Friends, as the title of this post suggests, this is not a drill. This is actually happening. I am not even exaggerating when I say that I never ever imagined that I would be given the honor to write this post. In case you’re still a little bit lost, you can easily refer to the incredibly unsubtle hint I dropped on Twitter recently:
Yep, I can officially tick off “reveal the book cover of my favorite author queen’s upcoming release on my blog” off my book blogging bucket list! I am extremely ecstatic and humbled to announce that today, I am introducing the book cover of Rin Chupeco’s next YA fantasy novel, The Never Tilting World, to all of you!
AGAIN: I AM REVEALING THE STUNNING BOOK COVER FOR THE NEVER TILTING WORLD OH MY GOD YAS!!!
On the off chance that you just stumbled across my virtual space for the first time, let’s catch you up a little bit: Rin Chupeco is the brilliant Filipino author who upped my reading game (and to some extent, my blogging game) for the rest of my life. Her recently concluded trilogy, The Bone Witch, is solely responsible for sparking my interest in Asian-inspired fantasy and for reigniting my passion towards advocating inclusive diversity in all forms of media, especially literature.
And fast forward to this momentous occasion: ya girl has become a die-hard champion* of diverse books and is seconds away from doing the grandest reveal of all time(!!!). Truly, all the gods smiled down on me and millions of stars aligned in my favor. Nothing brings me greater joy than the knowledge that after reading this post, I’ll have all of you sobbing.** Our fragile mortal heartsglass aren’t ready.
* Not to toot my own horn or anything.
** Let this be your soft, gentle, and friendly reminder that that sobbing uncontrollably, continuous drooling, and screaming silently into the virtual void are all totally normal, if not encouraged, reactions. Just make sure to hydrate after reading this post!
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea—her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses—along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger—set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK!
The royal Sun Goddess, Heiress to the Realms of Light, Blessed of the Sun, Second of the Blood, and enemy of my people, was a blithering idiot.
She sat atop the beast’s cadaver and wept, paying no attention to my approach. The Salt Sea had receded again, the third time in the last month alone, leaving nothing but acrid black sand, several more miles of useless territory on the Skeleton Coast—ironic, because this hadn’t been a coast in decades—and this gruesome offering in its wake. The corpse was easily two hundred tons and a hundred feet long and had perished long before the waters gave it up to dry land.
Her hands pressed down against the heavy spines along the creature’s back, and I saw patterns of Light gathering around the goddess, sparking and hissing like she was a flint from which life could spring forth. She pushed, and the ridges underneath her rippled in response to her frantic movements. But for all her efforts, the beast remained inert, and silent, and dead.
She was alone. You’d expect an armed escort with someone of her importance, so my assumption of idiocy obviously held. I wore armor forged by Stonebreaker craftsmen, a necessity to survive the heat out in the desert and the near-lethal rays of the sun, but she wore none that I could see.
An idiot, even for a goddess. When the fires flickered low and the silence in the caves went on for too long, the elders would tell us how the Sun Goddess Latona had ripped the sky in two and feasted on her twin sister’s heart, dooming us to a lifetime of wasteland because she could not stop craving the light. That this goddess, Latona’s daughter, was just as cruel. We were born hating them. We had every reason to.
I would never have this chance again. This was my opportunity to kill one of the women responsible for sending the world to shit.
This was justice. That was all. But I wavered, lowering the Howler, and with my hesitation the chance for a preemptive strike was lost.
“It’s an aspidochelone,” she sniffled without quite looking at me, still pushing down.
“An aspidochelone. It’s a great whale, one of the largest known. People used to mistake them for islands. They’d land with their ships and take refuge on the creatures’ backs, only to realize too late they were standing on living animals.”
From behind the beast’s torpedolike head, she paused in her attempts at resuscitation to glance down at me. Only the Sun Goddesses had multicolored hair; hers was cut a few inches above the shoulders, and it floated around her head like it had a mind of its own. But her eyes were magnificent, and I drew in a sharp, quick breath at the sight: the sunlight glittered against bright, pale irises shining with tears.
Mother Salla had told us about the Sun Goddesses’ atrocities, but she’d never mentioned this.
“It’s dead,” I said, not sure what else I was supposed to say.
You’re a moron too, Arjun. You really think you can take on a goddess alone when armies couldn’t? If she were anything like her mother, you’d be a smoking pile of ashes by now.
But she isn’t her mother, is she?
“I have a theory,” she said softly. “I’ve looked through the old histories. I’ve learned the names of creatures long dead, researched places that didn’t survive the Breaking. It wasn’t the healthiest pastime, Mother used to say. There was no point in mourning what couldn’t be brought back. But one of my ancestors, a goddess named Nyx, did the impossible and resurrected a dead bird. She wrote her process down. We must channel all the gates at once, she said, for the Gate of Life to open. I don’t really know what that means—to channel them all at once is impossible. But I thought . . . if she could do it, then maybe I could. . . .”
I didn’t know what she was babbling on about, or why she was treating me like I wasn’t a danger to her, but that was one more factor to my advantage while she was vulnerable on the aspi-whocares. I was within cannon’s sight, closer than anyone from the Oryx clan had ever been to a Sun Goddess. But the Howler felt heavier on my stump than usual, the weight dragging my arm down.
She was crying over a damned whale. How the hell was I supposed to shoot a girl crying over a sand-damn-rocked whale?
She sniffled again and wiped her eyes. “You’re very polite, for someone who wants to kill me.”
I paused. “And you’re very frank.”
She nodded at the barrel strapped to my limb. “I try to be. How long were you tracking me?”
“I wasn’t. I was following the water.” The Salt Sea was a deceptive name—it was a toxic dump posing as seawater, more gray than blue, three parts corrosion to one part brine. It took four hours for any of the Mudforgers to squeeze drinkable water from it, and the portions grew smaller with every passing week. It’d been six weeks since we’d found any fish safe to eat, and two years since we’d found anything bigger than a mackerel. It was a miracle anything of this size had survived this long. “You can’t bring it back from the dead. No one can.”
“I can. I just need time. But you won’t give me that either, will you?”
She hadn’t planned things through. Even if she could summon the beast back to life, unless she could whip up an ocean of water to go along with it, it’d suffocate in the air and die all over again. I’d rather harvest it for parts—blubber for candles and wax, whalebone for weapons and utilities, everything else that wasn’t rotting for meat—and also probably get around to shooting her before I started.
“No,” I admitted quietly. “I won’t.”
I watched those magnificent eyes change color, the silver of her irises switching to green terra-gates as Earth sparked about her, replacing the patterns of Light. “Do you still plan on killing me?”
Sky and land, ripped in two. The heart of a goddess’s twin, eaten. A lifetime of wasteland.
“Sorry,” I said, and raised the Howler. My own patterns of Fire blazed into being around me, and I funneled them through the barrel, hearing them multiplying and ricocheting off each other inside the steel chamber until I’d worked them up into an explosive, furious heat. I pulled the trigger, and my fire-gates flared.
She threw herself to one side, and the shot screamed past, missing her completely. Her fingers dug into the whale’s rubbery hide, and I lost my footing as the ground rocked underneath me. I was a Firesmoker down to my bones, and as a Firesmoker I’d die. But Sun Goddesses could change their incanta, could shift from Mistshaper to Shardwielder to Earthshaker as easily as the rest of us changed clothes. Whichever way you looked at it, it was cheating.
But the small, short-lived earthquake was meant to knock me off-balance, not kill. She wasn’t taking me seriously.
I ripped off another shot before the ground broke my fall, and she leaped. The blast brushed against the dead whale’s side and missed her by a few inches. It was at least a fifteen-foot plunge, but she hit the ground rolling with an ease that suggested practice, and scrambled to her feet just as I did. I lifted my gun again, and the fire-gates in her own eyes flared. Hissing streams of Water spewed forth from her fingers—aimed not at me, but at my Howler. I felt the faint sizzle of acid striking the barrel, and with a grunt I jerked it back out of her reach.
My eyes flicked to the dead whale, saw her hand still braced against its side. An Acidsmith incanta—she’d drawn out patterns of Water through her fire-gate instead of the usual Fire, and the result was poison instead of flames. There was nothing in the dry, heated air for her to pull fluid out from, but the liquid pollutants still swimming around inside the decomposing aspidochelone were a creative alternative, albeit a disgusting one. I was wrong—she was smart. She was resourceful with her incanta. It was a good enough reason to want her dead.
How are you doing, friend? Have you recovered from that amazing excerpt? Or are you still clutching your pearl necklace after seeing that cover? Because same.
The incredibly gorgeous cover is designed by the talented Florian Cohen! If you wish to check out more of his work and art, then head on over to his Instagram account (something I personally recommend that you do!). He did such a phenomenal job on this cover! I really needed to hydrate after seeing this beauty for the first time.
Anyway, The Never Tilting World is set to be released on October 15th (better mark your calendars!). Although that’s still many months away, I am more than ready to dive back into Rin Chupeco’s atmospheric, eloquent prose. Don’t get me started on her unparalleled world-building skills! AND THE WAY SHE MAKES HER CHARACTERS! AND EVERYTHING ELSE, IF I’M BEING COMPLETELY HONEST — TL;DR: I really cannot wait to see what this new world has in store for us!
by Rin Chupeco
tagged for authors of color (asian authors), disability representation (hand amputee), lgbtqiap+ representation (bisexual, sapphic), mental health (ptsd, in-world therapy), poc representation (asian coded, middle eastern coded)
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🌻 What are your thoughts on the book cover – do you love it or do you love it?
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🌻 Have you read any of Rin Chupeco’s previous books?