Blog Tour: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (Excerpt+Giveaway)

Happy Monday morning guys! Today we are doing a stop for The Queen of Blood blog tour! We have a great excerpt for you guys, and an AMAZING giveaway!

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Blog Tour: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (Excerpt+Giveaway)The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
Published by HarperCollins on September 20th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Coming of Age, Epic, Fantasy, Fiction
Buy the BookGoodreads

Filled with political intrigue, violent magic, and malevolent spirits, Sarah Beth Durst’s mesmerizing entry into adult fantasy is sure to capture the imaginations of anyone who reads it.

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow… But these are not sweet, frolicking nature sprites. The spirits that reside within this land want to kill all humans. Only a few women have the power to command and control the spirits. These women become queens—or die trying. Without a queen, humans will die at the hands and teeth of hostile spirits. But with an unstable queen, no one and nothing is safe.

Born during the reign of a paranoid and bloodthirsty queen, Daleina is determined to become queen and right the wrongs in her land. Ven is a disgraced champion, a man whose life has been destroyed by the queen. Hating her cruelty, he wants to replace her with a queen of his own. He chooses an overlooked student at one of the academies: Daleina. Together, they must find the strength and skill to stand against both enemies and friends, before their beloved land is bathed in blood.

Excerpt

Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.

Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.

Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.

Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.

Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.

Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,

rend you, tear you, kill you dead.

It’s a child’s chant. You jump over a rope, faster and faster, as

you name the spirits. Trip on the rope, and that is the spirit

that someday will kill you. Fire, ice, water, air, earth, or wood.

Clutching her rope, six-year-

old

Daleina slipped out her window

and ran along the branches toward the grove, drawn to the

torchlight. Her parents had said no, absolutely not, go to bed and

stay there, but even then, even when she was still so young and

eager to please, Daleina would not be kept from her fate. She’d

run toward it, arms open, and kick fate in the face.

All the other children were already gathered on the forest

floor, under the watch of the local hedgewitch. Dropping from

the branches onto the moss, Daleina joined them. Her cheeks

pink from her run and her hair wild from the wind, she swung

her rope and began the chant. “Don’t trust the fire . . .”

Ribbons fluttered around them, bright colors to represent

each of the six spirits. Buried beneath the ribbon poles and dangling

around them and between the torches were charms. The

children’s chant and the ribbons would tempt the spirits, but

the charms would repel them. It was as safe as the hedgewitch

knew how to make it, and she smiled at the children as she circled

counterclockwise and spoke the words of protection as she’d

been taught.

The children jumped faster, repeating the chant. At least two

dozen girls and boys, the youngest six years old and the oldest

twelve, had come to the grove to prophesy their future. Some were

dressed in their finest, with lace in their hair and starch in their

shirts, blessed with their parents’ approval. Others, like Daleina,

wore their nightshirts and dresses and had uncombed hair and

bare feet.

As she skipped, Daleina saw the first tree spirit poke its sharp

nose between the leaves. It scurried over the branches and hung

upside down to watch them, its shadow large in the torchlight.

Don’t trust the water . . .” Another wood spirit separated from the

trunk of a tree, its bulbous body covered in a thick mat of moss

and leaves. Teasing the edges of the charms, an earth spirit, hairless

and brown, bared its rocklike teeth. “Don’t trust the air . . .”

One child faltered.

Another fell.

Like Daleina, they’d seen the spirits emerge from the dark

forest and encircle the grove. “Don’t trust the earth . . .” Her

bare feet squished on the soft ground. It had rained a few hours

before, and mud stained her toes. She imagined an earth spirit

reaching up through the muck to grab her ankle, and an air

spirit swooping her into the air and dropping her from high

above. Squeezing her eyes shut, she kept jumping. “Don’t trust

the trees . . .”

Because her eyes were closed, she didn’t see when the tiny tree

spirit launched itself off its branch and over the charms, or when

the other children stumbled and fell, every one of them, tripping

on their ropes. “ . . . rip you, rend you, tear you . . .”

Hers was the only voice, until the screaming began.

She opened her eyes as the hedgewitch shouted and the

children shrieked. Blood stained the woman’s bodice, and the

gnarled, leaf-coated

creature clung to her shoulder. Daleina’s foot

stuck in the mud and she forgot to jump as the rope swung down.

Her parents ran toward her—her mother first, with a knife—

and sliced the rope as it swung toward Daleina’s motionless feet.

The two halves of the rope fell on either side of her.

Other villagers poured into the grove. Swarming past Daleina

and her parents, the others scooped up their own children. Several

hurried to help the hedgewitch. Still clutching the ends of

the limp rope, Daleina saw the spirit, blood on its shriveled, leafy

face, flee up the trunk of an oak and then disappear into the

night.

“Wood will not take you,” her mother murmured into her

hair. “Nor fire, nor ice, nor water, nor earth, nor air. You will live,

my child. You must live.”

“I’m fine, Mama,” Daleina said.

“You were stupid.” Lifting Daleina’s chin, Mama forced her

to meet her eyes. “Just because something is a tradition doesn’t

mean it’s smart to do, or necessary. Promise me you won’t ever

endanger yourself again.”

“I’ll try,” Daleina said, her cherubic face solemn, “but Mama, I

can’t promise.”

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About Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of ten fantasy novels for adults, teens, and children, including THE LOST, VESSEL, and THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM. She was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children.

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11 comments

  1. Diana says:

    I LOVE Sarah Beth Durst’s books! I prefer YA and MG books, but I saw Sarah at the Baltimore Book Festival recently and she talked about Queen of Blood and it made me so intrigued!

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