She walked toward the center of the arena, the red and gold highlights that streaked her black hair glinting at the edge of her vision. Someone had laid out a table there, and covered it with weapons. Knives, pistols, bows. A pair of light swords with silver blades.
Aurelia smiled at the two gleaming weapons. My favorites.
Mary Fan lives in New Jersey, where she is currently working in financial marketing. She has also resided in North Carolina, Hong Kong, and Beijing, China.
She has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy.
Mary has a B.A. in Music, specializing in composition, from Princeton University and enjoys writing songs as much as writing stories.
She also enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things--she'll try almost anything once.