Read more of Marie Lu’s THE MIDNIGHT STAR, then get the book tour details!
Read the second chapter of the book, which comes from Raffaele’s point-of-view and takes place about a year after The Daggers’ epic battle with Adelina. The excerpt taps into the destruction Adelina has wrought since then and Violetta’s fate, as well as gives a flashback of Raffaele and Enzo’s first meeting.
Raffaele Laurent Bessette
The sound of the surf outside reminds Raffaele of stormy nights at the Estenzian harbor. Here in the Sunland nation of Tamoura, though, there are no canals, no gondolas that have drifted away from their moorings to bob alongside the stone walls. There is only a beach of red and gold sand, and land dotted with low shrubs and sparse trees. High on a hill, a sprawling palace overlooks the ocean, its silhouette black in the night, its famous entrance illuminated by the glow of lanterns.
Tonight, a warm early spring breeze comes in through the windows of one of the palace apartments, and the candles burn low. Enzo Valenciano sits on a gilded chair, his figure hunched over, his arms resting on his knees. Waves of his dark hair fall over his face, and his jaw is clenched tight. His eyes stay shut in pain, his cheeks moist with tears.
Raffaele kneels before him, carefully undoing the white cloth bandages that run all the way up to the prince’s elbows. The smell of burned flesh and cloyingly sweet ointment fills the room. Every time Raffaele pulls the bandage from a segment of Enzo’s arm, tugging on the wounded skin as it goes, Enzo’s jaw tightens. His shirt hangs loose, slick with sweat. Raffaele winds the bandages in a roll. He can sense the agony hovering over the prince, and the feeling scalds his own heart as surely as if he were wounded himself.
Underneath the bandages, Enzo’s arms are a mass of burns that never seem to heal. The original scars and wounds that had always covered the prince’s hands have now spread upward, aggravated by his spectacular display during the battle against Adelina in the Estenzian harbor. Destroying almost all of Queen Maeve’s Beldish navy with fire has taken its toll.
A piece of skin tears away with the bandages. Enzo utters a soft groan.
Raffaele flinches at the sight of the charred flesh. “Do you want to rest for a moment?” he asks.
“No,” Enzo replies through clenched teeth.
Raffaele obeys. Slowly, painstakingly, he removes the last of the bandages from Enzo’s right arm. Both of the prince’s arms are now exposed.
Raffaele lets out a sigh, then reaches for the bowl of cool, clean water sitting beside him. He places the bowl in Enzo’s lap. “Here,” he says. “Soak.”
Enzo eases his arms into the cool water. He slowly exhales. They sit in silence for a while, letting the minutes drag on. Raffaele watches Enzo closely. Day by day, the prince has grown more withdrawn, his eyes turned frequently and longingly to the sea. There is a new energy in the air that Raffaele cannot quite put his finger on.
“You still feel her pull?” Raffaele asks at last.
Enzo nods. He turns instinctively toward the window again, in the direction of the ocean. Another long moment passes before he answers. “Some days, it is quiet,” he says. “Not tonight.”
Oh man, there’s some serious tension to come in this book!
The publication also released Marie Lu’s tour dates for the novel. Check to see if she’s coming to your neck of the woods.
Tuesday, October 11th
Books of Wonder
18 W 18th St
New York, NY 10011
Wednesday, October 12th
45 S Main St
Concord, NH 03301
Thursday, October 13th
Barnes & Noble
7851 L Tysons Corner Center
Tysons Corner, VA
Friday, October 14th
Quail Ridge Books
4381-105 Lassiter at North Hills Ave
Raleigh, NC 27609
Saturday, October 15th
Books A Million
2605 W Osceola Pkwy,
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Monday, October 17th
with Margaret Stohl
603 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
Tuesday, October 18th
Berkeley Public Library
North Berkeley Branch
1170 The Alameda (at Hopkins)
Berkeley, CA 94707
Wednesday, October 19th
1010 El Camino Real,
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Friday, October 21st
Lake Forest Bookstore
662 N Western Ave,
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Saturday, October 22nd
Wisconsin Book Festival
Sunday, October 23rd
With Kiersten White, Catherine Egan and Morgan Rhodes
Market Hall, 52 Quarry Edge Drive
Tuesday, October 25th
With Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5943 Balboa Avenue #100
San Diego, CA 92111
The Midnight Star hits shelves on October 11, 2016. You can pre-order it now on Amazon.