Excerpt: From Breath and Ruin - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

In her YA debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan dives into a world with magic and sacrifice with the Elements of Five.

Five hundred years ago, the Maison Realm was shattered, divided into warring kingdoms of elemental Wielders with fate and truth shadowed and uncertain. Now, factions of both the light and dark venture into the human realm in search of the prophesied Spirit Priestess who is said to Wield the Elements of Five to bring the two fractured kingdoms together.

Lyric has no idea that there’s a realm outside the human one she lives in. When fate and circumstances are pulled from her hands after an accident, she finds out that nothing is as it seems.

War is raging around her, and when Lyric realizes that they are searching for her, she must rely on those she once trusted as she trains: a boy who isn’t who she thought, and a new realm of warriors who have come to protect her.

For the darkness is coming, and the Queen of Obscurité wants to ensure that the King of Lumière can’t get his hands on Lyric. And the only way to ensure that is if Lyric herself is no more…no matter the cost to prophecy.

Series:

The Elements of the Fives (5-book series)

Book 1

Book Type:

YA Fantasy Romance

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Excerpt: From Breath and Ruin
By Carrie Ann Ryan

Excerpt: From Breath and Ruin

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan makes her foray into YA fantasy with the first book in a five-book series—a world brimming with magic, romance and intrigue. I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from her new book, FROM BREATH AND RUIN (out March 19th), with you today!

Rosamond looked between the three of us, a curious look on her face that I couldn’t read. She was about to step aside when the hairs on the back of my neck rose, and something skittered just out of my line of sight.

A shadow.

I turned, my heart beating fast as I tried to catch what I thought I could see out of the corner of my eye. But before I could fully turn, Rosamond shoved her way through the three of us, moving Braelynn and Emory to the sides and me backwards enough that I almost fell. Again.

“What the hell?” Emory asked, turning, a glare on her face. She shoved her dark hair back behind her ears and moved toward Rosamond.

Braelynn put out a hand, stopping her, and Emory glared at her instead. “Stop. Something’s wrong.”

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong. We shouldn’t be here.”

“No,” Rosamond said softly, her hands outstretched, and her long, dark hair blowing in the wind. “They shouldn’t be here.” And with those oddly terrifying words echoing in my ears, I finally looked at what Rosamond saw.

“Oh, God.” I hadn’t even realized that I’d said the words aloud until Braelynn and Emory both looked at me, confusion on their faces. Maybe they couldn’t see what I could, what Rosamond obviously could, but that wasn’t any different than before. Perhaps I was truly losing my mind.

The monster I had seen at the burrito place had found friends, and they were prowling toward the house. The shadows each had long fangs, dark eyes that glowed red, and even longer claws that dug into the ground, tilling the soil and browning the grass.

Rosamond stood in front of us as five monsters crawled our way. I had no idea what she was doing. She was so small, like a tiny dancer, and yet she looked as fierce as a warrior right then, ready to battle against these…things.

Rosamond looked over her shoulder at me, and I swore I could see something in her eyes that spoke of someone far older, something that spoke of memories and an age that didn’t make sense.

Then she turned away and held out her arms. She whispered something under her breath, and a bright light shot out from her hands, making me take a step back into Braelynn. A film slid down from the sky, almost like when you break an egg over a glass bowl, and the sides become harder to see through. Now, I could only see the lawn, my friends, and those monsters. It felt as if the rest of the world wouldn’t be able to see what was going on within the bubble, and yet we couldn’t truly see outside of it either.

Or, maybe I had hit my head, and none of this was real.

Then, a monster jumped.

Rosamond ducked out of the way, and I ran toward her, knowing I wasn’t strong enough to help. But I couldn’t just leave her alone out there.

“Get inside!” I yelled to my friends. “Go!”

Emory turned on her heel, but as soon as she did, one of the shadows grabbed her ankle, tossing her off the steps. She fell hard and didn’t get up. I screamed, but before I could help her, another shadow picked up Braelynn and threw her into a car. It didn’t seem like it was too hard, but Braelynn let out a soft sound and then passed out, lying near the tire as the shadow turned away and stared at me.

Directly at me.

“Crap.”

This was real. All of this was real. And I had no idea how to fight these things. I wasn’t a fighter, I wasn’t even good at watching action movies because I got bored. I looked over to my right, and Rosamond was fighting four of the monsters, moving her hands in weird patterns I didn’t understand. Somehow, without even touching them, the shadows flew away, hitting the ground hard and making deep grooves in the yard where they landed, only to scramble back and try to get at Rosamond again. She seemed to be holding her own, even if I didn’t know how she was doing it.

That left the fifth monster to me, it’s dark, ash-covered skin reminding me of a picture of a Hell Hound I’d seen when I was younger. Maybe it was from the pits of hell, and this was my apocalypse.

The thing lurched toward me and met my gaze. I couldn’t look away, but I couldn’t run either. I knew it would chase me, and I couldn’t leave my friends lying unconscious, possibly hurt—or worse.

I swallowed down the bile that threatened to rise at that thought, then ducked quickly when the shadow jumped at me. Somehow, I remembered my meager self-defense training from my single class and rolled over my shoulder to land on my feet. I didn’t do it particularly well and almost fell on my face, but the shadow’s claws at least missed me.

I whirled around, then fell on my side when the shadow jumped again. That time, I hadn’t been fast enough. It raised a clawed hand at me, and I shielded my face, knowing that I wouldn’t be quick enough to get away, but hoping it would miss me somehow.

Or maybe I just knew that I wasn’t strong enough to fight.

If I got out of this alive, I’d find a way to learn. I never wanted to feel this helpless again. But before I could lament even more, the shadow screamed, a terrifying, high-pitched sound that made me shut my eyes…but only for a moment.

I needed to know what had made the shadow shriek.

Because if something could hurt it, it could hurt my friends and me, too.

But as the shadow was tossed off of me, I saw that it wasn’t another monster.

No, it was the boy with the dark skin and the silver eyes.

The one I had come to talk to.

Rhodes growled, and the earth shook beneath me as if it were just as angry as he was. Or maybe I was the one shaking. I didn’t know, but I knew I couldn’t stay where I was for long. I crawled away, my legs too weak for me to stand yet. I tried to get to Braelynn since she was closer, but I kept looking over my shoulder to see what Rhodes and Rosamond were doing, not quite believing my eyes at what I saw.

They both moved their hands in motions too fast for me to truly see, seeming to blow the monsters away from them and into the ground with such force, I could feel it through my hands and knees as I crawled. The shadows bled red from where the rocks cut into them and from where Rhodes stabbed at them, and I knew I’d never get the image of the battle out of my mind until the day I died. I just hoped that day was a long time from now.

I finally turned away from the fighting that was so out of my depth and stood up on shaky legs, trying to run toward my friends. Maybe if I could get to them and pull them into the house, I could call for help. I didn’t know who I could call in to fight demon shadows, but perhaps I could do something. Though as soon as I got to Braelynn, I remembered that I shouldn’t move someone that could have a back injury. The same with Emory. Tears threatened.

I was weak.

Darn it, I was so freaking weak, and I hated myself for it.

So, I forced back the tears and went to Braelynn’s side, cupping her face.

“Braelynn, be okay. Please, wake up.”

Her eyes fluttered open and, this time, I let the tears fall. She looked confused but didn’t move, and I knew the fear wasn’t over, not by a long shot, but she’d opened her eyes, and that had to count for something.

Before I could say anything, though, something tugged at my shoulder and dragged me a few feet away from her. I kicked and screamed, then lost my breath as I looked up into the red eyes of a shadow.

Only, it wasn’t a shadow. I knew that now. It wasn’t just something from my dreams or a trick of the eyes.

It was real.

And it hovered over me.

Waiting.

And since I hadn’t been able to fight back in my dreams, I kicked out and punched, trying to do something instead of just lying there, waiting for the thing to end my life. The impact of the kick rocked my body, and I teetered on my other foot, but I didn’t fall.

The monster growled at me, so I kicked again, my foot aching from the second impact.

It lowered its head, so I punched it in the mouth, the shock from the blow sending a hot wave of pain down my arm.

It didn’t do anything.

Just hovered.

Then it screamed when Rosamond jumped on its back like she was riding a bull in a rodeo. I’d never seen anything like it. Of course, as of ten minutes ago, I’d never seen anything like this at all.

No, that wasn’t right, I’d seen one at the burrito stand, but I hadn’t fought it, I hadn’t seen someone ride one while fighting and using strength that seemed to come out of nowhere.

I crawled out from under the shadow, caught sight of Rhodes fighting off the other four by himself, and got to my feet again. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a branch near the edge of the house, so I ran toward it, hoping I would be fast enough. You are a runner, I reminded myself. I was good at something. Though it wasn’t like I could do much with that skill. I dragged the branch over to where Rosamond fought the other shadow monster and slammed it into the creature’s side. It cried out, looked at me, then screamed again when Rosamond did something with her hands. It was as if she were dancing her hands in the air, her fingers moving in an intricate pattern, pushing and pulling in a way I didn’t understand.

Suddenly, the red light in its eyes faded, and it fell to the ground.

I blinked, then looked over to the side, only to see Rhodes doing the same to two more of the shadow monsters, leaving three large bodies on the ground as the other two fell back, circling us. I swayed on my feet, dizzy and confused, but I kept myself up. Rhodes stepped toward me, then widened his eyes.

I looked over my shoulder and, this time, it was me who screamed, not the monsters.

The other two shadows had circled us, and in doing so, something dark that looked like a portal from a movie I had once seen opened up near where Braelynn lay, still so still it scared me. The monsters jumped over her, though, and came straight for me.

I fell to my knees as one slammed into my side, the pain ricocheting through me. Nothing was broken, but I knew I was bruised. And, it wasn’t over.

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