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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #7: The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday!  Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly featured hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight the not yet released books that I wish were in my hot little hands right now.

This week , like half of the rest of the world, I am breathlessly awaiting book 6 of the Bloodlines series, The Ruby Circle.  Due out on 10th February 2015, it is the final book in the Bloodlines series and I cannot wait to see what happens to Sydney, Adrian, Jill and all my other favourite characters.  This has been an amazine series to read and I cannot wait to get my hands on the conclusion :-)
 
You can see the rest of the books in the series here and see my previous review of




The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.



 check out the good reads link
Publication Date: 10 February, 2014
Pre-Order:Book Depository | Amazon  | Bookworld


What book are you 'waiting on' this week?


Monday, 29 December 2014

Teaser Tuesday #79: Ravencliffe (Blythewood #2) by Carol Goodman




Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read

2. Open to a random page

3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too muchaway! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My current read is Ravencliffe (Blythewood #2) by Carol Goodman  and my three lines are from location 35 of 657

"Because..." Because she'd seen what I was and hadn't revealed my secret? She might just be manipulating me. But there was something else.





Avaline Hall is no ordinary girl.

She’s a student at Blythewood Academy, an elite boarding school that trains young women to defend human society from the shadowy forces that live among us. After the devastating events of her first year at Blythewood, Ava is eager to reunite with her friends—and with Raven, the compelling but elusive winged boy who makes her pulse race. She soon discovers, though, that the sinister Judicus van Drood hasn’t finished wreaking havoc on Blythewood—and wants to use Ava and her classmates to attack a much bigger target.

Ava’s the only one with any hope of stopping van Drood. But to scuttle his plans, she must reveal her deepest secret to everyone at Blythewood. What’s she willing to sacrifice to do what’s right—her school? Her love? Or her life?
add to good reads

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Review: Blythewood by Carol Goodman

Title: Blythewood (Blythewood #1)
Author: Carol Goodman
Published: 21 October 2103 by Speak
Source:  Booktopia
Reviewed: Sapphired Dragon
Rating: **** 1/2

My Review:
I have been eyeing off this title for a while and I am so glad I finally took the plunge and bought this recently as a Christmas present to myself as this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a while.

Set in New York in the early 20th century, this book has that old style, comfortable feel right from the beginning of a world on the cusp of progress with the suffragette movement and unionism starting to take shape.Ms Goodman places us squarely in this time zone through her writing which brings the era to life around us along with the colourful characters to back it up

We first meet main character Avaline "Ava" Hall, shortly after her mother's death on her way to work in the shirtwaist factory on the day of the famous shirtwaist factory fire and Ms Goodman uses actual historical events seamlessly entwined with fiction to immediately show us a glimpse of what Ava is up against.

After surviving both the fire and a brief stay in a mental asylum, Ava finds herself at Blythewood Academy, Elite School for Girls and her mother's Alma Mater. Here she is introduced to a whole new world, full of good, evil, mystery and magic and many many more questions about who she is,and what happened to her mother.

I love that this is not your run of the mill standard, less fortunate soul goes to elite boarding school and fights to fit in against the odds. This is also about a character finding herself and her purpose and that not everything is is black and white or as it may seem. The characters around her are just as well written and come to life under Ms Goodman's pen.

Ms goodman weaves a dark, powerful tale that you won't want to put down whether you predict what might be coming or cannot guess, either way this story will draw you into its spell and leave you breathless until the end. I loved it so much, I immediately bought the second book, Ravencliffe on finishing the last page and ravencliffe sneak peak.

I definitely recommend this story to anyone who loves reading brilliantly stories with dark magic, strong heroines and turn of the century grace.
 
I give this novel 4 1/2 stars.

Sapphired Dragon xx

About The Book:





After narrowly escaping death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, seventeen-year-old Avaline Hall is sent to Blythewood Academy, the elite girls’ boarding school in New York’s Hudson Valley that her mother attended years before. Ava hopes to solve the mystery of her mother’s death and its connection to the students who keep disappearing from Blythewood. But the school is not all that it appears . . . and neither is the handsome young man who saved Ava from the fire. What’s the meaning of the extraordinary powers Ava possesses? Who’s good and who’s evil? And who has the right to make that distinction?



Saturday, 27 December 2014

Stacking the Shelves: The Christmas Edition




Welcome to Stacking The Shelves: The Christmas Edition! Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga Reviews and is a meme to share those books, both print and e-book, that have been added to your shelves in the last week/s.

Hope everyone has been having a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday season! This week's edition is a combination of the latest review books I have received combined with Christmas presents I have received.  This is has been a great Christmas for getting books both review and christmas presents both in print an e-book format and my already overflowing TBR pile has just had an extraordinarily hefty addition to it :-)  Still I now have a lot of awesome books to look forward to reading in the next 12 months :-)


Ebooks For Review (via Netgalley)



Mind Games by Teri Terry


Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late?

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit. But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer.

The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing.





The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski


S 

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.




Impulse (Submerged Sun #2) by Vanessa Garden
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

When Miranda Sun returns to Marin on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, this time of her own free will, she quickly learns that her worst fears have been realised. The glittering underwater city is not as she had left it, nor too is Marko, the young king who has dominated her thoughts and heart for the last twelve months since leaving Marin.
Miranda, however, has not made the journey to Marin alone, and now must contend with not only Marko’s evil brother Damir but more surprisingly her sister Lauren who has an agenda of her own. Marko’s power begins to wane and with cracks beginning to show in the domed Utopian city, and veiled danger lurking everywhere, she quickly learns that in this dazzling city full of beautiful people she can trust no-one but herself.
If Miranda wants to survive, she must decide between the hardened sensibilities in her head and the hungers of her heart. Will her decision cause more heartache or can she help to save Marko’s throne?





Ebooks For Review (via Edelweiss)



Extremely excited to receive this book to review.  This is probably one of my favourite series from one of my favourite authors so I was so ecstatic when I was approved for this and cannot wait to see how this series finishes! :-)



Vision in Silver (The Other #3) by Anne Bishop


The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…



I loved Joy Preble's Dreaming Anastasia series so I am sure I am going to like her latest book just as much.

Finding Paris by Joy Preble




A page-turning, evocative novel for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and SPEAK, about a girl who must follow a trail of mysterious clues to discover what happened to her sister.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love.

But Leo isn’t going anywhere yet… until Paris ditches her at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared?

When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is a not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold tightly.




Crimson Bound by Rosamunde Hodge
Goodreads | Book Depository

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.
(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)



Transcendent (Starling #3) by Lesley Livingston
Goodreads | Book Depository

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.
LOVE CONQUERS
On a storm-swept terrace high above the streets of Manhattan, Mason Starling holds the fate of the world in her hands as her beloved Fennrys lies bleeding at her feet, his life hanging in the balance. The ancient Norse prophecy of Ragnarok stands poised on the knife edge of fulfillment. Mason’s transformation into a Valkyrie—a chooser of the slain and the one who will ultimately bring about the end of the world—is complete. Still, she remains determined to thwart her father’s apocalyptic desires. Whatever is to come, it won’t happen because of what the prophecy foretold, or what Gunnar Starling has planned, or what the fates have already decided. What happens next will be up to Mason and the Fennrys Wolf. The world had better hope they haven’t reached the limits of what their souls and swords can survive.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, and set in the same universe as Lesley Livingston’s much-loved WONDROUS STRANGE trilogy, with roots in Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, and Celtic myths and legends, this thrilling conclusion to the acclaimed Starling trilogy is filled to the hilt with sweeping adventure and soaring romance.





Christmas Presents (Print Books):


This year I participated in Librarything's Santa Thing. This was basically an online secret Santa which involved me nominating and putting in a certain cash amounts of books I wanted to receive.  My user name and nominated book store along with my librarything books lists were given to the person nominated as my Secret Santa and I received the details of some body else and using the wishlist, book list and description of what kind of books we liked reading, books up to the amount we had nominated were chosen for us and then Library thing put in the orders to our respective book stores.  The end result was that for the four days leading up to Christmas I was receiving mystery book parcels in the mail which was awesome fun.  Berlinbibliophile was nominated as my Secret Santa and there were some great picks made as you can see below

The top book is one I have wanted for a while now and actually received from my dad for Christmas.






Trial by Fire (World Walker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini


Good omens  by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch

Waistcoats and Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) by Derek Landy




Christmas Presents (Ebooks)

Technically i purchased  this next group of books but as I did it with a combination of Itunes vouchers from my brother and my partner, I consider them all Christmas presents.  I may have gotten a wee bit carried away with the vouchers but they are all titles I have been looking at reading for a while now.


Isla and the Happily Ever AfterI
Cinder 
The Young Elites
Breaking the Rules
Half Bad
These Broken Stars















Isla and the happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3 by Stephanie Perkins
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Breaking The Rules (pushing the Limits #1.5)  by Katie McGarry
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Half Bad  (Half Bad Trilogy#1) by Sally Green
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
These broken Stars (Starbound #1)  by Amie Kaufman
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon












Purchased:

I also bought myself a present which arrived about 5 days before Christmas, again that I had been looking at for a while.  I am currently about three quarters of the way through it and currently I am really enjoying it.  Keep an eye for a review in the near future






Blythewood (Blythewood #1) by Carol GoodmanGoodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Welcome to Blythewood.
At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.
But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.
Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.








So what did you add to your shelves this week?








Monday, 22 December 2014

Teaser Tuesday #78: Blythewood by Carol Goodman




Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read

2. Open to a random page

3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too muchaway! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

4. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My current read is Blythewood (Blythewood #1) by Carol Goodman  and my three lines are from Page 372

Because he's safer there than in the woods, I told myself, pausing on the fourth-floor landing to look out at the frozen woods.









Welcome to Blythewood.

At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.
add to good reads

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Blog Tour Stop & Giveaway: Review of MIA: Missing in Atman (Atman City #2) by Michelle E. Reed @chapterxchapter @Michelle_E_Reed @month9books



Welcome to day's stop on the MIA: Missing in Atman (Atman City #2) by Michelle E Reed Blog Tour presented by Month9Books and hosted by Chapter by Chapter.  Today's stop is a review as well as a chance to enter the great giveaway that is being run throughout this tour.


Wow what an awesome next instalment to a series!
I first heard of this series when I did a cover reveal for this book a few months ago and right away I knew that this and the series first book was something I wanted to read.

What drew me to this series was the novel premise which I had not really come across before in this way. Desiree (Dez) Donnelly has died and now she is in a limbo like world where she needs to work to let go of her old life and move on. There are rules and regulations and schedules to follow for Dez to accomplish this task and the way Ms Reed has built this world is both fascinating and complete. I loved learning more about its intricacies and facets as we follow Dez who is adjusting to cope with everything that has happened to her and this instalment we get to learn a lot more about the workings of Atman City and how it is run.

In this instalment, Dez as started to adjust somewhat to her afterlife however after a chance glimpse of something in her advisor, Crosby’s, diary is enough to throw her new found composure off the rails again and the consequences of where this then takes her makes a compelling reading that I couldn’t put down.

Whilst I often found Dez a little bit frustrating as she seemed to constantly make life more and more difficult for herself, I found the story Ms Reed wove to be very compelling and her characters diverse and interesting. Best of all, whilst I some inkling of a few things that might happen, generally I had no clue what to expect or where the story was going to go and this made the ride even more enjoyable. I enjoyed the way Ms Reed wrote the relationships between Dez and the other people in her life such as Charlie and Bobby and Crosby and I felt that these relationships definitely added much to the story at large.

If you a looking for a story that is a little different from anything you have read lately yet can keep you hooked until the end, this is most definitely the story, and indeed the series for you, however be warned…where this instalment finishes will leaving you hankering for what comes next. I hope we don’t have to wait too long !


I give this story 3 1/2 stars!

SapphiredDragon xx



About MIA: Missing in Atman (Atman City #2)

Title: Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman
Publication date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Michelle E. Reed





Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. Confusion over her feelings for Charlie, residual resentment over losing Hannah, and a continuous stream of unwanted assignments leave Dez restless and argumentative.

In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life.

It begins as all their adventures do, but as light falls into darkness, a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers.

In M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, the second book in the Atman City series, Michelle E. Reed continues the story of Dez Donnelly, pushing her to her limits and surprising readers at every twist and turn of the vast world that is Atman.

Death was only the beginning.
 





ABOUT MICHELLE E REED:





Michelle was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.


Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook Goodreads



The Giveaway


   Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of  Life AD 2: M.I.A.: Missing in Atman by Michelle E. Reed (INT) Winner will be drawn January 16, 2015





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 18 December 2014

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B-Friday-Reveal
Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

presented by Month9Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
I Heart Robot
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
add to goodreads
Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Excerpt

Tyri

If today were a song, it'd be a dirge in b-flat minor. The androids cluster around the coffin, their false eyes brimming with mimetic tears. They were made to protect and serve their human masters, to entertain and care for us. Now, just one generation later, we toss them in the trash like nothing more than broken toasters.
The androids huddle in a semicircle, four adults and a child droid with synthetic curls. They all look so human; their grief real even if their tears aren't. The two male-droids are even good looking in that chiseled, adboard model kind of way. They're a little too perfect. With their machine strength, they lower the cardboard box into the dirt and the child droid begins to sing. His exquisite voice shatters like crystal in my ears, heartbreaking.
Asrid and I shouldn't be here—the only two humans amongst the machines—but I loved Nana. I loved her before I knew better than to feel anything for a robot. It doesn't matter how attached you get. A robot can never love you back, regardless of how human their advanced AI might make them seem.
“Why're they burying it anyway?” Asrid mutters beside me. My friend doesn't wear black to the funeral, refusing to acknowledge the passing of my nanamaton, an android that always seemed more like a mom and less like an automated child-minder.
“Should be sending it to the scrap heap. Isn't this against regulation?” Asrid's face scrunches up in a frown, marring her impeccable makeup. She’s a peacock amongst ravens, and I’m a scruffy crow.
“Nana was like a mother to me. I'll miss her.” Tears prick the corners of my eyes as the coffin disappears into the earth, and the droid keens a eulogy.
“I know you will, T.” Asrid gives me a one-armed hug.
Svartkyrka Cemetery is losing the battle to weeds. Human tombstones from back when there was real estate for corpses lie in crumbling ruin covered in pigeon poop. No one gets buried anymore—there's no space and, anyway, it's unsanitary.
“Can we go now?” Asrid hops between feet to fight off the chill. Autumn has shuffled closer to winter, the copper and russet leaves crunching beneath our shoes. The leaves look like scabs, a carpet of dried blood spilling into the open earth. Fitting for my nanamaton's funeral, but robots can’t bleed.
“Sure, we can go.”
Asrid wends her way toward the parking lot as I approach the grave. Nana loved yellow anemones, said they were like sunshine on a stick.
“Hope there’s sunshine where you are now, Nana.” I drop a single flower into the ground and wipe away the tear snailing down my cheek. Why Nana chose to permanently shut down and scramble her acuitron brain, I can only guess. Perhaps living in a world controlled by groups like the People Against Robot Autonomy, PARA for short, became too much for her.
“Sorry for your loss,” the child droid says in a tinkling voice.
“Thank you for letting me know,” I say.
“She would've wanted you to be here.” The other nanamaton, gray haired and huddled in a trench coat, doesn't meet my gaze.
I stuff my mitten-covered hands into the pockets of my jacket and hunch my shoulders against the chill. You'd think the universe might have had the courtesy to rain given the sullen occasion, but the sun perches in an acid blue sky.
“Tyri, you coming?” Asrid shouts from the gate, remembering too late that we're supposed to be stealthy. Government regulation stipulates cremation for humans and scrap heaps for robots. If the authorities discover us committing metal and electronics to the earth instead of recycling, Asrid and I will be fined. The robots will be decommissioned on the spot.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper to the androids before turning away. Their artificial gaze follows me, boring into my back sharp as a laser.
“Botspit, I'm hungry. I could gnaw on a droid. Where're we going to lunch?” Asrid ignores the dead and grieving as if none of it exists.
“I think I'll just go home.”
“Come on, T. I know she was your Nana but she was just a robot, you know.”
Just a robot! Nana changed my diapers. My first day of kindergarten, Nana held my hand. When I came home from school, Nana made me cocoa and sat helping me with homework. Nana cooked my favourite dumpling dinner every Wednesday and made me double-chocolate birthday cake. Nana taught me how to tie my shoelaces and braid my hair. The day I turned sixteen, Mom decided we didn't need Nana anymore. She should've been decommissioned then, but Nana disappeared the day before Mom's M-Tech buddies came to kill her core and reprocess her parts.
“She was more than that to me,” I say.
“Ah, you're adorable.” Asrid casts nervous glances across the lot. Satisfied no policemen lurk behind the bushes, she slips her arm through mine and drags me through the gate. The wrought iron is warped and daubed with rust. Marble angels stand sentinel, broken and stained by time. One misses a nose, and the other has lost a wing.
“You didn't say anything about my new bug.” Asrid pouts when we reach her vehicle. The hoverbug is neon pink, matching her shoes, handbag, and the ribbons holding up her blond hair. The 'E' badge that stands for Engel Motors looks more like a spastic frog than the angel it's supposed to represent.
“Is it meant to smell like cherries?” Even the plush interior is unicorn puke pink. I put on my sunglasses in case all that color stains my eyes.
“Yes, in fact.” Asrid flicks a switch and the engine purrs. “Slipstream Waffles.” She assumes that monotone voice she always uses when addressing machines.
The last thing I want is to sit on sticky vinyl in a noisy waffle house, indulging in sugar and calories served by permanently smiling droids on roller-skates.
“Take me home to Vinterberg.”
“Tyri, don't annoy me.”
“Sassa, Don't patronize me.” I give her the glare she knows better than to argue with.
“Vinterberg,” I say again and Asrid heaves a melodramatic sigh.
“Be boring. Going home to make love to your violin?”
“Why ask when you know the answer?” Nana's coffin lowering into the ground replays in my mind to a soundtrack in b-flat minor.
“How does Rurik put up with being the other love of your life?”
It's my turn to sigh. Rurik doesn't really put up with it or even understand why I love music so much. But then, I don't understand why he gets so hung up on politics, and I definitely don't understand why he didn't show up for Nana's funeral when he knows how much she meant to me.
“We manage.” I stare out the tinted windows at the darkened scenery whipping past.
Thehoverbug takes the quickest route, zipping along the street ways that skirt the chaotic center of Baldur. The jungle of concrete and steel thins out into a tree-shrouded suburb studded with modest brick homes. Rurik calls my redbrick bungalow quaint, and it is, complete with flower boxes and a patch of green lawn out back. It’s nothing at all like his dad's slick penthouse, all glass and chrome with a panoramic view of the city. The funny thing is, Rurik used to live right next-door till his mom had the affair and his dad became a workaholic, transforming the family business into an automotive empire.
The hoverbug slows and lands in my driveway.
“I'll call you later,” I say before disembarking.
“You heard anything yet?”
“No, but tomorrow is the last day so I'll hear soon.” I'm trying not to think about why it's taking so long to hear back after my audition for the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra.
“You'll get in T. I'm sure of it. You're brilliant.”
Asrid's words make me smile despite the morbidity of the day. She waves and the hoverbug zooms off, leaving me in the rustling-leave calm of Vinterberg.
I press my thumb to the access pad and the front door hisses open. Mom's at work like always. Taking off my coat and shoes, I whistle for Glitch. She pads into the hallway, her face lopsided from sleep. She stretches and sits down with a decisive humph as if to say, 'Well, human, I'm here. Now, worship me.' And I do.
“Hey my Glitchy girl.” I fold my cyborg ShibaInu into my arms and sweep her off the floor. Her mechatronic back leg sticks out straight and stiff, the rest of her soft and warm. She licks my ear, one paw on my forehead.
“Good afternoon, Tyri. Would you like some refreshments?” Miles whirs out of the kitchen into the hallway. He's nothing like Nana, just a bipedal mass of electronics and metal with assorted appendages capable of mundane tasks. He doesn't even have eyes, only a flashing array of lights. Despite Mom designing a new generation of androids for M-Tech, we can't afford the new model housebot. Maybe it's better this way. I don't feel much for our bot, but I dubbed him Miles. It seemed to fit.
“Would you like some refreshments?” he repeats.
“Tea and a sandwich.” I carry Glitch into my bedroom at the back of the house. Glitch leaps from my arms, landing on the bed where she curls up in a knot of black, white, and tan fur amongst my pillows.
Still in my black lace skirt and corset, I stretch and flex my fingers. Twisting the cricks from my neck and rolling my shoulders, I ease out the graveyard tension. My violin lies in a bed of blue velvet, waiting for my touch. With the strings in tune and the bow sufficiently taut, the instrument nestles against my jaw as if I was born with a gap there just for the violin. It completes me.
I warm-up my fingers, letting them trip over the strings as my bow arcs and glides. Then I'm ready to play: Beethoven's Kreutzer violin sonata in A major, Nana's favorite. Glitch's ears twitch back and forth. She raises her head to howl but thinks better of it, yawning and curling back into sleep.
The frenzied opening of the sonata segues into a melancholy tune and in the brief moment of calm, my moby warbles at me. I have mail. I try to ignore the distraction and play through the screeching reminder of an unread message, but it might be the one I've been anticipating.
Vibrating in my hand, the moby blinks at me: One unread email. Subject: BPO audition.
“This is it, Glitchy.”
She raises her head as I sit beside her. One hand buried in her fur, I open the email. The words blur together, pixelate and run like wet ink across the screen. Disbelief makes my vision swim. I have to read the message several times over to make sure I haven't misunderstood.
“Codes! I got in.” Blood warms my cheeks as I whisk Glitch into my arms, spinning her around before squeezing her to my chest. She does not approve and scratches at me until I drop her back on the bed. Miles enters with a tray of tea and neat triangular sandwiches.
“Miles, I got in! I'm going to play for the junior BPO. This is amazing.” I'm jumping up and down.
Miles flashes orange. “Could not compute. Please restate.”
“I'm going to play for the best junior orchestra in the country. This could be my chance to break into the scene, to meet all the right people, and make an impression!” My one chance to escape the life already planned for me by Mom. The last thing I want to be is a robot technician.
Miles keeps flashing orange. “Apologies, Tyri. Could not compute, but registering joy.” His visual array flashes green. “Happy birthday!” He says in his clipped metallic voice before leaving the room.
I clutch the moby and read the email another ten times before calling Mom. I reach her voicemail, and my joy tones down a notch. I don't want to talk to another machine, so I hang up and call Rurik instead.
“Hey, Tyri. Now's not a good time. Can I call you back later?”
“I got in,” I say.
“To the orchestra?”
“Yes!”
“That's great.” He doesn't sound half as happy as I am.
“Thanks, I'm so excited, but kind of scared too—”
“T, I'm just in the middle of something. I'll call you back in a bit, okay?” He hangs up, leaving me babbling into silence.
Deflated, I slump onto the floor and rest my head on the bed. Glitch shuffles over to give me another ear wash, delicately nibbling around my earrings. I should've known Rurik would be busy getting ready to go to Osholm University. Getting a scholarship to the most prestigious school in all of Skandia is way more impressive than scoring a desk in the Baldur Junior Orchestra. Still, I received better acknowledgment from the housebot than my boyfriend. I call Asrid.
“Hey T, what's up?” Asrid answers with Sara's high-pitched giggle in the background.
“I got in!”
“That's awesome, except I guess that means more practicing and less time with your friends, huh?” Asrid sounds genuinely put out, as if she’d even notice my absence when Sara's around. Codes, isn't there someone who could just be happy for me? Maybe Mom’s right, and I am being selfish wanting the “Bohemian non-existence” when I could have a “sensible and society-assisting” career in robotics.
“Sorry, I . . . thought you'd like to know.”
“I'm happy for you, Tyri. I know it's a big deal to you. Congrats. Seriously, you deserve this considering how hard you practice,” Asrid says, and Sara shouts congratulations in the background.
“Thanks, Sassa.”
“Hey, our food arrived. Chat later?”
“Sure.” I hang up and reach for my violin. Nana would've understood. She would've danced around the living room with me. She probably would've baked me a cake and thrown a party. Determined not to cry, I skip the second movement of Beethoven's sonata and barrel straight into the jaunty third. The notes warp under my fingers, and the tune slides into b-flat minor.
Two days until the first rehearsal. Maybe I’ll be able to do something different with my life; something that makes me happy instead of just useful.
Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author
Suzanne van Rooyen
Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shibainu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
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Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway
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