Unique Ordinary Series Book 2 by Starr Z. Davies Genre: YA Sci-Fi Dystopian
He lost everything. His dad, his best friend, and the woman he loves.
Ugene and the other test subjects escaped Paragon. They thought they were finally safe. But the battle for freedom is far from over.
When a rouge group calling themselves the Protectorate offers to help Ugene, he worries that his friends are falling into another dangerous trap. The struggle for freedom becomes a desperate fight for survival. Ugene is determined to stand up for what’s right and save the oppressed citizens of Elpis from persecution by Paragon and the Directorate.
The deeper Ugene digs, the more he uncovers about the Directorate's sinister secrets, the Protectorate's true goals . . . and the dangerous game he is about to play.
It’s time for the deception to end. It’s time for the truth to finally come to the surface. And it’s time for everyone to finally learn that being Powerless isn’t weakness.
The clean, crisp scent of earth and stone fills the small room I’ve been living in for what I can only assume to be days. I haven’t felt the warmth of the sun or watched the stars for so long and I yearn for their comfort. Occasionally, I catch a whiff of rotten eggs, but the smell is so fleeting and rare I’m not certain if it’s real.
Where am I? This is a prison. Did we even escape Paragon? Maybe this is all part of the same simulation, giving us hope then isolating us to see how we react.
Since waking up here, I’ve only spoken to two people. A woman who told me through the door in a very reassuring tone that I would be released soon. They simply had to make sure that everyone was safe, and with so many people it could take a while. I asked her a million other questions, but she didn’t answer any of them. Instead, she offered the same assurances that all would be revealed soon.
The second person is the guy who delivers the meals. But he doesn’t say any more than, “It won’t be much longer.” Sometimes, I swear I can hear the sympathy in his voice. Am I imagining it? The last thing I remember is that we escaped Paragon and I followed the address Mom gave me to Lettuce Eat, where for nearly two days Harvey gave us food and a place to rest while he arranged our escort to safety. Those of us who remained--forty-two of us out of more than one hundred--climbed into the back of a cold transport truck on the second day. Harvey reassured us that we were being taken to a safer location and that my mom would meet with me soon.
But then I woke up here, in this cell. Alone.
Did he sell us out to Paragon?
Or maybe none of it actually happened.
I lay on my single bed, atop worn flannel sheets, and run my fingers along the smooth gray stone walls of the cell, carved out with Powered hands. The bed and a toilet are the only furnishings. The door is made of reinforced steel with a small window revealing a brightly lit stone hallway and a panel in the center of the door where the food comes in. More than once, I’ve tried forcing it open by pushing on it, or digging at the cracks until my fingers ache. It never budges.
Ordinary Ordinary Series Book 1
Fans of Powerless, The Testing, Hunger Games and the Maze Runner will crave this world of iniquitous secrets, intrigue, and desire to find a place in society.
Divinic. Somatic. Psionic. Naturalist. Who will you be?
Having a superpower is ordinary. Your Power determines your job, social class, and future success.
But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless.
So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn't right.
Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question.
Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?
Three days define who a person will be for the rest of their life. The day they are born. Testing Day, where their abilities are determined. And, of course, Career Day, where social status, wealth, and future prospects are decided for them by an exhibition hall of employers.
I passed my birth with great pains. According to stories Mom told me, my labor gave her particular difficulty. After arriving too soon, too weak to survive on my own, I lived in an incubator for the first six weeks of my life in a struggle to survive. It’s why she sometimes—annoyingly—calls me, “tough guy.”
Up until Testing Day, everyone—from my teachers to my neighbors—called me a late bloomer and constantly reassured my parents that eventually I would fall into one of the Four Branches of Powers. They said it as if doing so was something I would just stumble over on the sidewalk one day and say, “Oh look, there’s my Power!”
Testing Day came early in my ninth year of schooling, alongside everyone else in my class. Those who had already developed their ability were divided into groups based on their Branch of Power: Somatic for Powers relating to the body; Naturalist for those with organic Powers; Psionic for the Power of the mind; and Divinic for those with Powers outside our world. Mostly, this division left me and three other kids—Mo, Dave, and Leo—uncategorized. By the end of the day, only I remained unclassified. Testing Day was a bitter disappointment for everyone in my family— including me.
Ordinary people have Powers and prospects. I have neither.
Now I face Career Day, where I get to parade around a convention center with all the other doeeyed, eleventh-year students and try to convince businesses why my Power is worth employment. Except I still don’t have one, and probably never will.
I’ve dreaded this day for years. Now, there’s no escaping it.
Miraculously, my parents haven’t given up on me. They still hold on to the hope that everything is about to change.
For all our sakes, I hope they are right.
STARR Z. DAVIES is a Midwesterner at heart, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids. From a young age, Starr has been obsessed with superheroes like Batman and Captain America, which inspired her novel, ORDINARY. If Starr had a superpower, she would be an Empath, because she is an emotional sponge and easily relates to how others feel.
While pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Starr gained a reputation as the “Character Assassin” because she has a habit of utterly destroying her characters both emotionally and physically.
In her free time, Starr loves watching Doctor Who or anything with superheroes, reading books (duh!), writing about her favorite fantasy stories (Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time), and staring out the window as she dreams up more stories. Oh, and sometimes she steps out the door.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WRITING THIS BOOK ?
Solving the puzzle with Ugene. Hanging out with Ugene. Watching Ugene grow and accept who
he is, and that his deficiency doesn’t mean he has no value. Honestly, when I started writing this
book I wasn’t really sure how it would end. I knew that he had to stop Paragon, and that the
government was involved in what was going on, but everything else just sort of came out. I let the
story tell itself, and I let Ugene guide me through the process. So the thing I enjoyed most was
just hanging out with him. He’s much smarter than me, and he sees things that I don’t.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR THIS BOOK ?
One night my husband, step-son, and I were creating a bunch of crazy “what if” scenarios and we
would build on them. Ordinary started with the question: “What if a boy lived in a world where
everyone had a superpower but him and the only job he could get was delivering flowers by
bicycle?” It made us laugh, but it was probably another six years before I realized that there was
actually a book hiding in there. Obviously a lot has changed between that first question and the
final book, but the basic question remains the same: what if you were the only person without a
superpower in a world full of supers?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS BOOK AND WHY ?
Ugene's speech to the city. I was sweating it out with him. Like Ugene, I'm not a big fan of public
speaking, so I completely related to his apprehension. But the words that started pouring out of
his mouth gave me chills. I researched some of the greatest speeches in history, and if readers
really look closely they will see hints of those speeches layered into his words. I have no idea how
to inspire an entire city to act, and in the end I was so proud of how he pulled it together in a way
I never would have done under such pressure.
DO YOU WANT EACH BOOK TO STAND ON ITS OWN , OR ARE YOU TRYING TO BUILD A BODY OF WORK WITH CONNECTIONS BETWEEN EACH BOOK ?
I’m a huge fan of epic sagas. All my favorite fantasy books are epics. Even the superheroes I grew
up worshiping are sagas, revised, rebooted, and linked through the multiverse. So yes, I am
building a larger body of work. In Ordinary, Ugene lives on Cante Road, which is the surname of
the hero in another series I’m planning. If my readers pay attention, they will notice little
subtleties linking all my books in a multiverse. However, not all my books will take place on the
DO YOUR CHARACTERS SEEM TO HIJACK THE STORY OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE REIGNS OF THE STORY?
The characters completely had control of this one. Well, mostly. I only had a few ideas on where
this was headed, so I gave them a lot of freedom to get to the ending. They really surprised me,
and rarely gave me a chance to come up for air. Ugene quite stubbornly trusted no one he didn't
know because of the trauma from Paragon in the first book. Willow was commanding and
insisted on having her way, though I did force her ending on her. Most of the surprised me over
and over again.
WHAT IS THE FIRST BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY ?
I’m an emotional sponge, so a lot of stories have gotten me going, but the first one I really
remember losing control of myself while reading is Robert Jordan’s "A Memory of Light." The
ending of that fourteen-book saga ripped at my gut and it took me so much longer than it
should have to finish because I had a hard time seeing the pages through my tears. I ugly cried. A
lot. But I also learned a lot from that ending. Particularly, how to give your characters a perfect
ending even if it’s brutal.
IF YOU COULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER WRITING SELF ANYTHING , WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Just write! I spent so much time plotting and researching writing tips and information for books
that I didn't do much writing. Cut out the noise and just write the book. Find a good group of
authors in your genre to critique your story. But in the end, success as an author comes from just
writing the book and fixing mistakes later.
DO YOU HAVE ANY “SIDE STORIES ” ABOUT THE CHARACTERS ?
Yes! I wrote a short story about Dr. Joyce Cass’s rise to power, titled Superior. It’s an exclusive
offered only to people who subscribe to my email list. So if readers want to know how Dr. Cass
ended up the say she did, sign up and read the story. There are also some cameos from other
members of the Directorate in the short story as well.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU AS AN AUTHOR?
I've actually already started writing my next series. It's a late-15th century Mongolian Historical
Fiction with fantasy elements. I'm excited about the project, but it may not appeal to younger
audiences. There is a lot of sexuality and violence, as there was in the old Mongolian Empire. After
that, I have a massive epic fantasy series to write. Right now, the plan is a five-book epic series
with a follow-up five-book series that takes place 100 years after the first. But we will see how
these actually fall into place.
WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED METHOD TO HAVE READERS GET IN TOUCH WITH OR FOLLOW YOU( I.E., WEBSITE, PERSONAL BLOG , FACEBOOK PAGE , GOODREADS, ETC. ) ?
Sign up for my newsletter, follow my social media pages. I’m probably the most active on
Facebook, so that’s the best place to start. I encourage reviews on GoodReads, BookBub, and
Amazon, and I try to respond as much as I can. I also welcome readers to email me directly. I love
hearing from them. Links for all of them can be found on my website, starrzdavies.com.
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