Beware the Night
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 12th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
On the island of Bellona, they worship the sun. Seventeen-year-old Veda understands that keeping the sun content ensures plentiful crops, peace and harmony, and a thriving economy. But as a member of the Basso class, she never reaps those benefits.
Life as a Basso is one fraught with back-breaking work and imposing rules. Her close friendship with Nico is Veda’s one saving grace in a cruel world where the division between her people and the ruling Dogio is as wide and winding as the canals that snake through their island.
But when Veda’s grandfather is chosen as the next sacrificial offering to keep the sun’s favor, Veda is forced to see the injustice of her world. Turning away from the sun means she must join the night—and an underground revolution she’s been taught to fear all her life.
Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019. More at http://www.jessikafleck.com
“Nico and I meet on the other side of the gate to the Hole, under the same tree as always. He tags along most days, but his excuses for being here are growing thin as his Dogio engagements only increase. Sure, today he had a valid story to be at the Hole, but what will he come up with tomorrow?
“How was James?” I ask as Nico approaches.
He smiles proudly, showing the deep dimple in his cheek. It’s adorable when he’s happy. Nico’s smile: one of my favorite sights in the world. “Nervous, but he did well.”
“You went over it enough with him—he could probably do the motions in his sleep.”
He laughs. “Sort of—he said he dreamed about it last night. Maybe I was a little too hard on the kid. He’ll make a fine Imperi officer in a few years though.”
At the word officer my stomach falls. My smile must falter because Nico’s dimple disappears. Expression replaced with concern, he steps closer. “What’s the—”
“I’m fine.” It’s like an automatic response these days.
“The Imperi stuff?”
I shake my head and shrug, but . . . “There’s no point getting into it.” I glance over his shoulder. “Especially not here.” His friend Arlen is quickly striding toward us. Always in a hurry. Always dragging Nico off to one thing or another after fishing, like clockwork.
“Denali!” Arlen shouts Nico’s last name. “Blessed be the light!”
“Blessed be the light.” Nico throws the greeting out even though he’s still facing me. He then takes a step away and frowns, disappointment showing in his dimple. He turns toward Arlen, raising his eyebrows. “Let me guess, my father sent you.”
“What can I say, he knows who to turn to, to get things done.” So humble. “Hey, Veda.” Arlen makes sure to stare several seconds extra at the place where my shawl is unraveling. “Blessed be the light.”
“Blessed be the light, Arlen.” I sort of smile by setting my mouth into a hard line, because he’s perpetually two steps behind Nico. Always spying over Nico’s shoulder. All thanks to Lord Denali. Since Nico’s father can’t be sure his son stays on task himself, he’s employed an annoying substitute. “Where to today?”
Arlen laughs. “Where to today . . .” He seems to size me up to see whether I’m being serious or not. I’m not. Of course, I know what event Nico’s being summoned to instead of his attending his usual mentoring classes, but I keep the guy hanging for fun by shrugging. “Ever. Sol. Feast.”
“Oh . . . Right.” I catch Nico’s eye. He folds his arms over his chest, avoiding eye contact with me, probably to hold back a laugh.
“Are you serious, Veda? It only happens every year,” Arlen goes on. And on . . . He talks about how he’ll forgive me for not remembering . . . That he forgets Basso don’t celebrate the great feast when everyone brings blessings of lavish food and prays to the Sun to please shine throughout this dark night . . . That when it does happen—and it will happen, Arlen believes, he truly does—the Sun will finally snuff out the Night and their evil ways for good.
We should be so lucky.
Meanwhile, Nico and I are communicating without words. He raises an eyebrow, what I assume to mean “Are you and Poppy ready for tonight?”
I give a slight nod. Kind of. Are we ever?
He smiles softly, more concerned than pleased. But if you’d only let me help . . .
Yeah, right. Like you could. Like your father would allow you to be five feet from your front door tonight.
You’re right. I hate that you’re right . . .
Or something like that. We’ve had this conversation before, so it’s easy to fill in the blanks.”