Monday, February 24, 2014

"The Shadow Soul (A Dance of Dragons #1)" by Kaitlyn Davis

The Shadow Soul
(A Dance of Dragons #1)
by Kaitlyn Davis

The Shadow Soul is the first book in the new A Dance of Dragons series by Kaitlyn Davis. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by YA Bound Book Tours.

A Game of Thrones meets Graceling in a new epic fantasy series by best-selling author Kaitlyn Davis.
Jinji has been haunted by the death of her twin brother for ten years. Now, on the dawn of her joining, the nightmare that claimed him has returned for her.
Prince Whylrhen is determined to prevent the past from repeating itself. His kingdom is expecting a new heir, and he will stop at nothing to keep the child safe.
Though they've never met, the two share a deep secret - magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Whylrhen can pull burning flames into his flesh. But neither of them knows what they are truly capable of until a chance encounter brings them together. For their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time - an age of myth that is about to be reborn ...

Book Video - Watch the cover come to life

When she neared the cage, Rhen grasped her arms, lifting her free of the rope and pulling her safely into the wooden basket. She panted for a moment, regained her depleted strength, and took in the view.
For miles and miles in every direction, a stark and sparkling blue.
She tried to stand, but the rocking of the ship was magnified with their height, and it seemed to tip almost sideways with every other breath. Her legs wobbled, and then she dropped back to the floor.
"Stay seated," Rhen said, pushing down just slightly on her shoulder when she tried to lift herself up for the second time. He sat too, sighing as he dangled his feet over the edge and leaned back into the railing. His large frame took up over half of the small space.
Their arms touched from shoulder to elbow, causing a heat to rise under her skin. Jinji grabbed her legs, pulling them into her chest and shifting her weight, careful not to touch his body anymore. It was too intimate, she realized, after spending so many hours locked in the same room as him. There had to be a distance between them, otherwise she might slip up, might forget that she was supposed to be a boy, that she was supposed to be lying. He might notice that though her face was that of a male, her body was not. The baggy clothes hid it well, but in these close quarters, she had to be careful.
No matter how many times he taunted her, Rhen had come to be a friend, and she would not mess that up, not yet.
"This is one of my favorite spots on the ship," he said, eyes still closed in relaxation, "though many wouldn’t say the same. It's considered a punishment to be put up here, because of all the movement, but I've always found it very peaceful, very liberating."
Feeling her stomach unsettle slowly, Jinji might have agreed with the others, but there was something oddly comforting in her mood and oddly settled too.
"This was where I came to escape the castle and my father and mostly my responsibilities. Even if I was only on the dock, still stuck in Rayfort, I seemed miles away on top of this ship."
He opened his eyes slowly. The wind rustled his red hair, forcing it to spill over his forehead. Jinji wondered if her own short hair was doing the same, without her braid to keep it still and steady. Just the other night she had borrowed Rhen's knife to cut it short again, not ready to stop her mourning period—not even close.
"Do you have a place like that?"
Jinji closed her eyes tight, fighting back the water gathering there.
The clearing.
The meadow.
It used to be her spot, but all she saw now was Leoa, tying her braid, pulling over her joining dress. Both of them giggling, completely ignorant to the cries of their people, to the children and the women, to the warriors, to her parents. Even to Maniuk, singled out by the shadow for his strength and his skill—used and discarded.
All she heard now was the blood-curdling scream that cracked her spirit in half, the pounding of her footsteps, the soft thud of a body as it fell to the ground.
"No," was all she said. No, she didn’t have a safe place like that, not anymore.
"It will get better," Rhen said. Jinji wouldn’t look at him, but instead focused on the far away horizon. "I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it will."
He took a deep breath, cracked his knuckles. Jinji almost heard the words waiting on his lips, could feel them press against his tongue wanting to come out. The air was static, electric from his pounding heart, his pulsing nerves.
And then it all stopped.
"I had a younger brother once," Rhen confessed, his words heavy with an emotion that was mirrored by Jinji's wounded soul. "He was barely a year old when he was murdered by the man my father trusted most in the world. And I could have stopped it, if I had only understood what—" His voice shook, wavered on an edge. "I found papers that held evidence the murder was going to take place, but I was too young to understand what they meant, too na├»ve to know what I had found. And for that, my brother paid the price." He turned, met her stare with eyes a deep dark green, like the forest at twilight. "I know what it means to lose someone, but I also know that though the pain will never fully fade, eventually you will be able to endure it."
Jinji didn’t know what to say, so she said nothing at all. Silence was the better option. Silence let the words sink in, let their truth ring, let her realize that Rhen had allowed her a peek at a place within himself that he didn’t show to everyone—that he did not even show to most people.
Jinji opened her mouth, aching to tell her own story, but her throat closed up, stealing the sound from her voice.
She trusted him, after all he had done for her, Jinji trusted Rhen. But trusting someone was one thing, and opening herself up to him, making herself vulnerable to be hurt again, that was something else entirely. Rhen might have been willing, but it was only because he didn’t know that in the end, he would just be wounded—by her lie if he ever found out the truth or by her leaving without a word of goodbye.
And Jinji couldn’t handle any more pain. 
"Thank you," she said quietly, instantly regretting it. Rhen blinked once, but once was all it took for his gaze to unglaze and his features to retreat, to harden. One blink was all it took for him to shut himself off again.

Praise for The Shadow Soul
"The writing is flawless. The story and plot line, and plot twists, had me captivated and enamored for the first words. I couldn’t put this book down for anything, and I absolutely cannot wait for book two. The world building is amazing. I feel like I can feel the spirits when Jin speaks of them. And I can feel the fire on my skin like Rhen. And the secondary characters are just as great as the main characters…It’s an amazing start to a new series that is going to have people of all ages wanting so much more." ~ Happy Tails and Tales
"I loved the characters. Jinji is an amazing girl of such strength. Reading about her sometimes brought tears to my eyes because I couldn’t help but love her from the beginning. And Rhen, even though I was suspecting him of treachery he didn’t fail to be surprising at every turn … I can’t wait to find out what happens next!" ~ Creating Serenity

Praise for Kaitlyn Davis
"Kaitlyn Davis writes some of the best action scenes I have come across in a young adult book; they are fast paced and so well delivered." ~ Reflections of a Bookworm
"I really enjoyed Ms Davis's writing, I was riveted throughout and was eager to see what would happen - there was drama, danger, action and romance that was wonderfully detailed and described." ~ Obsession with Books

Character Interview with Jinji
Please welcome Jinji, the female protagonist of The Shadow Soul who has come all the way from her fantastical world to speak with us today! Thank you so much for stopping by.
You’re welcome. It’s a relief actually.
A relief? Why is that?
Well, it’s Rhen. At first, I thought traveling with him would be the only solution, but now I’m not so sure. He’s getting too suspicious, asking too many questions. It’s like he knows I’m keeping a secret…well, secrets…
What secrets?
[Jinji looks around nervously. Her short black hair barely moves, but her eyes flick around the room, almost as though she fears we’re not alone. She leans in, whispers.]
He doesn’t know I’m a girl. He doesn’t know about my powers. He doesn’t know about the shadow. He doesn’t…
[She shakes her head, biting her lip and tucking her knees into her chest, curling into a tight ball. Nerves have clenched her body, have halted her midthought. A darkness seems to seep into her vision. A sadness removes the golden light from her eyes. I reach out my hand in comfort, but she retreats.]
Are you all right?
I just miss them. Miss it. Home. The trees. My family.
Why did you leave?
[The grief thickens, haunting her eyes, scrunching her forehead. She looks away, pausing, reading memories in the air. Suddenly she looks up, straight into my eyes with a hard look, a calculated stare.]
Against who? For what?
[She shakes her head, standing, walking away from me and looking at the door. She is small, but I sense strength and determination in her stance.]
I must leave. I’m sorry.
[But she is gone. Panic hangs heavy in the air behind her.]

Character Interview with Rhen
Please welcome Prince Whylrhen, the male protagonist of The Shadow Soul who has come all the way from his fantastical world to speak with us today! Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m honored to have royalty in my studio.
[He leans back casually, his large muscular frame making the chair seem small and fragile by comparison. Waving his hand through the air, he dismisses the nod to his stature. I can’t help but notice that his eyes don’t seem nearly as relaxed as he wants them to.]
Call me Rhen.
Okay, Rhen, what—
[He leans forward suddenly. A wide flirtatious smile spreads across his face.]
So you met Jin yesterday. Strange lad, don’t you think?
[I pause, knowing he is fishing for information. But yesterday, Jinji confessed that Rhen does not know her true gender so I remain silent. He tilts his head, intrigued by my silence. I know I must continue. Damn it if that smile does not make me want to spill…I swallow deeply.]
Yes, he seemed reserved, somewhat quiet and to himself.
[Rhen leans back, not quite satisfied with my response I can tell. The answer is circling his thoughts, and I watch him digest it, pulling it apart. His eyes meet mine, and in an instant I know he knows I’m hiding something. A smirk dances across his lip. A switch flicks and a mask seems to fall over his features, softening them.]
So, what would you like to know? I’m an open book. Royal life? Boring. Favorite hobby? Riding my horse. Do I sleep in the nude? Of course.
[I spit out the water I just swallowed. His green eyes seem to twinkle as I fight to regain control of my interview.]
I hear your eldest brother just had a child, a son.
Yes. I’m an uncle.
[Genuine happiness lights his face. The first true emotion I feel I’ve witness from this prince.]
What is his name?
In my homeland, a prince is given no title until his Naming Ceremony. So we will just have to wait and see.
[As he talks, his eyes narrow. Worry leaks into his expression.]
I should really be going.
[He stands, kisses the top of my hand and makes a swift exit. I forget to say thank you or goodbye, and instead fall back against my chair, exhausted from the brief conversation.]

About the Author
Kaitlyn Davis is the bestselling author of the Midnight Fire series, a young adult paranormal romance, and the A Dance of Dragons series, a young adult epic fantasy.
Kaitlyn graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Writing Seminars. She's been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to finally share her work with the world. She currently lives in New York City and dreams of having a puppy of her own.

Enter the shared giveaway for a chance to win one of two signed paperbacks of The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis (US only).