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Racing the Dark

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Racing the Dark Cover

ISBN13: 9781932841282
ISBN10: 1932841288
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Enter a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations separated by water but bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment. In Racing the Dark, the first act in a grand dance of loyalty, love, sacrifice, and death is about to begin.

Like the other women of her nameless backwater island, Lana had always expected to become a diver and harvest precious jewels from a fish native to their surrounding freshwater seas. But during her initiation dive, she receives a horrifying gift &3151; a blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power. Someone to be used.

Though Lana hides the jewel, the power it represents drives her family away from their home island, and Lana into an apprenticeship with a one-armed witch with a peculiar interest in her fate. The witch hides the extent of her own power (and of her intentions) even as she trains Lana in geas — the spells and incantations that allow humans to sacrifice for control of the spirits.

But powers far greater and intrigues far older than anything she could imagine are driving Lana down a dangerous road. When she dares to use a dark, ancient geas to save her mother's life, she is set onto a path toward becoming a creature beyond her wildest imaginings. A creature of great power...and a perfect pawn of the spirits themselves, in their bid to break free of a millennia-long imprisonment.

A bold new talent in fantasy fiction, 25-year-old Alaya Dawn Johnson has created an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding power requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice.

Review:

"In Johnson's bold debut, a young woman faces sweeping changes to the ancient traditions and culture of her tiny island home. When 13-year-old Lana recovers a rare sacred jewel from a dying mandagah fish on her first solo dive, she hides it rather than accept the responsibility of becoming a mystic. Within six months, the mandagah are dying due to changing water conditions, destabilizing the island's economy, which depends on the fish and their jewels. To pay for her family's passage to the city-island of Essel, Lana becomes an apprentice to the sorceress Akua. When Lana learns Akua gets her powers from blood sacrifice, she's appalled, but soon she must strike her own terrible bargain to save her mother's life. Johnson's story is reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books, but it suffers from incomplete world-building. If Johnson can get a better handle on her island culture, economy and magic system in future books, this proposed series could be a stand-out." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In Johnson's bold debut, a young woman faces sweeping changes to the ancient traditions and culture of her tiny island home. When 13-year-old Lana recovers a rare sacred jewel from a dying mandagah fish on her first solo dive, she hides it rather than accept the responsibility of becoming a mystic. Within six months, the mandagah are dying due to changing water conditions, destabilizing the island's economy, which depends on the fish and their jewels. To pay for her family's passage to the city-island of Essel, Lana becomes an apprentice to the sorceress Akua. When Lana learns Akua gets her powers from blood sacrifice, she's appalled, but soon she must strike her own terrible bargain to save her mother's life. Johnson's story is reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books, but it suffers from incomplete world-building. If Johnson can get a better handle on her island culture, economy and magic system in future books, this proposed series could be a stand-out." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The complex plot requires careful reading but the effort is worth it." School Library Journal

Synopsis:

A brilliant new novel from a 25-year-old debut author, Racing the Dark is set in a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment. Lana, a teenaged girl on a nameless backwater island, finds an ominous blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power, setting in motion events that drive her away from her family and into an apprenticeship with a mysterious one-armed witch. Lana begins to learn the spells and incantations, each of which requires some form of sacrifice from the person who employs it. As Lana becomes more powerful, she is deceived into a sacrifice she is unwilling to make — the life of her own mother. When Lana dares to use a dark, ancient spell to save her mother's life, she is set onto a path toward becoming a creature beyond her wildest imaginings. This is an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding the power of magic requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice.

Synopsis:

A brilliant new novel from a debut author, "Racing the Dark" is set in a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

mariko18, July 14, 2009 (view all comments by mariko18)
In response to Iona's comment: Racing the Dark is the first book in a trilogy called "The Spirit Binders." The paperback version will be released this fall, followed by the sequel "The Burning City" (which is even better than the first book). The delay between books is normal as Alaya was working on several projects at once. I would encourage everyone to exercise patience and to look for Alaya's other upcoming titles and short stories as they are all well worth the wait.
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Iona.Mullaney, February 7, 2009 (view all comments by Iona.Mullaney)
I enjoyed the pace the book moved, and the interplay among the charecters, I am wondering where the rest of the story might be, the book was published several years ago. With the Author having lived in New York at the time her info was printed on the back leaf, I worry that a book with such magnificent potential may be relegated to the backshelf of poor lost book rooms, as the world that Miss Johnson created fades to obscurity. I really would like to see how all of the crossed fates play out. thanks.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
mariko18, October 4, 2007 (view all comments by mariko18)
"Racing the Dark" is a haunting, fascinating novel that has you hooked with the opening scene and leaves you begging for the next installment in the trilogy. Parts of the book are reminiscent of Ursula Leguin's "Wizard of Earthsea" but as ever, Alaya twists words and traditional fantasy in completely new directions. "Racing the Dark" is an excellent start to what I'm sure will be a long and fruitful literary career.
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(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781932841282
Publisher:
Agate Bolden
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Author:
Johnson, Alaya Dawn
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Spirits
Subject:
Science / General
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20070928
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
- Up
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 23.5 oz
Age Level:
from 12

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » General

Racing the Dark
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details 352 pages Agate Bolden - English 9781932841282 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Johnson's bold debut, a young woman faces sweeping changes to the ancient traditions and culture of her tiny island home. When 13-year-old Lana recovers a rare sacred jewel from a dying mandagah fish on her first solo dive, she hides it rather than accept the responsibility of becoming a mystic. Within six months, the mandagah are dying due to changing water conditions, destabilizing the island's economy, which depends on the fish and their jewels. To pay for her family's passage to the city-island of Essel, Lana becomes an apprentice to the sorceress Akua. When Lana learns Akua gets her powers from blood sacrifice, she's appalled, but soon she must strike her own terrible bargain to save her mother's life. Johnson's story is reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books, but it suffers from incomplete world-building. If Johnson can get a better handle on her island culture, economy and magic system in future books, this proposed series could be a stand-out." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Johnson's bold debut, a young woman faces sweeping changes to the ancient traditions and culture of her tiny island home. When 13-year-old Lana recovers a rare sacred jewel from a dying mandagah fish on her first solo dive, she hides it rather than accept the responsibility of becoming a mystic. Within six months, the mandagah are dying due to changing water conditions, destabilizing the island's economy, which depends on the fish and their jewels. To pay for her family's passage to the city-island of Essel, Lana becomes an apprentice to the sorceress Akua. When Lana learns Akua gets her powers from blood sacrifice, she's appalled, but soon she must strike her own terrible bargain to save her mother's life. Johnson's story is reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books, but it suffers from incomplete world-building. If Johnson can get a better handle on her island culture, economy and magic system in future books, this proposed series could be a stand-out." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The complex plot requires careful reading but the effort is worth it."
"Synopsis" by ,
A brilliant new novel from a 25-year-old debut author, Racing the Dark is set in a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment. Lana, a teenaged girl on a nameless backwater island, finds an ominous blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power, setting in motion events that drive her away from her family and into an apprenticeship with a mysterious one-armed witch. Lana begins to learn the spells and incantations, each of which requires some form of sacrifice from the person who employs it. As Lana becomes more powerful, she is deceived into a sacrifice she is unwilling to make — the life of her own mother. When Lana dares to use a dark, ancient spell to save her mother's life, she is set onto a path toward becoming a creature beyond her wildest imaginings. This is an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding the power of magic requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice.
"Synopsis" by , A brilliant new novel from a debut author, "Racing the Dark" is set in a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment.
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