Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Spotlight - Wingless by Cydney Lawson

Charlie thought his summer was going to end like every other summer before it. With a growing sense of forboding and a waning sense of freedom. Until Tane landed on his front lawn in a crumpled heap claiming to be from heaven. A place much darker and much greater than he’d ever imagined. Tane is on a mission to find a Septar, a citizen of Fismuth that was left behind when she was supposed to have been taken. And when she enlists the help of Charlie and his friends, she pulls them into a world of danger, love, and ultimately, heavenly rewards.


My name is Tane. At least it was before I was banished to the outlands of heaven. Before everything I had learned to care for was taken from me. Before I murdered an innocent human.

Tane is an outcast in her own world. She is forced to fend for herself against the infamous and ravenous Feeders in Abannon to prove her worth and save her own life. When Azurael, a de-winged, slightly insane angel finds her and offers to deliver her to a secret land of life and prosperity-the Oasis-Tane agrees to become his traveling companion and student. As she learns his ways, she begins to question her own, as well as her role in the last prophecy he ever told.
My name is Charlie. At least it was before I was dragged to Fismuth. A lot has changed since then, and my new name is the least of them.

Charlie is an outcast in his own world. He doesn't fit in with his old friends. He can't stand to be around the only parent he has left. And he's plagued with thoughts of a girl long gone. Until the day Charlie is dragged and blessed with wings, a new sense of strength, and a mission to save Tane from her own fate. But Charlie isn't the only one planning to escape to Abannon and claim Tane.

In a struggle to find their purpose and each other, Charlie and Tane must face death, trust new friends, and start a war they didn't know existed to either fulfill or stop the prophecy that will end heaven as they know it.  


My feet were bleeding. I could feel jagged rocks pushing into my skin. I tried to remain quiet, forgetting that the Feeders were deaf beasts. Every so often soft cries of pain would ring out, falling helplessly against the short stone cliffs around me. I would cover my mouth with one hand, reaching back for my shauk with the other.  And, of course, I would cower. I was more skittish than Kelsie had been the first time I’d seen her. Even the last time I’d seen her. A dull, but reverberating sense of acceptance pulsed through me as I thought of her death, and I forged onward.
By the time the next moon, the eighth moon, had appeared in the sky, I’d staggered aimlessly across Abannon. A full human week and I had yet to see a single Feeder. I needed sustenance, rest, and attire to better suit the Abannonian climate. I had none of them.  The Feeders could have me if they wanted me. Every limb, every freckle, ached with an intensity I never would have guessed possible. Being banished was most unpleasant.
I collapsed to the dusty ground, my vision hazing. I could not keep my eyes open and yet it seemed to take too much energy to close them all the way. Much was the same predicament with my mouth. I allowed my body to shut down. Perhaps the Feeders would find me too stringy to be appetizing, and I would die by means of dehydration.
The day passed and the moons began their lovely ascent. Sleep did not find me, but Work-Light did eventually. With the morning came the heat. With the heat came the unbearable thirst. Still, I could not twitch without a grunt of anguish.
A sudden shadow was upon me. I did not move.
“This is no way for a lady to present herself.” A hand skirted over my shoulder and touched the unbearably painful wound on my arm. A pathetic groan tumbled past my lips. A stern ‘tsk tsk’ sound came from the shadow. “No way at all.”
“Who are you?” I gasped, breathless and exhausted beyond what my body could handle. The shadow swept over me and cool arms enfolded me. I was soon after hoisted up into the air.
“Right now, I could be anyone for all the fight you could put up against me. Luckily for you, I am only no one.” The voice sounded entirely too sure of itself. To my confused expression the shadow laughed and replied, “I am a friend, Listener. Rest.” My body took that as an order and almost immediately fell into a rattled state of sleep.
I awoke on a soft sigh, my lungs filling with clean air as if for the first time. I felt heat on my right side, but it was not the warmth of another body. There was steady breath and patient thought. Thought from a mind I did not recognize.
“Come, sit up, Prestigious child,” a deep, almost bored voice commanded. I opened my eyes and found myself looking up at a clay-orange cave ceiling. I sat up as the voice had asked me to. I felt something like fear just behind my ribcage, nestled between my lungs where my heart should have been.
The voice came again. “Don’t look so jaded, now. Little Listener, wandered away from her wooly flock.” There was a grin in his voice. He had an accent. A Prestigious accent that was so engraved in his tone, he must have been born and raised a Fismuthian. I turned toward the voice, and the figure filled my sight. I did not look up. I saw enough.
Smooth, tanned skin pulled over lean, agile muscles. Ever-wandering hands like restless children, tending to the small fire in the cave. Tousled blonde hair that trickled down to broad shoulders. The yellow locks caught the firelight in a fierce hold; in the flickering glow they looked like actual gold.
My breath was quick, then faint, then nonexistent. “Y-you are….” I stammered out, finding it impossible to remember the last time I’d stuttered.
He stood—towered over me—and then turned away. I allowed myself to glance at his naked back; my eyes confirmed with absolute certainty who he was.
Two jagged, raised scars ripped down his back from the tops of his shoulders to his waist. A winged gift torn mercilessly from him when he was banished to Abannon. “Azurael,” I breathed.
He pivoted on the balls of his feet until he was facing me again. He clasped his calloused hands behind his back. For a moment, he as silent. It was one of the longest moments I’d ever endured. I stood as well, and though my knees were weak, I managed to stay upright. I still refused to look at him directly. My gaze remained fixed on his chest. There was a scar there. In fact, there was not much of him that wasn’t scarred. I examined that specific ex-wound thoroughly to keep my eyes occupied.
Azurael took two steps toward me, which put him only a few feet from me. It wasn’t close enough to hear his heartbeat, but it did make his breathing a deafening rhythm.
“Have we met?” he asked, his voice a crying skylark’s song. A beautiful, tortured timbre that resonated in the cave even though he was nearly whispering. “You remind me of a vision.” When I did not reply, he ventured another step forward. I could feel my body shaking uncontrollably.
Slowly, as if my heart would stop if I took in too much of him too quickly, I let my eyes drag up to his. I saw his throat, taking note of the pulse under his jaw. I saw his lips, shaped to smile always. I saw his nose, straight and patrician. And then our eyes met.
First, his eyes were stony, no reaction at all. Then the light blue pools began to search my own as if a nagging sense of recognition would not let him break the stare. A deep thought was forming in his mind; I could hear flashes of memories, but it faded just as quickly, like listening to a radio station with heavy static. I focused in more on his eyes as if I could pull something from him as he was attempting to from me.
Azurael’s eyes were bodies of water. There was a bubbling creek on top, clear and honest with no secrets. Then a rampant river, rapids smashing against every thought. But just underneath that was an ocean, dark and unfathomable in its depths.
“You,” he whispered, tilting his head as if I had shielded myself and he’d had to get a better angle. “You are the Last.”
Instantly, I shook my head and backed up a step. Azurael followed, his nostrils flaring. I silently pleaded with him not to say what was already on his lips. He took my arm suddenly, the injured one, and I fell to my knees as I let out a pained cry.
His eyebrows knitted together, as if my identity was an incomprehensible contradiction of logic. He set his jaw and looked down at me. Helpless, I looked back.
“You are the Last of the Fallen.”

Cydney Lawson is an adventurous college student with a slightly awkward, yet quirky, personality. She can always be found with pen and paper in hand, and chocolate and a paperback close by. When not writing, Cydney can be found studying for her creative writing degree, spending time with friends and family, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Her dream is to move away from the craziness of the city and live in a cabin in the woods with her 2 dogs (who don’t belong to her yet) as a full time writer and editor.

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