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Cover Reveal: SPIN OF FATE by A.A. Vora

Magnificent Beasts. Hard Magic. Epic Battles. It’s time to reveal the cover for Spin of Fate by A.A. Vora, coming to shelves May 7, 2024! An Ember in the Ashes meets Avatar: The Last Airbender in this propulsive, not-to-be-missed high fantasy debut inspired by Indian philosophy.

Aina’s world is governed by Toranic Law, a force that segregates people into upper and lower realms. It’s said that if the sinful lowers commit themselves to kindness and charity, their souls will lighten, allowing them into the peaceful upper realms.

But Aina, one of the few lowers to ever ascend, just wants to go back home.

Aina is desperate to reunite with her mother, hoping she’s survived the beasts and wars of her homeland alone. After failing to weigh down her soul with petty crimes, Aina joins a rebel group defying the authorities and bringing aid to those condemned to a life of suffering in the lower realms. Alongside Aina are two new recruits: Meizan, a ruthless fighter trying to save his clan from extinction, and Aranel, a spoiled noble spying for the powers that be.

Before long, the rebels find themselves in the middle of a brewing war. On one side, a violent king of a lower realm is bent on destroying Toranic Law; on the other, the authorities of the upper realms will do anything to stay on top. Now the young rebels must face both sides head-on if they want to stop a conflict that could break not only Toranic Law—but the universe itself.

Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek. And remember to preorder your copy here!

Cover art Sidharth Chaturvedi, cover design by Jessica Jenkins and Tony Sahara

Chapter 1

An Adequate Crime

One year later

Aina wandered the bustling streets of inner Kirnos, hood pulled low over her forehead.

The marketplace was a vibrant riot of stalls lining a broad street paved with honey-colored stone. Bright-eyed Mayani shouted out their wares without a care in the world, selling embroidered silks and gold-plated pottery amongst an assortment of equally useless things.

Aina wrinkled her nose. Such abundance, she thought, recalling the foul-smelling pelts she’d worn in Malin. The wooden straws her mother had carved for them to suck water straight from the ground.

But Kirnos, the largest kingdom in the upper realm of Mayana, was a cesspit of abundance. It oozed from every street and stone, from the lush gardens and tinkling waterfalls, from flowers the size of Aina’s face that burst at each corner. Every other doorframe was trimmed with gold, half the shop roofs shingled with gemstones. Even the blasted toilets in Kirnos had seats of jade.

And today, in honor of the crown princess’s ascension, Kirnos was at its worst. The marketplace in particular attracted merchants from across the realm, gathered in their most obnoxious display of wealth and frivolity.

Which made it the perfect spot for Aina’s next crime.

She stopped by a table draped in cerulean gauze. It boasted a collection of shells from the underwater kingdom of Amaratir, polished to gleam like pearls. Aina glanced around her, then reached out to swipe a shimmering conch.

A hand enclosed her wrist. Aina recoiled, muscles tensing into the familiarity of fight.

“Do not be afraid, child,” a kind voice said. An old woman with skin like bark smiled down at her. She plucked the conch from Aina’s hands and held out a spiral shell. “Take this instead. It will bring you good luck.”

“How so?” Aina asked.

“See the pattern of the swirl? It signifies the forward rotation of the soul. You are meant to have it.” The woman pressed the shell into Aina’s hand. “May your soul spin straight and swift.”

Aina pocketed the seashell and tugged her hood down to obscure her forehead. As if a stupid trinket could hold such powers. Even if it could, this shell was the last thing Aina needed. She wanted to reverse her soul-spin. Load it with sin until the torana sucked her back into Malin.

Back to her mother.

It would have been easier to walk through one of the gateways. But for some hellforsaken reason, the bleeding things refused to let her through. After ricocheting off the damn pillars for the hundredth time, Aina had lost her patience. So she’d launched a methodical spate of wrongdoing over the past few weeks: pelting unsuspecting Mayani with rotten fruit, flipping off priests, scribbling curse words across the torana, and stealing from Kirnosi teahouses and bakeries.

But today she would not steal food, which was plentiful in this realm. She would steal something of far greater value.

The next stall was piled with Kirnosi goods. Circlets of jasmine and freesia lay in heaps next to emerald-studded miniatures of Sherka the gazarou, the great grass wolf worshipped throughout the realm.

Aina stared at the miniatures, a hand going to the cloth pouch at her waist. She pulled out a piece of shattered rock and ran a finger over its ridges. It had looked like something once. A tusked sea turtle. Her mother had carved it for her many years ago, to keep Aina quiet and out of her hair. Aina never had any playthings in Malin, so her mother had channeled little figurines out of stone: spiked deer and tentacled sharks and elephants with barbed trunks. There was even a broken nagamor somewhere in the pouch, along with the remains of a gazarou.

All her figurines had been crushed during the nagamor attack. But Aina remembered them well, the crude designs of her mother’s making. Her gazarou had been a fearsome thing, hackles raised, its tiny teeth on full display. So different from this timid Kirnosi design, gentle-eyed and wrought of gold.

Yet stealing something so extravagant would absolutely burden her soul.

“You are a visitor?” A bearded man peered over the stall. “What luck! To commemorate the crown princess’s ascension, I have special gifts for visitors.” He produced a jade wolf the size of Aina’s thumb and offered it to her.

Aina backed away, fingers tightening around her broken rock. “I don’t want that.”

“But you must take it,” the man insisted. “It is a sacred likeness of Goddess Sherka Herself.”

Made from the same stone as the toilet seats? Sacred indeed.

Penguin Teen