Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Lion's Pride by Natalie Crown

The Lion's Pride by Natalie Crown (The Semei Trilogy, #2)
Release Date: August 2nd, 2015
'She is the reason your friends are dead. She should pay the price for that betrayal.' Not long ago Kammy had led a simple existence, stuck on an island, with only her Gran and Jamie to care about. Now she knows she is half Semei and of royal blood, in possession of an item that could bring about a war that would destroy the world, and so the worlds within it. She cannot go back and, despite everything, she does not want to. But she is haunted by the man - the king - that shadows her. Bagor and his army wait. In three days he will march into Emire and he will take everything. Kammy and her friends have one hope. They must find Danorrah; a cursed city, lost to the memory of all. Bagor will hunt them, every step of the way, determined to claim the Key and to claim her. It is all well and good that Kammy does not want to go back to her old life, but she will need the blessing of the Mother if she is to elude Bagor and hang on to her new one.

Sooooo, technically the cover was revealed last week. Thus, the title of this post is a bit of a lie. But hey, I'm tired and unimaginative right now so it will have to do. Without further ado, it's COVER TIME.

Anyhow, I'm not going to harp on about my writing on this blog. Thanks to my co-bloggers for letting me post this at all. I like to think my stuff is relevant to this blog's interests though, as I'm always trying to be more progressive and inclusive with my work. 

Now - onto the main bulk of this post!

I have taken some inspiration from the Recaptains (don’t know the Recaptains? Shame on you. They save us every day!)
See, it’s been a long old while since TWC was released. You’ve probably forgotten a lot of it (note: I say this like you've read it), but.there are SO MANY books to read. Wouldn't it be nice to simply read a cheeky recap?
YOU ARE IN LUCK (kind of).
Sadly, I am very very rubbish at summarising. So, I’m splitting this recap into three parts. When all three have been posted, I shall make sure I put them all in one place for easy reference.
Note: Possibly not the most serious recap you shall ever read. Maybe, also the longest.

·        We're on the island of Daleswick, off the eastern coast of England, and a storm is rolling in as Kammy Helseth skims stones on the beach. On her way back home, Kammy bumps into Esme - who is a douchenozzle - and then her best friend Jamie - who's fabulous.
·        When Kammy gets home, the storm building up around her, we learn that she has SUPER STRANGE eyes that have assisted in her becoming a bit of a loner, and we meet her Gran; Irena.
·        Irena, like Jamie, is fabulous.
·        They talk about a subject that they have gone over many times before; Kammy's mother's death (Mary Helseth) and why the pair of them haven't left the island for the mainland yet.
·        Kammy mentions that Jamie's mother hates her, and Irena scoffs.
·        With Irena off at work, Kammy decides to be super odd and she goes for a run in the storm. She takes herself to 'the Mouth of the Forest'. A spot her mother used to love.
·        A squirrel, with a white stripe down its foreleg, runs into the familiar burrow and something strange starts to happen. The burrow is no longer a burrow, but a cave. And Kammy is no longer sitting staring at it, she's stepping inside.
·        Inexplicably, there is a really long and really narrow path inside what Kammy was previously sure was little but a rabbit's nap spot.
·        Inexplicably, Kammy follows the path.
·        Eventually, she steps back out into the forest. But it's day time, and it's warm, and there's a really strange looking stone that she picks up.
·        A woman appears, who she will later learn is named Ria. The woman is strange and terrifying, and quickly shifts to genuinely threatening. Kammy is eyeing up her escape route, when she hears a man tell her to run. 'Something' leaps from the trees towards the woman, but Kammy is already running from the fight.
·        Many cuts and bruises later, Kammy is back through the tunnel, back through her forest, and back in her house.
·        So is the pretty stone, which she did not realise she had dropped in her pocket.
·        The next day, Jamie pops in to see her at work and can instantly tell that there is something wrong. He offers to walk her home and Kammy, ever honest with him, tells him what happened.
·        Jamie is concerned and confused, but supportive. That's because Jamie is awesome, and I brook no arguments on this subject.
·        As Kammy nears her home, she starts to get that horrible tingly feeling that something is very wrong - that she is being watched. A bird shoots from the grass into her face. A bird. Kammy feels pretty dumb at this point, lying on her back in the mud.
·        Jamie helps her inside, but gets a call from his mum that he needs to get home. He's clearly torn, but Kammy shoos him off and heads upstairs for a nap.
·        This is a bad idea. Because she is promptly abducted, taking a hefty blow to the skull bone..
·        Kammy wakes up feeling like shit, if I'm being honest, and in a strange white room. After lots of freaking out, the door opens. The freaking out intensifies when two people wearing ACTUAL FREAKING ARMOUR come in. They ignore her questions and tell her to follow them.
·        They lead her to a small room, about half of it filled by the sheer bulk of one man - Dorren. To Kammy's absolute delight Ria is there as well.
·        The pair of them start talking about Gate's and Key's and Kammy has no idea what is going on. She stumbles from shocked silence, to babbling protests of innocence. Ria points out that 'he' would want to see her, but Dorren disagrees. Lovely chap that Dorren is, he decides they should just execute her and be done.
·        Faced with DYING Kammy tries to make a break for it, but that's basically impossible. She ends up being carted back to her cell and they slam the door in her face. She quickly realises there is nothing she can do.
·        A mouse appears in her cell, and changes into a young man.
·        Kammy screams. I can't say that I blame her.
·        Mouse man quickly claps a hand over her mouth, which is probably extra terrifying - but soon enough he makes it clear that he isn't going to hurt her and once she's calmed down, they take a seat in her cell and have a 'get to know you session'.
·        Kammy is aware that she could be executed at any moment, but what can you do?
·        Mouse man is Eric, by the way. Eric is Semei, part of the shape shifting race that lives in a layer of the Earth beneath the surface - which is where Kammy is. This blows Kammy's mind.
·         Eric is also a nice guy, but not a Nice Guy. At least I really, really hope so. If he's a Nice Guy then I need somebody to take writing away from me forever.
·        Anyway, Eric can't work out why Ria and Dorren have Kammy or why they want her dead, but he promises to help her...right after he leaves her cell to do the thing he actually came to do.
·        Alone again, Kammy is sceptical that Eric will return.
·        But he does! With a second mouse in tow, and this mouth turns out to be Jadanim Ollarion. Saving Jad was Eric's actual purpose. Jad is much less friendly than Eric, and is kind of serious Kammy finds herself gravitating towards Eric (no, don't love triangle here - is what I felt like writing in the text), but ultimately she doesn't really care who gets her away from DEATH BY EXECUTION as long as they do.
·        Eric has come orange putty that's actually an explosive (yes) and he blows a hole in the wall at the same time that Jad shifts into a pretty spectacular looking eagle. Eric all but throws Kammy onto Jad's back and the next thing she knows she has a handful of feathers and they are plummeting out into the sky.
·        The guards are on them though. Eric shoots off to handle one, but the other comes at Jad and Kammy - and it's smaller and faster than Jad's regal beast of burden. So, it's on Kammy to fight back and fight back she does. Cut and battered and petrified of the fact that she is really high up on the back of the eagle, she manages to fight off the second guard and soon Kammy and her two new 'friends' are sweeping away from the beautiful city of Alashdial, AND THE GIANT CRYSTAL,  to land in the distant forest.
·        Eric continues to be lovely, Jad continues to be very serious. Kammy continues to be confused and frightened, but she also feels pretty proud of herself.
·        Eric tells her to follow them back to their village so they can rest up, and promises they will get her home soon.
·        Along the way, a doe bursts out of the trees and shifts on her way into flinging her arms around Jad's neck. This is Tayah, the final third of Jad and Eric. She is very relieved to see that Jad is safe. She is less excited when she spots Kammy. Note: Tayah hates humans.
·        Kammy follows the friends, feeling more and more miserable, and also more and more mildly concussed. But soon enough they reach Littlebrook. The others rush off to be welcomed home like heroes, while Kammy lingers at the edge of the village.
·        An older woman, Fii, notices her and comes to greet her - just as Kammy passes out.
·        Kammy wakes up inside, on a bed, feeling a hell of a lot better. Eventually, a little boy appears in her room. This is Boo, Tayah's little brother and he's pretty cute. Eric follows and shoos him off, before sitting down next to Kammy.
·        It's story time. Kammy has questions, and finally a little down time to ask them. The results of this conversation can be summed up as follows.
·        Eric is gay. Kammy is not, and likes dark haired - blue eyed people. (Now, I'm not saying anything...but just to point out...Jad has dark hair and blue eyes. WHAT.)
·        Jad is of royal blood and is descended from one of the first five lines of the Semei. This means he is important, and is also possibly part of the reason he is so serious.
·        Jad is essentially an outlaw, because his uncle massacred the old council (including his own father, Jad's grandfather) and now calls himself King of Alashdial). Jad and his friends are on a mission to stop his uncle.
·        His uncle's name is Bagor. Bagor gets his own line, just cause.
·        It's at about this point that Fii enters the room to check on Kammy, with another man named Welm. Welm instantly makes Kammy uncomfortable.
·        Fii has some questions of her own, about this Key that Ria and Dorren asked her about. It's of interest to Fii and Jad and co. because it might be something they can use against Bagor. But Kammy really doesn't have any answers.
·        Fii accepts that, and assures Kammy they'll get her home later that day. Everybody files out, apart from Welm who offers Kammy a hot drink and apologises for what has happened to her. Kammy has clearly never been warned not to accept drinks from strangers.
·        She's standing at the window, watching Jad and wondering at the fact that he's ROYALTY, when the drink kicks in. She just about makes it back to the bed before she passes out again.
·        Kammy wakes up in her own bed, and is PUMPED about it. I mean, she's pretty pissed that Welm drugged her...but at least she's home.
·        But then she realises that her Gran isn't home. She tries not to worry, as there could be any number of perfectly good reasons for this, but she has that creeping sense of SOMETHING AIN'T RIGHT. So, despite the early hour she runs down to the village and the pub where she and her Gran both work.
·        Harry, her boss and genuine good soul, opens the door and is delighted to see her. He tells her that her Gran isn't there (and why would she be, it's like 7am?) and then goes on to tell her off for scaring everybody so much. Because she's been missing, and the timing does not match up. Worse than all that, Jamie is missing too.
·        Harry tells Kammy to wait downstairs, but Kammy is suddenly 100% sure of what has happened to her best friend. Waiting won't help. She needs to go back to the Mouth.
·        On her way through the village she bumps into Esme, who is actually pleased to see her until she learns that Jamie is still missing. At which point she gets very upset and reverts back to her 'be mean to Kammy' ways.
·        But then a rather large silver wolf, with a white scar on its left foreleg appears and Esme runs off screaming. Kammy did not think she would ever be so relieved to see Jad.
·        She follows his wolf from the village, expecting to head straight for the trees, but he leads her back to her house and shifts back, demanding the Key.
·        Kammy has no clue what he's talking about, but Jad tells her he can sense it...something of his world. And it's then that the pieces fall into place for Kammy. The stone from the forest!
·        When Jad sees it, he seems disappointed...but he agrees that it must be it and he tells Kammy to come with him or she will die.
·        She asks about Jamie and Jad confirms that Ria has him.
·        For Jamie's sake, Kammy climbs aboard Jad's wolf form and heads back through to the Semei world once more.
·        An ambush lies in wait, but Jad is ready for it. He barrels through, charging off into the forest and not slowing for a long, long while. When he does, Kammy notices the doe and the fox running with them. All three Semei shift back, and Kammy finds herself with the trio of friends again. All three of them look pretty horrified and she demands to know why.
·        Jad and Eric wring their hands and stare at the ground.
·        Tayah rather abruptly informs Kammy that Jamie is dead.

                     To be continued...    (it's quicker than reading the whole book again, I guess?)

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