by Elisa A. Bonnin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 2nd 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A teen girl must bring together two broken worlds in order to save her nation in this lush, Filipino-inspired young adult fantasy novel from debut author Elisa A. Bonnin.
“Be dauntless, for the hopes of the People rest in you.”
Seri’s world is defined by very clear rules: The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. The valiant explore the unknown world, kill the beasts, and gain strength from the armor they make from them. As an assistant to Eshai Unbroken, a young valor commander with a near-mythical reputation, Seri has seen first-hand the struggle to keep the beasts at bay and ensure the safety of the spreading trees where the People make their homes. That was how it always had been, and how it always would be. Until the day Seri encounters Tsana.
Tsana is, impossibly, a stranger from the unknown world who can communicate with the beasts – a fact that makes Seri begin to doubt everything she’s ever been taught. As Seri and Tsana grow closer, their worlds begin to collide, with deadly consequences. Somehow, with the world on the brink of war, Seri will have to find a way to make peace.
“Dauntless captures the best parts of every action-packed fantasy—breathtaking scenes of power and victory that push the limits of human tenacity. This is a triumphant tale of courage and self discovery that will make you believe in your own strength.” —Kyllie Lee Baker, author of The Keeper of Night
The settlement— Seri’s new home— was in rough shape. The spaces where the settlers were supposed to make their homes were nothing more than naked platforms suspended among branches in the spreading tree, the bridges rickety, makeshift things that swayed alarmingly when Seri walked on them. Eshai didn’t even notice, leading her across the bridges as if they walked on solid earth, but Seri held on to the rope railings with a death grip. The town hall, a large structure in the central square, had four walls and a roof but was otherwise bare on the inside except for a serviceable kitchen. For all the comforts they had, they might as well be camping out in the rainforest.
But the air was cleaner and cooler up here. And if the civilian architecture was roughshod, anything belonging to the valor was solid. The barracks hadn’t been built yet, but a platform had been designated for the purpose, and there were tarps spread over it to keep off the rain. Although there weren’t many buildings, there were ballistae, great huge bows that fired arrows as large as spears, mounted so that at least two of them could be trained on any enemy that approached the village at any time.
It was necessary, Eshai explained when Seri stopped to stare. They were in the borderlands, and while the innermost parts of the known world had mostly been cleared of any beast too dangerous, the same couldn’t be said for this place. A lone beast wouldn’t be too much of a challenge, but they tended to hunt in packs. In that case, winning a battle became a question of speed.
“You may think you understand beasts, but the beasts of the known world are tame compared to what’s out here,” Eshai said, her expression growing distant as she looked out at the endless expanse of green. “There are beasts here straight out of children’s stories, beasts with power no one in the known world has ever seen. If you want to survive out here, you need to remember that.”
Elisa A. Bonnin was born and raised in the Philippines, after which she moved to the United States to study chemistry and later oceanography. After completing her doctorate, she moved to Germany to work as a postdoctoral scientist. A lifelong learner, Elisa is always convinced that she should “maybe take a class in something” and as a result, has amassed an eclectic collection of hobbies. But writing will always be her true love. Publishing a book has been her dream since she was eight years old, and she is thrilled to finally be able to share her stories. Dauntless is her first novel.
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