Today we have an excerpt from the awesome book Crusade Across Worlds by CG Coppola. If you haven’t read my review of it, here it is:
It’s another awesome entry in the Arizal series!
As the book description says, Fallon finishes her training and joins the usual crew – including the super hot Reid – on an adventure that sees them moving seamlessly from world to world. Fallon has grown as a character, not just personal growth, but physical growth as well. She’s gone from being a pretty normal twenty-something in book 1 to a kick butt fighter. This is a transition that few authors handle well, and generally leave me shaking my head and saying “yeah right,” – but not Coppola! She handles it beautifully and makes Fallon’s transition feel not only plausible, but believable.
Another thing she does well is turn a phrase. I always enjoy her writing and this book was no exception. Several of the descriptions, such as “His fingers unfold like flower petals in bloom”, literally made me stop reading and think “Dang! I wish I’d thought of that!”
And did I mention Reid? Still as hot as ever, a little bit of a love triangle gives him the chance to be just possessive enough to be hot, but not so possessive as to be creepy. Even better, I appreciate the way Fallon handles it – no throwing herself at the other guy like so many book heroines do.
Basically this book (and thes series) are a perfect example of the right way to handle…well… everything! Coppola has an amazing sense of timing and flow, and seems to know just when we need some action, or some tension, or a tragic flashback, or some romance. I don’t want to get into too much because of spoilers, but I can say that I loved, loved this book and I love, love this author and am so excited for whatever she writes next!
And to show you what I mean, here’s an excerpt! To explain a bit, Fallon can talk telepathically with Sampson, hence their silent conversation:
A sharp zap hits my back, immobilizing me. My instinct is to scream, but I have no voice, no way of responding. I drift to the ground, helpless, vulnerable. Reid curses and then another body falls next to mine—I think it’s Tucker. White blasts flash back and forth but I’m too distracted. Everything is numb, like my body isn’t mine, like I’m just a pair of eyes, lying here, watching this.
A terrifying thought hits me.
Oh God…what if I’m paralyzed?
Sampson, we’re at the Gorgen Fields. There’s a rock formation in the middle and an entrance that leads inside. The Shadow Bag is here.
You are sure?
We’re here. But Perio and Varielle are too. Reid and Walker are fighting them but Tucker and me…we’re hit. I-I don’t know. I can’t feel my body.
Stay calm. I’m nearly there.
Maris and the others are watching the city. Clarence and I are almost there. We’ll get you out.
I try looking at Tucker, but I can’t feel my head. I can’t feel anything except for my eyes, which continue to dart about, watching the fight as it flashes with each white blast above me. Reid and Walker shoot past the center boulder that holds the Shadow Bag, lighting up the other end of the small cave and sending rock crumbling around the Muskos.
Reid glances over at me. “Fallon!”
My lips won’t move. I can’t tell him that I can’t feel or move a thing. I also can’t tell him that Sampson and Clarence are on their way. Right now, I’m useless.
Reid continues shooting at Perio and Varielle when a painful cry erupts and Walker falls next to Tucker, motionless.
It’s Reid against the two of them. How much longer can he—
And then Reid is on the ground next to me, his eyes piercing mine with panic. An eerily chipper laugh rings through the darkness and the next moment, a bright white glow illuminates the tiny underwater cave. Perio and Varielle are at the other end of it, and casually making their way over, the Musko leader presents a hand-held object shaped similarly to the Enidd. Except it’s glowing white and filled with some soft, jelly-like liquid.
“Word of advice: if you are going to follow your enemy into a dark corner, make sure you bring the better weapon,” he smirks. Swimming between us, Perio examines our motionless states with satisfaction. “Do you like how that feels? It is my own creation—a serum that immobilizes you, yet you are able to feel every ounce of pain I wish to inflict,” his gaze falls on me. “Shall we start with the female?”
Grabbing the front of my suit, Perio jerks me from the ground and my arms fall back.
“So many ways…” he sighs. “I could remove the headgear and watch her turn blue as she drowns. But that is…too fast. Would you not agree? Hmm…” he strokes his chin in contemplation. “Any removal of the suit and it would crush her bones…a definite possibility, but she would most likely pass out or die from too much crushing pressure and I need her awake for this.”
“So many options…”
“Just kill her and get it over with,” Varielle snaps. “There are three more to play with.”
“Oh this is not a game, sweet princess. This is justice.”
“You can seek justice on all three. In fact, I believe that,” she points at Tucker with disgust, “is the human who had the audacity to court Ariana.”
Still clutching me, Perio scowls. “Filthy mongrel. I shall save you for last. You can watch your friends die and then I will feed you to the Gorgens.”
“We must make this quick, Perio. The fighting will not last too much longer,” Varielle swims for the top of the central boulder and after a moment, returns with a seaweed-knit bag like the kind we used to collect the Dilly. “If you wish to take your time, bring the humans back and we can give a show to the Muskos. They deserve a reward for their service.”
“Hmm…” he scratches his chin again. “Perhaps you are right. We shall bring the mongrel back and fillet him alive. That will prove entertaining indeed. But you,” he snarls at me. “You will die here, female. You tried to convince my Ariana that I was evil, that she should be with a human—a human!”
“Shall I fillet you, too?” his livid eyes flicker between mine. “Cut you up piece by piece and feed you to my army? That would serve for your misdeeds. Or should I just slit your throat?” he retrieves a black blade. “So many options…”
“There are many things I would like to do to you, but I am afraid I need to make this quick. Have no fear,” he brings the blade to my throat, right below my helmet, “I will make this as painful as possible.”
A loud boom erupts and Perio hisses, dropping me and the blade.
“Hands off, asshole!” Pratt fires her Enidd again, knocking him back a second time. She keeps going, firing round after round until Perio finally jerks behind the boulder for shelter.
“Why you little…” Varielle jumps out just as Sampson and Clarence race in, Enidds raised and pointed.
White blasts fill the cave again and suddenly, Arizal Mybyncians rush in, filling the small space. Varielle and Perio back up as far as they can, scanning their limited options. Grabbing something from his side, Perio retrieves the same tiny sphere-like object that Lolin threw at us during our first night in the FH. He tosses it up. When the device reaches the ceiling, it explodes, sending pieces of rock crumbling down. I’m shifted back, cradled by someone’s arms as black dust settles.
“No!” I hear Varielle scream. “I have dropped it!”
“But we must—”
“NOW!” Perio roars and the two of them swim out of the new opening above, taking the light with them. Everything is opaquely dark again.
“Fallon?” Clarence calls.
I can’t speak…but I’m here. Someone has me.
A white blast goes off and in that fleeting moment, Clarence spots me along with Reid, Tucker and Walker, who are propped up beside me. “Pratt,” he turns to her, “I need you to stand here and shoot upward every three seconds. Right into that hole they blasted. Understand?”
“Yup,” she says and fires the first round.
In the flash of light, I see Clarence making his way over.
You can’t speak, he says, why can’t you speak? What did he do to you?
Shot us with something. Some serum that immobilizes us. Says he made it himself.
Another flash of light and he’s in front of me.
Well, if it’s home-made, I’m sure it’s not permanent. We’ll have the Healers take a look, he sweeps his arms under me and cradles me against his chest.
Is everyone at the city okay?
They’re fine. His intention was always to bring the army here, he turns around. Speaking of… “Sampson—did you hear what I did? Did Varielle say she dropped it?”
“You mean the Shadow Bag’s here?” Pratt fires another white blast. “In this rubble somewhere?”
“Just keep shooting…” Clarence nods, still cradling me to his chest. “I’ll take the kids back if you want to look for it.”
“We shall help, Fychu,” three guards swim closer. “It would be our honor.”
A bright flash and I see Sampson nod, indicating that Pratt should return with us. A guard switches places with her and she joins Clarence’s side.
“Come on, guys. We need to get back to the city,” he carries me out of the cave and toward Lalu who is outside, waiting. Three other guards bring the boys behind us as Clarence peeks back. “And you four need to get un-immobilized. It’s weird not hearing anyone talk,” he places me on Lalu and jumps on, securing us. “Boy this is going to be one long, quiet ride.”