The Mark of Noba
(The Sterling Wayfairer Series #1)
by G.L. Tomas
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 25th 2015
Rebellious Valkyrie Press
Sterling Wayfairer has one goal for his senior year: make his mark. He’s been slipping into the background his whole high school career—distracted by his mother’s mental health, unsettled by the vivid dreams that haunt him at night, and overshadowed by the athletic accomplishments of his popular best friends. But this year is going to be different. He’s going to break a few rules, have some fun, and maybe even work up the nerve to ask his crush out on a date.
But things don’t go exactly as planned. Students are disappearing, Sterling starts losing time, and it all seems to center around Tetra, a girl no one else seems to notice but him. When he finally tracks her down for answers, they aren’t what he expects: He and Tetra hail from a world called Noba, and they’re being hunted by a Naga, a malevolent shapeshifter that’s marked them for destruction.
Tetra and Sterling have distinct abilities that can help them fight back, but their power depends heavily on the strength of their bond, a connection that transcends friendship, transcends romance. Years apart have left their bond weak. Jumpstarting it will require Sterling to open his heart and his mind and put his full trust in the mysterious Tetra.
If he doesn’t, neither of them will survive.
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I made my way to the top and timed myself at thirty-one seconds. Not better, but not bad for the days I took off. I thought it might help to freestyle a bit, to feel as though I’d worked. I didn’t brag about it, but it was euphoric to swim a fifty-meter lap in less than a minute. Guess that’s what happened when you kept at something. You got better at it. Who knew?
At my tenth lap, my lats started burning from the resistance. What better time than now to take a breather. I was nearing the pool’s edge, about to call it quits, when a vacuum-like pull dragged me back under the water. What the hell was going on?
I swam with war-like effort, but with every stroke I made, I seemed to sink deeper…deeper…
Did I push myself too hard? Maybe, but if I didn’t push hard now, I was going to drown. Don’t panic, Sterling, you can do this! But no matter how hard I went, I’d reach a certain point and get sucked back down. I must be losing sanity points on top of oxygen because the next thing I saw was something I couldn’t believe. Shadows of what looked like two people. I was too deep to see features, but they were fighting…on top of the water.
Torpedoes of waves shot toward the pool’s surface with a violent quickness that almost pummeled me. I had to get up for air and now! The closer I swam to the top, the stronger the waves became.
There’d been two gusts of waves a minute ago, but now I counted eight at a time. I was sure I’d surpassed my current record of thirty-six seconds underwater, but that wouldn’t mean much if I was dead. I mustered what strength I had left before I had to open my mouth for air, but when I reached the surface, it was entirely solid.
I didn’t have much strength and soon I’d have to open my mouth. I used whatever in me I had left to break through the surface. No use—it was hard like a metal door. I wouldn’t be able to break it open, not with my bare hands.
I was going to drown. I took one deep exhale. It gave me a few seconds, but my lungs cried for oxygen.
A strong force hit the water. Someone was sinking with me. It was so fast, but seemed like slow motion. I didn’t make out her face, but I reached for their hand. Contrasting skin color. My mouth opened, allowing water to flood my throat, burning into my lungs. I couldn’t fight it anymore. At least I wouldn’t die alone.
A breathtaking YA adventure! With a completely intriguing plot set in a sci-fi type world, the worldbuilding was spectacular as you embark on a journey of self-discovery and adventure with Sterling and Tetra. Tetra was a very unique character cast in a different mold than the usual female lead. She's blunt, sparky and not at all sweet and delicate like so many others. I actually quite liked her character! Told from Sterling's POV, there were a few moments that were actually funny and had me chuckling at the dark realism of his life. Fast paced and packed with adventure, I was swept along by the smooth writing and intricate plot. While set in high school, this wasn't like the usual ooh-wer're-so-sparkly type gag inducing stereotypical drama you usually get. It's more realistic in some ways as they dissect bullying and society's standards of sluttiness. I actually quite enjoyed this book and can't wait to embark on more adventure in the next book of the series!
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