Publication date: September 1st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.
Until Keiron arrives.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.
Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.
READ Chapter Three: House Windhook
“Did you feel it?” Saiinov asked his wife, who sat overlooking the scrying pool, her face a mask of cultivated strength. He was a handsome, angular man with a face made of masculine planes under eyes that glittered with dark intensity. His hair, nearly black, was cut short in the way of swordsmen, who left nothing to chance in their brutal occupation. He smiled often, but most frequently when looking at his wife or children. Despite his position of power, Saiinov’s greatest glory was his family, and his fond looks revealed a kindness hidden under the guise of a man who was at the absolute peak of his skill as a Skywatcher.
“Yes, it’s happened. He’s gone.” Vasa was a brave woman of rare intellect, but the departure of her youngest child left shadows dancing under the pretense of impassive control. She was lithe, with long honey hair and eyes that ranged from blue to gray depending on the skies. Her lips were full, and kind, often pulled upward in a look of thoughtful mirth. Vasa wore her joy outside for all to see, and it kept her luminous with beauty well into her middle years. Her expression grew younger still when she spoke of her children, especially Keiron. His birth set him apart from all others, lending him a special status among the family, although to admit such a thing was beneath Vasa’s loving sensibilities.
He was her baby, in some ways. Saiinov certainly thought of him that way, although their opinions varied at to Keiron’s ultimate purpose in life.
She trailed two fingers through the water of the pool. Twin ripples tracked outward to rebound from the far edges, their power diminishing only slightly with the distance. Soon, the pool would fall quiet again, but not before she saw Keiron landing in a field of cut stalks and tattered snow. It looked like late winter, that time when the hopeless see nothing but gray. In truth, they’re right, as the darkest months are always longest. Saiinov watched over her bare shoulder, the flesh stippled with a chill or fear; he couldn’t be certain which, and respected her too much to ask for clarification. She wore a simple robe of the Scholar, which was her calling, but on her it became something living. Each curve of her body was a testament to the power and daring she used to assure their family’s success. That made what had just happened all the more difficult, and he knew it. His touch was light, but filled with care. She was mother, and teacher, and protector. He was curator, and hunter, and master over the winds, and in that moment there was nothing that either of them could do for their youngest child, who had fallen through the skies to save a girl with a connection to House Windhook that only they could understand.
“How long do you think we have before the Crescent Council will know?” she asked.
It was a reasonable question. Keiron would be missed, sooner or later. It might be a friend, although the boy had few. It might be a new routine, or a missed detail, but someday soon his presence would be missed, and shortly after that the council would know. Then, things would get interesting.
“A week, perhaps? I think that we should hope for ten days, but plan for seven.” Saiinov was practical to a fault in times like this. He had to be. As a man who chased demons through the clouds, he could afford little in the way of dreams, because dreams led to mistakes. In his chosen pursuits, you were only allowed one such error, and then your House would be carving your name on the Columns of the Lost.
“Seven, then. I think that feels right.” There were tears in her eyes. She hoped against everything that their son would be brave and bold. They knew he was pure; of that there could be no doubt.
Among their six children, only Keiron had a default setting of kindness. Garrick, the closest to him, was the least likeable of all, and yet Keiron had always managed to share love and compassion with his only brother. Their four sisters were all older, and thus occupied with different things. As with all eldest children, Prista had become a Scholar, like her mother. She dove into the past, seeking the meanings of glyphs so old that their very shape had been forgotten, and nearly lost to the depths of time. The mists were unkind to items of the distant peoples who had come before House Windhook and her allies, and Prista’s ability was solidly in the class of the great masters. To master one’s future, it was necessary to understand the past.
Habira was second eldest and a born warrior. Even as a child, she’d shown no fear of the winds and heights, choosing her path as a Skywatcher on the earliest date that she could declare. She was bold, and brash, and utterly calm in the face of danger. Of all their children, it was Habira to whom they could trust their lives, because her martial skills were surpassed only by those of her father.
The twins, Banu and Vesta, shared everything except men. Their interests had clarified to a diamond focus upon entering their second round of Seeking; it was there that they found a destiny for their inquisitive minds and patient hands. They were master Watershapers, whose powers at molding deep cloud banks of immense power were known across the breadth of the empire. Every time Saiinov heard the distant roll of thunder, he wondered if his daughters had been the source of that immense power, and his heart fairly sang with pride as it did for all of his children. Even vain, beautiful Garrick was an untapped well of power. Vasa declared that when Garrick could harness his pride, he would then find the heart of a Windshaper beating in his chest. But he was young, and not yet seasoned enough to let emotion fall to the wayside when talent wished to muscle forth.
It was silent in their home, save the distant whisper of breezes that had other places to go. They sat next to each other, hand in hand, wondering what changes were in store for the family. Or the empire, for that matter, because House Windhook was no minor polity to be discounted should there be a catastrophe. The ocean of sky was mankind’s last refuge, and it was houses like theirs that made life—civilization, even—possible. They both looked through their home, with walls of whirling shapes and the delicacy of a long lost shell, tossed onto the sands of a beach that was lost to forever to humanity. Everything around them spoke of a place where water and sky grew together, life taking cues from memories that were so distant as to be legends. After long moments of companionable quiet, Vasa grew somber as the enormity of their path began to take hold in the recesses of her awareness. Then she saw Saiinov’s lips moving, silently, and knew that their histories were being made regardless of her desires. Angels would move forward from their comfortable roost, or they would die as a people. There was nowhere in which to be safe, not if they wanted to be free.
As one, they cast prayers to the winds, watching as the words were carried up, then down, and hoping that in the end of it all the words would find their son. It was all they could do for the moment, and that had to be enough.
“I always thought that books could be either a friend or an enemy. It depended on if you wanted to read the truth.”
I suppose I should just stop reading fantasies from other indie authors now. Ok, I’m just kidding. I couldn’t really limit myself in such a way. And this is so much for than fantasy anyway.
Maggert has once again created a world I want to crawl into and never exit. In Heartborn we see a return to the prose style I fell in love with in Banshee, this time with several books of experience in between so that the author’s skill has been honed the way an assassin’s blade is sharpened- to a fine point.
Full of wit and verve, Keiron and Livvy’s tale has many facets, in which we are presented a myriad of characters and settings to soak up and fall for (no pun intended.) This is such an interesting mix of serious and hysterical that I couldn’t help but enjoy what lay in store. My only complaint is that it’s just one book. I’d like another 3, or 4, pretty please.
5 stars and my thanks to the author for the review opportunity!
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.
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