Dreams do come true…and so do nightmares.
Sign of the Throne
Book One in the Solas Beir Trilogy
by Melissa Eskue Ousley
Publication Date: September 14, 2013
Published by: Castle Gardens Publications
Genre: Young Adult
Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.
As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.
Abby spent the next evening babysitting for Cassandra and Riordan. She putthe kids to bed and laid out her homework on the coffee table downstairs. She was immersed in her work when she realized—the house was quiet. Eerily quiet.
She was used to the familiar creaks and groans of the old house, and night ushered in the occasional chirp of a cricket or flutter of moth wings around theantique sconces lighting the room. Tonight she heard nothing—there was only dead silence. She felt a prickle at the back of her neck and realized she was shivering. The room had gone unnaturally cold, and she had the distinct sense that she was not alone.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadowy presence, someone standing still, watching her. She turned to look, but there was no one there. She felt a terrible unease twisting in her gut. Something was wrong.
Responding to her intuition, she got up and climbed the stairs to check on thechildren. Ciaran was snoring, perfectly at peace. He had wriggled out of his covers in his sleep. Abby tucked him back in.
Leaving his room, she walked down the hall to the twins’ room. The nightlight inthe hallway began blinking erratically. She entered the room and froze. Perched monkey-like on the corner of Rowan’s crib was a shadowed figure thesize of a small boy, leaning over the sleeping child. Sensing Abby, it turned its head, blood-red eyes meeting hers.
Abby gasped with horror as the creature leapt with unnatural agility from thecrib and crouched like a spider high on the wall, staring down at her. Slowly, it smiled, revealing rows of pointed narrow teeth, sharp as razors. And then…it pounced.
Abby raised her arms to shield herself, scrunched her eyes shut, and screamed. But there was nothing. She heard a low chuckle behind her and saw the creature near the door. The shadow boy laughed and ran out. Thesmoky form changed into a large black housecat before disappearing throughthe hallway wall.
Abby ran to the twins’ light switch and turned on the lights. She checked to make sure Rowan and Siobhan were unharmed, and then hurried to Ciaran’s room, flicking on lights as she ran. Ciaran was still fast asleep—her scream had not disturbed him at all.
She jerked open his closet door and found his aluminum baseball bat. Then, scooping him and the quilt up from his bed, she ran back to Rowan and Siobhan’s room. She shut the door and nestled the five year old into a make-shift bed on the floor. Sitting against the dresser next to him, she hummed, trying to reassure herself. Armed with the bat and the adrenaline coursing through her body, she waited.
Dii's 5 Star Review:
Dreaming of castles and handsome boys shouldn’t become nightmares, but for Abby, an ordinary girl, so she thinks, her nightmares are far too real. In a parallel world, evil has a plan to destroy a kingdom and it may spread to the human realm if no one can stop it and time is running out. A baby, heir to the throne of his realm is stolen and brought through a magical portal, left on the doorstep of a wealthy and childless couple, his memory of his past life and his future destiny will be erased forever, if someone does not intervene in time. His mother, the queen follows through the portal, but is powerless to save him. Enter Abby, whose nightmares will lead her to this young man and perhaps fulfill her own true destiny. Will she rescue him in time? Will she be able to make him remember who he really is? The clock is ticking and evil looms.
Sign of the Throne by Melissa Eskue Ousley is an engaging and enchanting young adult tale that took me into another world, as the battle between good and evil is waged in two realms. Her descriptions are intense, intricate and each world feels right, from the reality of the world we know to the mystical qualities of Cai Terenmare, as these worlds are woven together with words. From quirky to cute, to totally human to misguided and evil, Ms. Ousley paints her characters in full living color! And bless her; there is even a glossary to help understand names, places and everything! The author’s imagination is a treasure chest of wonder, and I’m happy to have shared in its bounty!
Looking for fantasy, young romance, and a chance to help save the world? I highly recommend Sign of the Throne and am looking forward to the next books in this trilogy!
Special Guest Post
Melissa Eskue Ousley
Worlds collide in Sign of the Throne when Abby, a girl from middle-class Santa Linda, California, interacts with people from upper-class Newcastle Beach. Because of her lower socio-economic status, she experiences bullying from teen heiress Michal Sloane, and discrimination from wealthy Moira Buchan. However, she finds mentors in Moira’s nephew, Riordan, and his wife Cassandra, who help Abby navigate the cultural nuances of their elite community. Cassandra, a professor at the University of Santa Linda, helps Abby prepare for her future by teaching her how to succeed in college and how to interact in various social situations.
David Corbin experiences a different kind of culture clash when he learns about his origins in a magical parallel realm. Adopted and raised by affluent Newcastle Beach parents, David has no idea that he is the lost heir to the throne of Cai Terenmare, nor does he realize the challenges he will face as a leader who is considered an outsider.
Cai Terenmare is a world steeped in tradition--some good, some bad. The people in this realm speak formally and wear all white when attending affairs of state. The kingdom has a set hierarchy, and the council of the Solas Beir, ruler of Cai Terenmare, has long been represented by the upper caste. Before he was assassinated, David’s father made strides in changing this. Ardal selected more diverse council representatives from smaller, less-wealthy villages in the kingdom and in welcoming outcasts like the mysterious winged-woman Erela. He appointed a woman named Obelia to head his council, and relied on the wisdom of Gorman, a tiny man with indigo skin and one of the last members of an ancient race, who serves as the kingdom’s historian and librarian. But the wealthy nobles of Caislucis continue to rely on servants to perform basic tasks, and women and the poor still face bias in the eastern region of Cai Terenmare. There is irony in this, because the Solas Beir is meant to be a servant to his people, using his supernatural abilities to help his people and eliminate injustice, providing an example for others to follow.
David will need Abby’s help to prove his worth as Solas Beir and succeed in his new world. Abby’s experiences with bias will give her insight into the troubling issues she and David uncover in Cai Terenmare. David must reconcile his own privileged upbringing with his new role as Solas Beir, and decide what kind of leader he wants to be. Will he accept the traditions of his ancestors…or challenge them?
About Melissa Eskue Ousley
Melissa Eskue Ousley is the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. “Sign of the Throne,” the first book of this
young adult fantasy series, will be released on September 14. She is currently working on the second and third novels in the trilogy, “The Rabbit and the Raven” and “The Sower Comes.”
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found swimming, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.
Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping roadkill off a molten desert highway to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona.
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