Liquid Death is the first book of The Edinön Trilogy. It is sci-fi/fantasy/romance geared toward an audience aged 14 and up that enjoys simple, alternating first-person narrative with a deep plot. Kandi is 19 years old at the beginning of the book, and Juan, the other protagonist, is 18. They both have certain gifts that elevate them above regular people and keep them imprisoned for their value in an unethical, secret research facility posing as a mental hospital for youth.
(If you would like a free e-copy of Liquid Death in exchange for an honest review, message me here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org)
This excerpt is from Chapter 1: The New Aide, narrated by Kandi. I will keep all excerpts on this blog under a Read More tag. My commentary is at the very end, so keep reading if you would like to know more about the featured scene from the author’s perspective. 😉
When I met Alice, Jim’s fiancé, for the first time, I became more acquainted with her shoes than her actual face. I was incapable of looking at faces back then, so I remember quite clearly what her shoes looked like on December 14th, 2010.
They were pastel green flats with cute little bows on the toes. And they were the same shoes she wore when she was murdered.
Alice’s first reaction to meeting me in the courthouse was warm and friendly, but I didn’t feel anything. I was still in a corpse-like state, so emotions were almost a foreign concept to me.
“Oh, she’s adorable!” Alice squealed, kneeling in front of me. “And Kandi is such a cute name.”
“Careful, Alice,” Jim warned, his hand gently squeezing her shoulder. “Don’t touch her.”
“Okay, I won’t,” she assured him. Her attention turned to her purse, which was strapped over her shoulder. She retrieved an object from the purse and gave it to me. “I bought you a gift. Go ahead and open it.” She clapped her hands excitedly as I mutely obeyed. I tore the metallic purple wrapping from the hidden object and stared at it.
“It’s an MP3 player,” Alice explained. “You put music on it and listen to it.”
Music? When was the last time I listened to music?
“You’ll probably need help setting it up. I can put music on it for you.”
“Okay, let’s go,” Jim urged, clasping Alice’s hand. “Come on, Kandi. Let’s take you to your new home.”
I followed them outside to Jim’s car and sat in the backseat. Memories of similar instances resurfaced and swam in my head for the first time in years. My mom’s face appeared in my mind as she turned from the driver’s seat to lecture me. I shook the memory away and focused on my feet. The social workers had given me new fuzzy black boots, as well as an entire wardrobe of charity clothing. I didn’t know how I felt about this. I wasn’t used to clothes this soft.
“Okay, we’re here!” Jim announced happily. He got out of the car and opened the passenger door for Alice as she stepped out. We climbed up the narrow metal stairs on the side of the building to Jim’s apartment. Before walking in, I glanced over my shoulder at the wet street below. A tall man dressed all in black stood on the other side of the street. I couldn’t make out his face, but I had the distinct feeling that he was staring at me.
Later that night when I was settled in, and Alice and Jim were sleeping in the room down the hall, the floodgates opened. I listened to the music on my music device and remembered my mother’s laugh. I recalled smells and emotions and sensations. I also recalled the sting of the blade that killed me.
There are many questions raised in this flashback. That is the purpose of flashbacks in The Edinön Trilogy for the most part: to raise/answer questions that wouldn’t otherwise be raised/answered in the present. First, why couldn’t Kandi look at faces back then? Why was Alice murdered? Who killed her? Why did Jim warn Alice not to touch Kandi? Who was the tall man in black? What does it mean when she recalls “the sting of the blade that killed [her]”? Didn’t she mention that she couldn’t die earlier in the chapter?
To add context, Kandi was thirteen years old. She had just been released from Blue Skys, the facility in which she endured torturous interrogations and grisly experiments for almost two years at the hands of a team of Doctors working under her father, Jeremy. She was heavily sedated, as she is throughout nearly the entire book due to the danger she would pose if she could use her powers at full capacity. Hence, why Kandi struggled feeling anything until she played the music in her ears. As memories resurfaced of her life before her imprisonment in Blue Skys, she could not avoid remembering the night that changed everything.
I didn’t actually write this scene until the second draft. In the first draft, I only used Alice’s character once in a flashback where Alice read Kandi a story. The second time around, I decided to flesh her out a bit so the reader might be able to sympathize more with Kandi whenever she remembered her.
Alice was the first person to show love and concern for Kandi since the Incident on her twelfth birthday that “killed” her. Kandi grew attached to her very quickly, and her loss was devastating, yet telling. It served to further instill in Kandi a profound fear of saving people, which is one of the main emotional conflicts in the story. Alice ended up being more important than I anticipated, so on my first rewrite I delved into the side of me that squeals at cute things and formed Alice from that perspective.
Got any questions about this scene, the book, or the characters within? Leave a comment below. If you have a question that includes spoilers, send me a private message. 🙂
Excerpt #2 will be posted on September 17th.