Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQIA, Sci-fi, Young Adult
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Once in a hidden queendom…
There is an ocean: In the infinite distance, between one hidden world and the next, is an unmeasurable expanse of twenty seas. One sprawling edge of the world to another is filled with waters as beautiful as they are deadly, as miraculous as they are fraught. Treasure and treachery litter their ocean beds, sleeping side by side with adventurers whose travels ended abruptly, lives caught and held under a wave until all breaths fled.
There is a land: Tucked into a corner where four oceans fold together, land rises up illustrious in a jagged slash of mountains and forests, with secrets and wonders as plentiful as any water.
There are chronicles: Not of the twenty savage seas but of the fissure of land and the people who sigh life into it.
In an original epic fantasy world, Love In The Gilded Age reimagines the heroes and heroines of Grimm fairy tales as ethnically diverse, LGBT, disabled, and gender flipped.
Xanna drove herself forward, leaning into the run to propel them along. Her mother was trailing behind her but didn’t have an option except to follow as Xanna leapt from the last bit of land and crashed into the pond. She heard Koal’s strangled shout as she broke the surface, gasping and paddling wildly. She fought every bit of tiredness in her muscles as she dragged her mother from the depths of the water; she emerged spluttering and angry. “He will kill you for that,” her mother said without emotion. No fear for her daughter’s life, no regret, no anger, just a blank statement of facts.
“No,” Xanna hissed. “I won’t be the one dying today.”
“Three souls will pass in this last fight.” Her mother dissolved into the senseless chanting of before, only repeated the ominous three souls will pass in this last fight. At least she had the good sense to pump her legs and move her arms to stay afloat.
Xanna had to get the rope off them if her plan was going to work. She pulled at their bound wrists, fearful and frustrated, and the vine uncoiled as if in response to her wish at the same moment the Wolf reached the edge of the pool and leapt in. It loves my mother, Xanna thought, but found she didn’t care. She gripped the rope in a fist as she put three lengths between her mother, watching the Wolf wade sloppily through the water to the woman it loved.
She didn’t have long. Xanna had to act, and she had to be both quick and quiet about it—a impossibility now that her every movement made a splash. Still, she had to try. Koal was shouting at her from the clearing but she blocked out his warnings.
The Wolf only noticed her presence when she wrapped the vine around its neck and pulled it taut. Growling, it fought to face her but couldn’t spin and remain afloat at the same time. Xanna kicked her legs faster, unable to use her arms to keep her from a drowned death as she strangled the animal. She was slipping, on the verge of sinking. Without warning, the Wolf dipped underwater, testing her grip on the vine. She lost the rope.
Xanna looked around for it desperately. It was her only weapon.
The vine didn’t resurface but the Wolf did.
Saruuh Kelsey is the author of several novels for young adults, including the free Lux Guardians series and The Legend Mirror series. Her latest releases include THE BEAST OF CALLAIRE, the first novel of a new YA fantasy series, and a collection of diverse fairy tales in LOVE IN THE GILDED AGE. Find her online at saruuhkelsey.co.uk.