Spin of Fate

Spin of Fate

by A. A. Vora
Spin of Fate

Spin of Fate

by A. A. Vora


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Original and accessible high fantasy with all the fixings — magnificent beasts, dynamic characters, innovative magic and so much more.

In a world inspired by karma, three teens encounter magnificent beasts, unforgiving magic, and epic battles in this propulsive and wholly original young adult fantasy.

“Evocative of Sanderson, Pullman, and Fullmetal Alchemist, yet at the same time shockingly original.” —Rosaria Munda, author of Fireborne

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.

Fans of epic, propulsive fantasies like Six of Crows and innovative world-building like Avatar: The Last Airbender will delight in A. A. Vora's ambitious, unmissable debut.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593617564
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/07/2024
Series: The Fifth Realm , #1
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 43,440
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)
Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ambika Vora-Nagino (writing as A. A. Vora) is an Indian Japanese author born in Mumbai and based in Tokyo. After receiving a bachelor’s in economics from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Cambridge, she worked in management consulting with a focus on digital transformation and healthcare. Outside work, she is a fervid Naruto fan who enjoys competitive Pokémon battling with her husband, playing with her newborn, and going on runs with her spitz dog Fëanor.

Read an Excerpt

A Flash of White

A sharp twang pulled Aina from troubled dreams. She staggered to her feet, ignoring the pro­test of her muscles as she grabbed her bow and slung a quiver across her back. Razor wire hung across the craggy walls like the web of some monstrous spider. One of the trip wires stretched taut. Aina followed its trembling path out of the cave and into the moonless night.
Her mother whittled a thumb-sized stone by the fire, her back rigid as a blade. “What are you doing up so early?” she barked without looking up from her task.
Aina watched, transfixed, as her mother ran a finger over the stone, caressing away tiny chunks as if they were carved at knife­point. But her mother had never needed a knife. Not when she could shape the world around her through channeling. The stone figure took on the form of a horned monkey with spines that glinted in the firelight.
“Will you give me that once you’re done?” Aina asked. “I want to add it to my collection.”
“I’ll give you a tight slap if you don’t go back to sleep. You’ll never learn to channel without proper rest.”
“Something triggered one of my trip wires—” Aina had barely gotten the words out when her mother sprang to her feet with a curse. “I meant a wild animal, Mama. The wire’s intact; it would’ve snapped under the weight of a human.”
“Say that part first, idiot girl,” her mother scolded before set­tling back by the fire.
Aina ignored the withering glare cast her way. The trip wires hardly mattered, given that her mother had channeled a protec­tive shield around their hideout. Kaldrav’s stupid soldiers would bounce right off it if they approached, alerting her of their pres­ence. And providing her mother’s inexhaustible wrath with another target, for a change.
“And where the blazes do you think you’re going?” her mother demanded.
“To get us some food. I’m starving, Mama. That’s why I can’t channel properly.”
Her mother made to stand again, but Aina placed a hand on her arm. Under the threadbare cloak, her mother’s arm felt brittle as a twig. Shadows ringed her eyes and wrinkles forked across her weathered skin.
“It’s probably just a rat,” Aina said. “Let me handle it. You get some rest for once.”
“You’ve had it from me if you’re not back within ten minutes.”
Aina nodded with a glance at the wire. It gave a violent tremor and stretched to the verge of snapping.
Larger than a rat.
Aina set off into the skeletal forest, squinting through the gloom. Fourteen years in Malin had given her excellent night vision. But today was murkier than usual, as if the misery of the realm had condensed into a grim fog that obscured everything beyond a few feet in any direction.
Aina’s heart stopped at a gleam of cobalt blue through the haze.
That can’t be what I think it is . . .
But as she inched closer the monstrous form grew clear: a giant nagamor, asleep outside the shimmering dome of her mother’s shield. The peacock snake lay in a mound of coils, each as wide as a tree trunk.
Aina crept past the beast and released a tremulous breath. It was just their stinking luck that the one thing in Malin deadlier than enemy soldiers had settled for a nap this close to their hide­out. At least it hadn’t slithered onto any of her traps. That would have thrown it into a rage.
Quiet as a mouse, Aina followed the wire until she came upon her prey. A runt of a fox thrashed in her snare, teeth gnashing and yellow eyes rolled back in fear. The beast’s emaciated form carried enough meat to last them three days at most.
Aina’s stomach gave a painful rumble. Three days of fox meat would be a luxury after weeks of dried grass and the occasional lizard.
She drew her bow and nocked an arrow. Best kill it before it bit her hand off. The fox’s eyes bulged as she neared. Blood stained its fur as it strained against the razor wire.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Aina muttered.
Had it been born to the blessed realm of Mayana, this fox might have grown powerful and majestic. Instead it was born cursed. Cursed, like her, to live in Malin. At least, unlike Aina, it could die and be spared from its miserable existence by an arrow to the heart.
A soft whimper stopped Aina in her tracks.
She looked down to see a trembling lump of fur, small enough to fit into her palm. A tiny wet nose brushed her ankle. The pup gave a pitiful squeak as it crawled forward on stubby legs. The fox in the wires snarled as she struggled to reach her whimpering newborn.
Aina lowered her bow, chest folding over at the familiarity of the scene: a small creature and its mother trying desperately to survive the fate that had been dumped upon them. How would this fox pup live without its angry, snarling mother to protect it?
“Stop moving,” Aina hissed. She unsheathed a short knife and cut through the wires.
The injured fox jerked away from her at once. Aina stepped back, knife raised. But the creature had no interest in attacking. The fox snatched the tiny pup with her teeth and bounded into the darkness.
Hunger clawing at her stomach, Aina trudged back toward the cave. The immense form of the slumbering nagamor came into view.
Then the world flashed around her. For a moment the forest disappeared, and Aina found herself suspended in a vast white nothingness. She’d never seen it before, this eerie blankness. Silent and still, it surrounded her.
Sudden as it had come, the whiteness faded. Aina returned to the same spot in the forest, within her mother’s shield, feet away from the nagamor.
What the hell just happened?
Aina had no time to ponder the thought. From beyond the shield came the soft, ragged scrape of scale over stone. Aina’s blood ran cold as the beast, awakened by the flash of white, raised its head and turned.
Bulbous eyes gleamed through the murk, the promise of pain in their bloodied depths. Then several tons of scale and sinew lunged forward and slammed against the shield. It held an excru­ciating second before shattering in an eruption of light.
Aina fled, gaze lowered as she stumbled through the splin­tered landscape of Malin. Without the shield, locking eyes with the nagamor would induce intense hallucinations—three years of torment packed into three agonizing minutes.
Living in this realm was torment enough. Aina had no need for more.
The stones rattled under the nagamor’s advancing bulk. Aina dodged the beast’s snapping beak to whip out her bow and fire at its underbelly. A tail swept through the air, batting away her arrows with a plume of rounded feathers. The beast twisted and struck again. Aina’s bow sang in desperation as she loosed more arrows.
But the nagamor’s serpentine body raged and wrapped around her, an inescapable whirlwind of pain. Aina’s quiver poked her back, the contents of her various pouches digging into her hips. The nagamor squeezed tighter and crushed the air from her lungs.
The ground beneath Aina erupted, and a pillar of rock pierced the beast’s cobalt blue scales. The nagamor surged upward with the rising rock, screeching as a cascade of blood poured from its flank.
Freed from its hold, Aina leaped to the ground and raised her eyes to meet a pair deadlier than the nagamor’s. “Mama—”

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Evocative of Sanderson, Pullman, and Fullmetal Alchemist, yet at the same time shockingly original.” —Rosaria Munda, author of Fireborne

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