Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 80,000
Fairytales are imaginative wisps of childhood memories for eighteen-year-old Rin Marx—momentary escapes from her life of frozen smiles and small talk within the monster-free Enclosure walls. Yet only a week after her academician father’s death sends Rin reeling, her mother’s tears dry up faster than they began and she decides to remarry an alluring, chameleonic suitor in the only human community outside the walls. Thrust from her iron world and into all those things that aren’t supposed to be real, Rin uncovers a dangerous secret: her mum’s bizarre actions are the result of an enchantment at the hands of Rin’s new not-quite-human stepfather. Further, he may have killed her father to get at his research—and now Rin alone stands in his way.
When her stepfather banishes her, Rin flees into the nearby forest on the cracks of the world with Edison, a young man with a far more intimate knowledge of the local monsters than he cares to admit, as her only company. Rin must overcome the predatory creatures and conditions of the magic-soaked forest and uncover the truth about her father’s work if she ever wants to get her mother—and her life—back.
Inkpots are tricky things to navigate.
The stubborn vessel hopped around on the lap writing-desk, and Rin grabbed it with one hand. Two fingers on one side and her thumb on the other, she held it still as the carriage bounced forward and a splotch of ink blotted her diary.
Splendid. Now the date read November Twent-blotch.
The carriage halted, a jolt exacerbating the inkspill. “Rin, pull yourself together.” Margaretta paused. “We’ve arrived.”
The fingerlike ink crept down the golden paper of her journal. A drop of water fell onto the page. The entire entry was ruined.
Like an awful lot of other things.
"I don't want to arrive.” Rin shut her journal. The inkwell had to wait. “Truly, sincerely, stubbornly—”
Margaretta's forehead creased. "Please don't do this. Not now." Her glare left a sharp, cold pit in Rin’s stomach.
Rin straightened herself. Her muscles bunched into a knot that gnawed at her side—thanks, no doubt, to carriage travel. "I'm sorry, Mum." She hooked a loop of hair behind her ear. It refused to stay put and slipped free. "But I don't like this. You know that. We’ve given up everything for a man we’ve hardly met—"
"No, Rin." her mother's voice turned harsh, "You scarcely know him. I know him full well, as did your father. And all relationships require sacrifice." Her voice caught slightly on the last word, and she glanced out of the carriage.