giovedì 16 gennaio 2014

Book Blitz: Wasteland di Lindsay Leggett + giveaway

Buongiorno ^^ Eccoci ad un nuovo book blitz, ideato come sempre da Giselle di Xpresso Book Tours; oggi vi presento uno young adult fantascientifico che è il secondo volume di una serie :) Mi sembra davvero una trama interessante, voi che ne dite? :)

Titolo: Wasteland
Autore: Lindsay Leggett
Genere: Young adult fantascientifico
Trama: Trapped in a cell and experimented on, Piper Madden’s only hope is remembering Asher. Then, Elder Corp President Rupert Elder gives her new orders: to be a leader in a war against the Harpies. Without a choice, Piper must obey Rupert’s commands or suffer from paralyzing and painful Nanomachines. But the war is just beginning, and Asher has gone missing. The resistance is slowly building, and the upcoming war will be larger and bloodier than anything seen since the Devastation that ruined the earth. Throughout all of this, Piper remembers the time before she ran to Ichton, when David was alive and her hope in Elder Corp was still strong.

Lindsay Leggett Nearly every writer struggles to put together information about themselves, perhaps because we’re so used to detailing the lives and ways of others. For the most part I am a writer, editor, photographer, and all-around artist living in the wilds north of Toronto, Ontario. I thrive on the juxtaposition of beauty and grit, enjoy urban crawls, indie everything, and time well-spent in the woods.



Light shines on me, and I groan as shocks of pain spread behind my eyes. I realize I’m lying in the corner of the cell, curled up into a ball. My hair is knotted and dirty, and almost all of the red dye has now faded. I squint toward the light, seeing only a dark figure smudging its bright rays. 
As my eyes adjust, so does the outline of Rupert Elder. His suit is ebony and spotless, and gold earrings capture his ears. He’s alone, and shuts the cell door behind him, leaving us in momentary darkness before the cell’s faint lighting flickers on. 
He stares down at me, an arrogant grin across his lips. He has me exactly where he needs me; weak and pumped full of whatever he’s had his techs administering into my system. My arms are covered with tract marks and bruises from the large needles. I hate what he has reduced me to, but I am losing my will to keep moving. 
Just remember him. Think of how he is fighting for you. Fight for him.
“Piper Madden,” Rupert drawls. He crouches down to my level and runs his fingers across my cheek. I shudder involuntarily. His hands are cold as ice, and his breath stinks of stale cigar smoke. His many rings glint in the fluorescent light. 
“What do you want from me?” I gasp. My voice is sparse; my mouth is dry. I can’t even scream as he lifts me from my armpits and drags me up onto the bench where I usually sleep. He drops me on the far corner and then seats himself, swiping his pants as if he were infected just from touching me. 
“I just wanted to show you some of the new initiatives the Hunter program has begun,” he says, his voice shallow and cheerful. He pulls a small tablet from his pocket, presses a button, and it lights up. It’s a portable vid-screen, I realize. Must be new technology. I can’t help but wonder how many citizens now own one, the Corp monitoring their every move, their every transaction. 
Rupert slides his thumb along the screen, then presses down. A video pops up onto the screen, and he holds it in front of me for me to watch. 
At first I just hear voices; the usual sounds of rush hour in Central, but then the video comes into focus, and the voices turn to chants and vicious shouting. The video was taken at one of the town squares. The area has been cordoned off, and in the middle of the intersection, there were two people chained to large metal posts.
But then the camera zooms, and I realize that the figures are not people; they’re Harpies. Their wings have been pinned around the posts, and their eyes are listless, broken. One of them looks to be a child. Tears spring to my eyes, pulling from the last dredges of hydration I have left. The young one is a little girl, looking up to the fake sky in search of some kind of rescue. A rescue I know never came. 
The chanting grows louder; the people of Central throw bits of rubble at them. Then Rupert appears. In the video he is dressed as he is now, only with a microphone set clipped onto one of his jeweled ears.
“My dear people of Central. In front of you I have brought the enemy. The ones who wish to kill and eat your children. The ones who threaten your lives every day. But we will not let them frighten us. We will show them how strong we are, that we can bring them down. Who is the superior race?” he shouts.
“Humans!” the crowd launches back. My teeth are clenching, but I can’t take my eyes away.
“Let us prove to the Harpies that Elder Corporation has the control of this world. We will rise and take over the planet, just as we were meant to!” he growls. The crowd grows rowdier. 
Two Hunters march into the square in full Hunter dress regalia; stiff jackets with the Elder crest. They wear helmets, so I cannot tell who they are, but they look young. New. 
Malleable. Both are carrying large guns. They stand before the Harpies, who do not protest, who are not vicious or feral, but who tremble with fear. 
Then there is fire. Everywhere, flames as the Hunters discharge their weapons. The flames are tinged red, diluted with augmented Hunter blood. After a few moments the Hunters back away, and once the fire subsides, all that is left of the two Harpies is ash. 
My stomach turns, and I fight the urge to gag.
“You’re sick,” I spit at Rupert. He raises his eyebrows.
“Oh, really? I was under the impression that you were the one who was sick; your mind, torn apart by anguish and a disgusting affair with a monster. I am a savior to these people, Piper. I protect them. All I’m doing is giving them proof that they are safe,” he says. 
And there is nothing that I can even say, because I know that is what the people believe. Everyone believes Elder Corp. What other choice do they have? To them, life is perfect here. They may live underground, but they want for nothing. They have their holo-sky and their Pure Air generators and lab-grown food, and now, they have Harpy executions, to remind them that the only reason they live in this utopia is Elder Corporation. 
“Why don’t you just kill me?” I say finally. Rupert furrows his brows for a moment, and then bursts out laughing, his chuckle ringing hollow from the cell walls. 
“I would never kill you, Miss Madden. You are far too valuable, don’t you see?” he replies. 
I don’t see. What use am I to him trapped and broken? 
“What have you done to me?” Fear pervades my voice as I say this, as I look over the bruises from so many needles. He’s been experimenting on me, I know this. But what is his plan? What does he expect me to become?
“You will see, soon enough. Now get up. Your muscles have been wasting away. You look like you’re on your last legs from radiation poisoning. I thought you were stronger than that,” he commands. 
I try to stand, but my body is slow to obey me, and my muscles are weak. Rupert stands up and reaches his arms over, forcing me off the bench and onto the ground. My face lands first; blood drips from my nose.
“Now stand, Hunter.”
I try my hardest not to groan as I push myself up. Blood flows from my nostrils over my lips and off my chin. I grit my teeth, the metallic taste of my own blood filling my mouth. 
Once I’m upright, Rupert pushes me into the cell wall, and I slide down to the floor, the blow causing me to lose my wind.
I refuse to let him beat me. I can hear Asher’s voice in my mind, telling me to be strong, telling me not to break, because I’m better than that. 
I stand up, faster this time. I clench my muscles, expecting another blow, but instead Rupert just grins. If I could right now, I’d punch that stupid smile from his mouth.
“You never fail to disappoint, Piper. You shouldn’t even be able to breathe from the amount of drugs in your system. I couldn’t be more proud,” he says. 
I glare at him.
“What are you doing to me?” I say again, fiercer this time. 
He walks slowly toward me, menacing and somehow comforting at the same time. He lifts his hand to my face, and I turn away, but he strokes my cheek softly, lovingly. 
“I’m making you stronger. It might seem like hell now, but when the procedure is over, you’ll be the best Hunter the world has ever seen,” he whispers. His breath on me is toxic. 
“After all of this, why me? I’m not a Hunter anymore,” I say. He steps back, only the hint of a smile left on his face.
“I’ve never lost faith in you. You have always been… like a daughter to me,” he says. 
He gathers his things, and I keep my body pressed against the wall. Before he leaves, he turns back to me. 
“I want you to work on your strength, every day. The stronger you get, the closer you will be toward gaining your freedom.”
The word echoes from his lips and reverberates throughout my body. Freedom. Is there such a thing?
He leaves, closing the door behind me. Soon my next meal will come; I’ve lost count of what time it is, so every meal is the same. Then Evan will come and administer the drugs, and my world will reset. 
But what Rupert said doesn’t leave me. I can almost taste fresh air on my tongue; real fresh air, damp and drizzling from the sky. 
And even though my body aches and my face is bloody, I start to work it, to gain back the strength I have lost. If it means freedom, I would do anything. But in the back of my mind, I know that this freedom will come with a steep price, and I need to be ready to pay it, or flee.



Dust slides past my feet on the wind as we trudge through the wasteland. Both Essa and I are completely suited in anti-rad gear, and every step seems like we’re travelling on an alien planet. 
Surrounding the main entrance to Central and the guard tower is nothing but dead earth; pale and wispy, patterned with the petrified remains of what were once majestic trees.
Off in the distance there is a hint of green; the Fresh-Air Compounds Elder Corp is building for the rich; areas enclosed with filtering glass so that only pure air can exist within. They look like massive snow globes, though I doubt I’ll ever see the inside of one.
Beside me, Essa huffs impatiently.
“Why didn’t we ask for a buggy or something? This wind is unreal,” she complains.
“And how are we supposed to remain hidden while driving a cart around?” I counter. 
Sweat is already building inside my suit. The hot sun glares at us, defying us for coming above ground.
Our plans are haphazard at best. We couldn’t let anyone know where we were going or why, and our search is going to be worse than trying to find a needle in a haystack; we have an entire world to explore.
But we trudge along, and soon enough Central Tower is no longer in sight; we are alone in the wild.
“Have you been up here before?” I ask. I motion for Essa to stop, to take a break beneath the shade of a massive rock. She shakes her head.
“No, I’ve only done VR Mods. I’m sure you’ve been up here like a hundred times,” she remarks. I burst out laughing despite myself.
“You think they let just anybody up here? It costs the Corp a fortune.” Seeing her hurt expression, I add, “I’ve only been up here once or twice, and never as far as we are now. The tower has too many defense features. Even the most feral of Harpies know they don’t stand a chance.”
The shade is glorious after the scorching walk, and the sun is finally starting to set. I’d forgotten how blistering the real sun is; underground the temperature is always perfect. 
“Look at that,” Essa murmurs. I follow her gaze to the horizon. The sky is illuminated in pinks and reds and dusky purples. The colors explode and melt together; a tapestry of the death of the sun. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
“I guess we really can’t replicate everything,” I reply in a whisper.
We move onward, silent from nature’s embrace. My mind tumbles through thoughts and images: Tor, David, the Harpy I’d let live. Shards of guilt shoot through my stomach, but there is no such thing as going back to the past; I know that, at least. 
Night is just starting to darken the sky when I hear it; the slightest of noises. I raise a hand to halt Essa in her place, and motion for her to keep quiet. I close my eyes to let the sounds travel to my ear.
There is the crackle of fire; something I’ve only heard once or twice in real life; the crunch of sand as feet dance through them; the whoosh of twirling fabric; the giggling of a small child, then the hushing back to near-silence. 
I gesture in the direction of the sounds with my eyes, and Essa follows my lead. Ahead of us there is a rocky crag, and my senses tell me that the beings are beneath, half-hidden in the shelter of the rock. 
Our suits make only the slightest of noise as we creep forward to the apex of the rocks. 
Just as the crackling of the fire becomes loud enough, we drop to the ground, crawling across sharp rocks and slimy algae. 
My heart beats like crazy as we reach the tip of the rock. The scene is probably fifty feet below us, but my mind races as if it’s mere inches away. 
A Harpy family.
They surround the fire, their wings hanging gracefully above them. The children are both girls, who wear twirling skirts as they dance about the fire. The father is garbed in a shaggy shirt and slacks, while the mother remains seated on the ground, skirt spread around her as she skins some meat that I hope to hell isn’t Human. 
What the hell are they doing living so close to Central? And why is there just one family? All of our studies have shown Harpies to travel in large groups, with a hierarchy of alpha and beta males and females. This family is entirely different. They don’t look vicious; they look... happy.
For a moment it’s like I’m watching a vid-screen; a documentary about the idyllic life of nomad aliens on another planet.
But then Essa’s foot slips—only an inch—but I know the sound is enough to break the silence.
Immediately the mother Harpy snarls, and her face contorts to a wicked, ugly glower as her gaze searches for us.
“Let’s move,” I whisper.
My body takes over; no room for thought or speculation. We leap from the crag, gravel and rock spilling beneath us. Essa pulls out her pistols and as soon as she lands, aims for the father Harpy’s head.
Her first shot misses, but her second is dead on, burrowing into the forehead of the Harpy. His angry scowl remains as his body withers and crumbles into dust. The bullet cap clinks as it lands on a slab of granite.
On my end, I face the mother. Immediately it’s clear that she’s the leader of the family. 
She lunges for me, her gray wings shaking and her sharp teeth bared.
I dodge her attack, grabbing a dagger from my boot and lashing out at her, but I miss. 
She cackles as she glides just shy of my blade, and her wings lift her into the air.
A quick glance sideways confirms that one of the children is dead, and Essa is combating the other, chasing her across the dusty ground.
I sheath my dagger and pull out my crossbow from my back holster. I’ve only got one chance at this before she leaves her child behind and flies off into the night.
I steady my footing and nock a bolt. She darts back and forth, almost in a figure-eight fashion.
How am I going to do this?
But then her child cries out in fear, and for just a moment, the mother Harpy lets her guard down, eyes searching for her baby.
I take my chance and release the bolt. It sinks in just to the left of her heart. She wails once she realizes what has happened, and tries to pull the bolt out from her chest.
She’s too late, though. The poison from the bolt has already activated in her blood stream. Her cry is cut off as her body disintegrates, showering ash over us from the sky. 
I exhale in relief, then Essa’s voice sounds.
“Piper,” she says. I look over to her. The remaining Harpy child is in front of her, eyes wide with fear at the sight of her family’s deaths. She does not run or growl or attempt an attack. She cries. Tears run down her cheeks. Essa eyes me, showing me she’s completely unsure of what to do. 
We both just stare at the child. I’ve never seen any Harpy—child or otherwise—cry before. Something like pity moves in my chest, but I know I’m not allowed to feel that. 
But there is something I can do.
I walk toward her slowly, ready to strike even though all she does is stare at me with tear-filled eyes.
“Where are the others?” I ask simply. She whimpers, but Essa holds up a readied pistol. 
She’s old enough to know what that means.
“We left,” she replies. Her voice is light and soft, like cotton candy at a carnival.
“Why?” I continue.
“Mama and Papa don’t—didn’t—like them. We’re different from them.”
“Where are the others?” I repeat forcefully. She sobs, sniffles, then points east.
“That way. That’s where the others live. There are lots of them. Please let me go,” she says. She’s given us all of the information we need. 
An encampment is set of east of the Harpy capital. I look at Essa, who returns my gaze pleadingly. She can’t do it. I can tell that much.
I sigh deeply, then rush up to the girl, snapping her neck. I know she’ll only be unconscious for seconds, so I whip out my dagger and slit her throat. She fades away in my arms, her dust carried away by the wind.
After that, there is only silence beyond the crackling fire. I answer before Essa has a chance to ask.
“She didn’t feel anything. She was unconscious.” Still, Essa shivers, holding herself.
“I couldn’t do it. I’m sorry, it was just the look in her eyes,” she murmurs. I stand up and place a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“It’s never easy to kill a child. Even a Harpling,” I confide. She nods as we gather ourselves for the night, but her gaze remains far off into the night sky.
“We’ll sleep here tonight. You take first watch. You never know if there were others,” I say.
I leave Essa to her thoughts as I lie down beside the fire. Secretly, those young eyes are still staring at me, still pleading for me to let her live.
I fall asleep with her delicate voice just bouncing around through my mind.
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