This is a short story I purchased from Amazon at the price of USD 0.99. The Amazon book preview promised I would be hooked from the very first line. The first line of the preview hooked me. It was not the first line of the story, however.
The story is told in 48 pages. The reader will suspect the “terrible secret” within the first few pages. But most readers will not predict the rather surprising, unpredictable ending.
At age sixteen, it is Amara’s turn to go through the medical screening that will allow her to qualify for confirmation, an event that will mark her transition to an adult life. No longer will she be locked up with her sisters to await a time when she can go out in public, perhaps even to dance. She would like to dance with Hunter, a guardsman she might fall in love with if she could get past the very physical restrictions on a person not yet sixteen. It was an inappropriate relationship between a princess and a guardsman but it was better than the complete lack of relationships she had experienced up to now.
Queen Zoya said goodbye to daughter Amara before the final medical test was administered. Doctor Bannerjee told her everything was fine as she prepared to enter the long, narrow room for the final scan. When Amara exited the scan, however, it was to meet with boyfriend Hunter who said he was rescuing her. Dr. Banerjee was dead and her boyfriend who said he was helping her instead delivered her to Chancellor Amir, her mother’s closest advisor. And there she learns more than she ever wished to know about her mother.
This is a short, well-written, science fiction, escapist story. We have hints throughout that something really bad is planned for Amara. Will she survive or not? And what does that mean for the evildoers who tried to hurt her?
This is a good story for the younger crowd not interested in reading. I tell my students that if they don’t enjoy reading, they are reading the wrong stuff. This is the right stuff.