The Natural Order by R.J. Vickers
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: March 14, 2015
Amazon ♥ B & N
Tristan Fairholm is one of 15 juvenile delinquents selected to learn magic…for a purpose that is kept secret from them.
When they at last learn that the magic they have harvested causes death and ruin in a bid to keep the world from collapse, they must make a choice: do they fight it? Or do they use it?
If you loved Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, you won’t want to miss this new YA fantasy!
It came as a surprise when Brikkens announced that he would be giving everyone a chance to try magic. At the unexpected announcement, Tristan lifted his head from the desk and blinked up at Brikkens, whose bulk was spilling over the arms of his sturdy chair.
“Ah, Mr. Fairholm,” Brikkens said happily. Pushing his glasses farther up his stubby nose, he leaned forward and peered at Tristan.
“Yeah?” Tristan said sleepily. He sat up straighter, smoothing his hair over his face.
“Brinley Alldusk tells me that you’re rather good at detecting auras. Is this true?”
“Well, come forward,” Brikkens urged. “You will be the first to attempt a rudimentary spell, because out of everyone here, you are the most likely to succeed.”
Tristan was sure that Amber knew more than him, though he decided not to correct Brikkens. Instead he rose and crossed the room to stand behind the professor. No one was napping now—Leila eyed Tristan with doubtful curiosity, while Zeke sat forward in his chair and smirked. Brikkens dug into a pocket of the hideous maroon vest he always wore.
Then he grabbed Tristan by the wrist and pressed one of the golden marbles into his hand. Tristan looked in surprise at the marble, cold and metallic against his palm; he had expected something a little more unusual, given that it was spun from pure magic.
“Now what?” Tristan said. “How am I supposed to use it?” He tried not to look around the room—half of the students wanted him to fail spectacularly, while the others anticipated no better.
Brikkens cleared his throat. “Well, the key to magic is concentration. To manipulate the power of this orb, you must isolate a single thought from within the complexity of your mind, and use this command to direct the magic. Allow any unnecessary thoughts to intrude, and the spell will be broken—hence, the magic will drain away with no results. Or, if you’re unlucky, the spell could go awry.”
Swallowing, Tristan closed his hand around the icy marble.
“Well, now, let’s see what you can do,” Brikkens said enthusiastically. “The amount of magic stored in a single orb isn’t enough to do any real harm, so give us a show, my boy!”
That was it? Had the professor given better instructions the week before, when Tristan had been dozing off? Why hadn’t he paid better attention?
Tristan took a steadying breath and looked around the room, hoping for inspiration. The curving walls shone white and empty, as blank as his thoughts, but as he turned his gaze to the ceiling, he remembered their first day of class. Brikkens had changed the color of the domed ceiling…but first, Eli had suggested he grow a tree.
Cradling the marble in the palm of his right hand, Tristan dug in his pockets with his left. After a moment he unearthed a handful of debris from botany; mixed into the dirt and pebbles were a few likely-looking seeds. He dropped the whole handful onto the clean marble floor behind his back.
Now what? The students were beginning to lose interest. When Brikkens had done his magic show, he’d blown on the marbles before dropping them, so Tristan did the same, just to be safe. Then he closed his eyes and tried to marshal his thoughts.
R.J. Vickers grew up in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, earned a BA in Writing and Publishing at Emerson College, and was shortly thereafter whisked off to New Zealand by her Kiwi partner.
She now lives in Christchurch with her fiance, Daniel, where she works as a part-time chef. When she's not writing, she loves hiking and adventuring throughout New Zealand.
R.J. Vickers is the author of The Natural Order, the first book in a new young adult fantasy series. She swears by NaNoWriMo, and has written seven short novels during the typing frenzy that is November.