Lightlark (Book 1)
241 pages

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#BookTok phenomenon and award-winning author Alex Aster delivers readers a masterfully written, utterly gripping YA fantasy novel Welcome to the Centennial. Every 100 years, the island of Lightlark appears to host the Centennial, a deadly game that only the rulers of six realms are invited to play. The invitation is a summons-a call to embrace victory and ruin, baubles and blood. The Centennial offers the six rulers one final chance to break the curses that have plagued their realms for centuries. Each ruler has something to hide. Each realm's curse is uniquely wicked. To destroy the curses, one ruler must die. Isla Crown is the young ruler of Wildling-a realm of temptresses cursed to kill anyone they fall in love with. They are feared and despised, and are counting on Isla to end their suffering by succeeding at the Centennial. To survive, Isla must lie, cheat, and betray...even as love complicates everything. Filled with secrets, deception, romance, and twists worthy of the darkest thrillers, Lightlark is a must-read for fans of legendary fantasy writers Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, and Leigh Bardugo.



Publié par
Date de parution 23 août 2022
Nombre de lectures 39
EAN13 9781647006310
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0777€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


PUBLISHER S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for and may be obtained from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-1-4197-6086-0 eISBN 978-1-64700-631-0
ISBN (B N/Indigo edition) 978-1-4197-6667-1
Text 2022 Alex Aster
Vine artwork courtesy STOCKMAMBAdotCOM/
Book design by Chelsea Hunter
Published in 2022 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.
Amulet Books are available at special discounts when purchased in quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or educational use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For details, contact or the address below.
Amulet Books is a registered trademark of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
ABRAMS The Art of Books 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
For Rron. I couldn t write our love story if I tried.
Isla Crown often fell through puddles of stars and into faraway places. Always without permission-and seemingly on the worst occasions. Even after five years, portaling still made her bones groan. She held her starstick tightly, her breath bottled in her chest like the rare perfumes on her vanity, the glass room spinning and fractured colors bleeding together, until gravity finally pinned her down like a loose thread in the universe.
And it was safely tucked down the back of her dress, along her spine, by the time the door swung open.
What happened to your hair? Poppy shrieked so loudly, Terra came rushing in behind her, the many knives and swords at her waist clanking together.
Her hair was the least of her worries, though she didn t doubt it resembled a bed of moss. Traveling between the realms newlands with her starstick had the habit of undoing even Poppy s most tightly wound coils and firmly made braids-an unexpected perk, really.
Isla didn t pretend to be an expert at using the device. In the beginning, the puddle of stars took her unexpected places. The snow villages of the Moonling newlands. The airy jubilees of the Skyling newlands. A few lands that hadn t been settled by any of the six realms at all. Little by little, she learned how to return to locations she had been to before. And that was the extent of her mastering of the starstick. All she knew for certain was that somehow the mysterious device allowed her to travel hundreds of miles in seconds.
Terra sighed, hand dropping from the hilt of her blade. It s just a few loose strands, Poppy.
Poppy ignored her. She rushed over to Isla, wielding a brush and a vial of syrupy leaf oil the same way Terra had taught Isla to brandish weapons years before. Isla grinned at her fighting teacher over her charm teacher s shoulder and cried out as Poppy roughly removed the pins. Poppy shook her head. Have to start from scratch. She stuck the clips between her lips and spoke around them. I leave you alone for an hour, and you re a mess. Even locked the door for good measure! How in the realm did you manage to mess it up in your own room, little bird?
Own room. Her room was not her own. It was an orb of glass, the remnants of an ancient greenhouse. But the panes had been painted over. The windows had been sealed. All except one door had been removed.
She was a little bird, just like Poppy and sometimes even Terra called her.
A bird in a cage.
Isla shrugged. Just some swordplay. Poppy and Terra were her only family-though they weren t family at all. Everyone who shared blood with her was long dead. Still, even they didn t know about the starstick. If they did, they would never let her use it. It was the only key out of the bird s cage. And Isla had been locked inside not just for her own safety-
But for everyone else s.
Terra eyed her suspiciously before turning her focus to the wall. Dozens of swords hung there in a shining row, a makeshift mirror. Pity you can t bring any of them, she said, a finger trailing across the wall of blades. She had given Isla every single sword, presented from the castle s ancient store. Isla had earned them after each training achievement and mastery.
Poppy scoffed. That s one Centennial rule I agree with. We don t need her reaffirming all the other realms horrible views of us.
Nerves began to swirl in Isla s stomach, leaves dancing in a storm. She forced a smile, knowing it would douse Poppy s frustration-her guardian always was telling her she didn t smile enough. Isla hadn t met many people, but the ones she had were simple to figure out. She just needed to uncover their motivations. Everyone wanted something. And some things were easier to give. A smile for a charm teacher who had spent nearly two decades teaching her student manners. A compliment for a woman who prized beauty above all else. Poppy, pretty as you are, all of their horrible views are true. We are monsters.
Poppy sighed as she slid the last pin into Isla s hair. Not you, she said meaningfully.
And though her guardian s words were wrapped in love- good -they made her stomach pool with dread.
They re ready, Terra said. She took a few steps toward the vanity. Isla watched her through the mirror, its edges spotted with age. Are you?
No. And she never would be. The Centennial was many things. A game. A chance at breaking the many curses that plagued the six realms. An opportunity to win unmatched power. A meeting of the six rulers. A hundred days on an island cursed to only appear once every hundred years. And for Isla-
Almost certain death.
Are you ready, Isla? a voice in her mind said, mocking and cruel.
Her fear was only tempered by her curiosity. She had always longed for more . . . everything. More experiences, more places, more people.
The place she was going-Lightlark-was made of more. Before her guardians had discovered it and had it sealed, Isla used to sneak through a loose pane of glass in her room and down into the forest. It was there that she met an Eldress who had once lived on Lightlark, the way all Wildlings used to before the curses were spun. Before most of the realms fled the island to create new lands in the chaotic aftermath. Her stories were fruits in a tree-sweet and limited. She spoke of kings who could grip the sun in their hands, white-haired women who could make the sea dance, castles in clouds, and flowers that bloomed pure power.
That was before the curses.
Now the island was a shadow of itself, trapped in a forever storm that made traveling to it outside the Centennial impossible, by boat or even by enchantment.
One night, Isla had found the Eldress at the base of a tree, on her side. She might have thought the woman was sleeping, if her tanned skin hadn t become bark, if her veins hadn t turned to vines. Wildlings wielded nature in life and joined it in death.
But there had been nothing natural about the Eldress s passing. Even at over five hundred, even away from the strength of Lightlark, she had died too soon. Her death had been the first of many.
And the fault was Isla s.
Terra repeated her question, dark-green eyes the same color as the leaves and ivy that wrapped around the Wildling palace, a skin over everything. The same color as Isla s. Are you ready?
Isla nodded, though her fingers trembled as she reached for the crown in front of her. It was a simple gold band, adorned with golden buds, leaves, and a hissing snake. She placed it atop her head, careful not to interfere with the clips that kept her long, dark-brown hair out of her face.
Beautiful, Poppy said. Isla didn t need to hear the compliment to know it was true. Beauty was a Wildling s gift-and curse. A curse that had gotten her own mother killed. Which only made the fact that she supposedly had her mother s face all the more unsettling. Poppy met Isla s eyes through the mirror and said fiercely, You are enough, little bird. Better than any of them.
If only that was true.
Isla could feel a jolt of panic breaking her features in half. What if this was the last time she ever saw her guardians? What if she never returned to her room? Her hands acted on instinct, reaching for each of her guardians, wanting to touch them one last time.
Before she could, Terra gave her a stern look that made her go still.
Sentimentality is selfish, her stare seemed to say.
The Centennial wasn t about her. It was about saving her realm. Her people.
Chastised, Isla straightened her spine. She stood slowly, the heaviness of her crown far greater than its weight. I know what I must do, she said. Each ruler arrived at the Centennial with a plan. Terra and Poppy had hammered theirs into Isla since she was a child. I will follow your orders.
Good, Terra said. Because you are our only hope.
The Wildling castle was more outside than in. The halls were bridges. Trees extended their arms into the corridor, branches catching gently on her dress as if to say goodbye. Leaves rustled at Isla s sides as she walked through the endless chambers she wasn t allowed access to, Poppy and Terra right behind her. Vines crept across walls. Birds flew in and out as they pleased. Wind howled through the halls in a breeze that made Isla s cape billow behind her. She wore deep green to honor her realm, a fabric that clung to her ribs, waist, knees, and pooled at her feet. Her cape was made of gossamer, sheer enough to make its traditional purpose for modesty obsolete. And that choice represented her realm just as much as its color.
Wildlings had always been proud of their bodies, beauty, and ability. They had always l

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