(Ignite The Shadows #1)
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: April 23rd 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.
Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.
Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.
We approach at an unhurried pace. When we reach the van, the side door slides open. Oso waves us in. He wears a long-sleeve black t-shirt, black jeans and black boots. I frown. Is this a joke? Why are we dressed up and he’s not?
He shuts the door behind us. My eyes take a few seconds to adjust.
“Glad you decided to join us,” James says.
I blink and stare into the back of the van. It’s crowded, filled with people and what looks like surveillance equipment. All the blinking lights, knobs and computer monitors mesmerize me.
Aydan sits at the controls, wearing jeans, a turtleneck sweater and a beany—all black. Across from him, Clark looks like his twin.
I’m about to protest when I notice that James is also dressed up, sporting a tux that fits him like a glove and actually makes me think of Bond’s sophistication and good looks. I grin, itching to ask him if, by the way, he’s truly Bond … James Bond. My grin dies when—for some weird reason—an image of Dad flashes across my eyes, the way he looked in his wedding picture. He would have been about James’s age now, if not for that freak car accident.
I shake myself as Oso squeezes into the driver seat. Blare sits next to him, wearing a blond wig and ignoring us. The seat hides the rest of her body, but if the hair is any indication, she must be dressed up too.
James invites us to sit in the back seat. As we pass, Clark pulls on Xave’s jacket and wolf-whistles.
“Don’t touch me, you perv.” Xave slaps his hand away.
Xave and I stuff ourselves in the narrow seat and end up hip to hip. I squirm.
Oso starts the van. As we drive away from the bar, James explains, “This is a reconnaissance mission. You and Xave have two simple tasks. One, do as you’re told. Two, pay close attention.”
“Above all don’t freak out,” Clark offers with a sarcastic grin.
“What you will learn tonight,” James continues in a serious tone, “is nothing to joke about.” He gives Clark a disapproving glance that sobers him up. “This is serious. A matter of death and survival. If you aren’t prepared to be … terrified out of your skin, then we can stop. Right here, right now. You don’t have to come. Do you understand?”
Xave and I nod.
“Do you understand?” James asks, louder this time.
“Yes,” we both respond.
James’s eyes burn holes into mine, into Xave’s. He stares us down for what feels like five whole minutes. Then he asks, “If you saw a monster, would you scream?”
The quiet, deep rumble of his voice and the intensity of those gray eyes—which right now look black—put my hackles on end. Xave fidgets, tugs his shirt and smooths nonexistent creases.
“Xave?” James asks pointedly.
Is James really expecting an answer to this ludicrous question? Where is he taking us? Hannibal Lecter’s mansion? Are we invited to be someone’s dinner? What the heck?
“What do you mean … a monster?” Xave asks.
“Frankenstein, Dracula, Predator,” James whispers.
Xave blows air through his nose, smiles. “Um, I guess if I saw something like that I’d think it was a dude in a costume. So no, I wouldn’t scream. I’d laugh … or something.” His smile dies, as James’s expression appears anything but amused.
“What about you, Marci?” James’s eyes turn to me.
The humming in the back of my head intensifies. My stomach roils, as if a snake has made its lair in there. I’ve suspected for a long time that there’s more to the shadows than meets the eye. But monsters? Is James joking? Nausea tightens my insides. Fear floods me. Somehow I sense that what James wants to show us is real, and I won’t like it. Silence festers like an incurable disease.
Finally, I say, “I—I wouldn’t scream. I would … bite my tongue.”
James nods. Clark, Aydan, Oso and even Blare stare at me, tight-lipped.
“You follow her lead, little brother,” Clark tells Xave. “You follow her lead.”
Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.
She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, two kids and a cat named Mimi.
- IGNITE THE SHADOWS ebook + $25 Amazon Gift Card