We are delighted to be hosting the cover reveal with an excerpt for Adalyn’s Grace UK edition of All the Stars and Teeth.
Without further ado, here is the smugglerific cover!
About the book:
As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.
When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.
But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.
I’ve spent weeks preparing the contents in my satchel, ensuring every tooth and small bone is ready to be wound with a hair from the prisoner I’m to work my magic on.
Because while this may be a demonstration of magic, it’s also an execution.
I hear the rattle of chains before I see the prisoners they belong to. Ten of them—seven men and three women—and all branded on the neck with two bold Xs, the mark of someone tried and convicted for murder. Tonight, some of their brands are fake.
The guards drag them through the crowd of onlookers and to the base of the stone slab I’m perched upon. Then the guards back away, leaving the prisoners standing below me with fear and rage warring in their eyes.
My magic works in two ways—the ethereal soul reading, and the physical ability to end a soul through death. These prisoners are here to test the first side of my magic; I’m to determine whom I’m to execute by finding the irredeemable soul among the group.
Never in my life has an execution been public. Father and I perform them annually, late at night and deep within the underground prison, taking only the souls of Visidia’s most unforgivable prisoners to satisfy and quell our magic. For a person to have been selected for this demonstration, their soul would have to be beyond redemption.
The first in line is an older woman whose dark eyes catch mine sharply. I find my magic waiting in my belly and pull small pieces from it, waking the beast. Its warmth licks my skin, inviting me deeper into it by connecting me to this woman’s soul.
Magic spreads welcome heat through my veins and across my temples, and I sink into the power, relishing it. My vision fogs before quickly sharpening to reveal an entire garden of souls before me. They’re the colors of clouds—some like a threatening storm and others the clearest day—and they dance with the wispy motions of smoke. I press my nails into my palms for focus, and home in on the soul of the woman before me.
It’s like a dead starfish—faded, graying, rough, but ultimately still something that was once beautiful. She’s older, and with her age there’s been pain and hardships, enough to muddle and crack her soul.
This woman’s a fake. Someone only here to test me.
I step past her and move to the next prisoner, assessing his misty soul. It’s clouded by greed and wrath, and stained with the signs of murder. But he has remorse for the wrongs he’s committed. He feels his guilt, which means he’s not the one.
Swiftly but carefully moving through the line, magic scorches my core as I search soul after soul.
I know he’s the one the moment I find him. On the surface his gaze is cool, but the deeper I dig, the more rotted his soul becomes. It’s jagged and purpled like a bruise, peeling away at the edges and on its way to fading entirely. The wickedness of it chills me to the bone.
This man’s soul shows the tarnish of someone who has committed the foulest crimes imaginable, worse even than murder. Empty white space shines bright behind the peeling edges, telling me that there’s no going back for him. He holds no remorse for his choices, nor any sympathy for his victims.
Two guards step forward to lift the man onto the stone slab, while the other prisoners are pulled back. A few of them sigh in relief.
Beneath my lashes I peek up at Father. He nods, just barely, and I relax in knowing I’ve already succeeded with the first half of this performance. I picked the right prisoner, and now it’s time to prove mastery over the physical side of my magic.
“What’s your name?” I draw my dagger from its sheath on my thigh and use it to cut a handful of the man’s hair.
His answer comes in a voice so hoarse he has to cough to get it out. “Aran.”
“Aran,” I echo, “I have looked into your soul, and I have seen not only its corruption, but the pleasure you feel from the chaos and pain you’ve caused. You have no remorse for the crimes that have led you here, and I’ve found your soul too far gone to be repaired.”
Chills roll through my spine when he tips his head back and smiles. I try not to wonder who he killed, or if his family is watching from the crowd. As the future ruler of this kingdom, I cannot pity that family, and they know it. Aran certainly didn’t pity the families of his victims.
Silence builds as I steady my nervous breaths, strike a flint, and let the flames of the fire pit flare between us. “Do you have any last words?”
Aran spits at my feet, but I don’t flinch. Instead, I wrap the sheared hair around one of the teeth in my pile and skim my nail across it. His jaw twitches as he instinctively runs his tongue along the top of his teeth, and I know the magic’s working when I see the very moment fear settles into his bones.
“All right, then.” I hold the tooth above the fire. “Let’s begin.”
About the Author:
Adalyn Grace graduated from Arizona State University when she was nineteen years old. She spent four years working in live theater and acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper before studying storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra.
Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs, and spends her days writing full-time while trying to find the best burrito around. All the Stars and Teeth is her debut novel.
All the Stars and Teeth is out on the 7th of July in the UK.