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Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon
presented by Month9Books!
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Happy Book Birthday, Cindy!
Sacrifice, the sequel to Serpentine, plunges Skybright into the terrifying underworld where demons are bred and whisks her up to the magnificent Mountain of Heavenly Peace where the gods dwell.
Stone is stripped of his immortal status and told to close hell's breach, which mysteriously remains open, threatening mortals.
Zhen Ni, Skybright's former mistress and friend, has been wed to the strange and brutish Master Bei, and finds herself trapped in an opulent but empty manor. When she discovers half-eaten corpses beneath the estate, she realizes that Master Bei is not all that he seems.
As Skybright works to free Zhen Ni with the aid of Kai Sen and Stone, they begin to understand that what is at risk is more far-reaching then they could ever have fathomed.
Sacrifice (Serpentine #2) by Cindy Pon Publication Date: September 27, 2016 Publisher: Month9Books
Stone pulled her into his arms thenurprised, she resisted, before submitting to his embrace. He had never overstepped boundaries since taking her captive, and she knew when he did touch her on rare occasion, it was for a reason. His armor made no noise when he moved, and when she pressed both hands to his chest, she felt a tunic beneath her fingers. Soft and worn.
The immortal was truly never as he appeared.
“You will see,” Stone said as he tightened his arms around Skybright’s waist, clasping her close like a lover.
It was unexpected, both thrilling and terrifying; his usual warmth felt uncomfortably hot against her skin.
Then Stone leaped off the cliff edge.
A strangled scream tore from Skybright’s throat, but the sudden rush of air snatched it away in an instant, and she couldn’t draw enough breath to even gasp as they plummeted toward the lake far below.
He gripped his dagger tighter as he leaned down to seize a large branch from the forest floor, his eyes never leaving the undead creature. The other six had long since crumpled to the ground, filling the forest with the harsh stench of burn clothes and hair. When the last corpse was near enough, Kai Sen stabbed the long branch into the corpse’s throat, and it halted, skewered like a beetle, yet it still fought to stagger toward him, scrabbling its skeletal fingers in the air. It was strong, but so was Kai Sen. He had the advantage of training and muscle, and this thing was mere rotten flesh.
Forcing the thick branch even deeper, he shoved the corpse back until with a final thrust, the thing toppled onto its back. He was on the creature before it could rise again, stomping on its extended arms with furious kicks, breaking them, before driving the branch into the earth and pinning the corpse. It struggled still, thudding its feet as Kai Sen crouched above it, one hand clutching the branch tight as he hacked at its neck with his dagger. It was exhausting and gruesome work, but the undead could only be killed with fire or decapitation. He needed to train and fight in every capacity, by magic or weapon or with his own hands. As a warrior, he knew it was crucial to his survival.
Dressed in a black sleeveless tunic, he seemed taller than she remembered and definitely bigger. Kai Sen had been all wiry muscle when they had traveled together but thin, still boyish in some ways. His time in the monastery since had filled his frame, as if he’d finally grown into his adult physique. He had looked strong before; now he looked powerful. She watched while the flickering flame danced across his face. Kai Sen’s dark eyebrows were knitted together as his alert eyes swept the large bedchamber. Zhen Ni could see why Skybright had been drawn to him—he was handsome. He exuded masculinity. Assuming a girl appreciated that sort of thing: rough hands and deep voice, the odd metallic tang of sweat. She knew from their travels together that he even smelled different.
Zhen Ni wasn’t attracted to these things.
For a brief moment, she remembered the soft curve of Lan’s neck bent over her embroidery, smelled the rose perfume she used to dab at the hollow of Lan’s throat, the scent sweet and mellow when she would kiss the same spot hours later … Zhen Ni blinked the memories away and whispered, “What are you doing here?”
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.
Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.
When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.
Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. Her most recent novel, Serpentine (Month9Books, 2015), is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and VOYA. The sequel, Sacrifice, releases this September. WANT, a near-future thriller set in Taipei, will be published by Simon Pulse in summer 2017. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Learn more about her books and art at http://cindypon.com.
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