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UNMADE RELEASE DAY – COMMAND ME!

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

Unmade, the last of the Lynburn Legacy trilogy, is out today (Yes that IS a shameless amazon link but if you have a local indie I love you for supporting it!) and I have had the beautiful Cassandra Jean make me a poster for its release, like a movie! A movie with a darkly ominous tagline.

LynburnLegacy_Poster1

(Our Characters, from the front left and proceeding: Jared Lynburn, Kami Glass, Ash Lynburn, Holly Prescott, Ten Glass, Tomo Glass, Angela Montgomery, Rusty Montgomery, Lillian Lynburn and Jon Glass, Team Good… ish… and Team May Be Marked For Death. You’re welcome, y’all!)

I am also doing a blog tour, so look out for my various posts on various subjects around the web. The writing advice post where I talk about cocaine may, in retrospect, have been an error.

This post is not JUST a showing off of beautimous pictures and sharing my love for y’all. It is, since this is Unmade release day, the place where you can discuss Unmade spoilers of any kind and ask me questions of any kind, though since the book is new it would be super appreciated as in the last post if the spoilers were signalled by a line of stars!

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  • And I wanted to give you guys a present to celebrate Release Day, but wasn’t quite sure what you would like, so like a DJ and since–wow, hey, two trilogies done, give me five, I am a grown-up writer lady–this is a special occasion, I thought I would take requests.

    So tonight, I am at your service. Ask for a little story about any characters you want. Any characters or stories that are exclusively mine, that is: I couldn’t do anyone from The Bane Chronicles without Cassie and Maureen’s input or from Team Human without Justine’s. (EDIT: NOW CLOSED.)

    I hope you’ll like Unmade! Thank you for suffering through the series. (I know you were suffering because you TOLD me so, and I ENJOYED it.)

    (REALLY: NOW CLOSED.)

    Comments

    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
    Here is Adara--not exactly in the future, but with I hope a possibility of happiness, and in any case her very own story. ;) I hope you like!


    Love From Both Sides


    “You’re so pretty,” her mother said to Adara when she was five, six, seven, and eight, learning how much she wanted and every way she could think of to get it all. “The world’s going to be handed to you on a silver platter, darling.”

    When the Border guard came recruiting Adara said she wanted to go, like her brothers had before her, to serve in warrior training. She’d always beaten every boy at games, at foot-racing. She thought it seemed a good idea.

    She didn’t expect them to laugh at her.

    “What, those golden curls make you think you’re one of those fighting Sunborn women?” asked her uncle, pulling her hair a fraction too hard to be playful.

    She went, just the same.

    She did not think, until later, about how quickly the world she was promised had boundaries set on it.

    On the first day of Border camp there were so many other kids, more than Adara had ever dreamed of in her little village. And she couldn’t help but notice there were more boys than girls, and most of the girls seemed destined for the council course. There was a girl who definitely had dwarf blood: Adara didn’t see how she could hold her own in a fight.

    Most of the girls that there were, were from the other side of the Border, and looking very uncertain about staying. Some short otherlands idiot had been running his mouth and putting everybody off.

    If Adara was one of the few girls from a Borderlands family, she was the best representative the Borderlands could possibly have. She approached a girl who was looking unsure but tempted, a girl almost as pretty as Adara was herself, her eyes sparkling even as she bit her lip and said: “Fighting? I don’t know.”

    “You’ll know once I teach you,” Adara told her, and they linked elbows and were best friends, easy as two cherries with a joined stem.

    “My name’s Natalie Ventura,” said Natalie, and Adara laughed, delighted: she’d never heard a name like that before.

    That evening, eating meat off the bone around a roaring fire, she saw all the boys forming little groups, and no girls allowed in any of them. She told her new friend Natalie that Natalie could ask that girl, and that girl, and that one, to sit and eat with them. She formed her own group.

    After her group were all sitting comfortably, laughing and feeling chosen, Adara noticed one boy sitting apart from all the others, talking to a tall girl with her dark hair ruffling gently in the night breeze to display the curve of elven ears.

    Her face did not show any emotion, but his did. He was leaning close to her, listening to what she had to say: his face was attentive, interested, intent. His hair was chased gold and his tanned skin darkened by the firelight, so he looked burnished and brilliant.

    “I know,” said one of the girls Adara had chosen, seeing where she was looking and sighing. “That’s Luke Sunborn.”

    Those fighting Sunborn women.

    Adara thought: of course it was.

    *

    Adara did very well at the Border camp. She was the best of the girls, everyone acknowledged that, and even though fewer people mentioned it she was better than most of the boys, too.

    Sometimes the elf Chaos-of-Battle edged her out, but that didn’t count. Everyone knew she was getting help from Luke Sunborn.

    Natalie invited her to come stay over the summer, if she could cross the Border. Adara climbed the stone steps into the clouds and then spread her arms wide and looked down at her first city, laid out before her like an open jewelry box, and felt that it was absolutely right that she should have the power to cross, that she should have two worlds ready for the taking.

    *
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC)
    Luke Sunborn wasn’t perfect. He had the bad taste to pal around with Chaos-of-Battle and Schafer, that supercilious elf who thought she was better than everyone, who never even had to try, and the short guy from the council course who kept saying he disapproved of violence and then driving people to it.

    But he seemed made to be happy, so beloved that he could afford to always be kind, like a victory statue made flesh. His attention was a gift everybody craved: to have it permanently would be like having a piece of high steady ground to stand on, to be never questioned again.

    Adara tried to talk to him, in class, at practice, down by the lake when everyone was stripped down and casting each other shy glances.

    The leaves caught sunlight in a net overhead, and dappled light slid down the delicate brown curve of Natalie’s back, cast green-tinted shadows in Dale Wavechaser’s glorious eyes, and almost every girl around the brimming waters was looking at Luke Sunborn with his shirt off. No other boy his age had shoulders like that, muscled as if they were meant to bear any weight put on them.

    Look at me, Adara thought, but he never did.

    *

    Adara’s first kiss was with Dale Wavechaser, who was definitely the second-best-looking boy in their year—Adara’s group had discussed it many times and were absolutely sure—and was almost never a jerk.

    It happened down by the lake. They came down early, when the morning was still pale gray and the lake looked like a pearl. Dale’s hair was soft and his arms hard under her fingers, and it was nice.

    It was less nice when Dale’s friends surprised them kissing and one of them gave Dale a high five as if he’d won at Trigon.

    Adara felt better the next day, when she came top in history and Dale came dead last, and she made fun of him. Dale got his fun handed to him on silver platters, as it turned out: Adara had to make her own.

    But she could, so what did it matter?

    “You don’t have to be so mean,” said Dale, looking upset.

    “I know,” said Adara. “I enjoy it.”

    *

    Adara went home with Natalie every summer. She liked it there, everything so strange and different, with so many rules changed. Adara learned the rules of that place, too, so she could win over there.

    She stopped jumping when cars went by after a few days, and it only took her a day more to accept it when the boys in the cars hooted or honked their horns. It was just something boys did, when they could make you nothing but a pretty picture in their rear-view mirrors. Adara made sure it was never a picture of someone caught off guard, even for a moment.

    She learned to dress exactly right, dance exactly right, and use the internet so she never had to ask anyone what she wanted to learn.

    The rules were so different that what happened on one of their late nights, lying on the carpet for hours in a pool of orange light like no light in Adara’s world, seemed natural.

    “I mean, they say everyone’s a little bit capable of liking both,” Natalie said slowly. “Like, if you were on a desert island, obviously. Or… some people are just so hot that anyone would, right?”

    She was lying with one arm propping her up, chin against her palm, but then she drifted down to where Adara lay flat on the carpet. Her eyes were illuminated, turning the strange light soft.

    And it all made so much sense to Adara, as much sense as Natalie’s arm linked through hers on their very first day.

    But Natalie wouldn’t look at her that way in the daylight, any more than Luke Sunborn would.

    *

    Louise Sunborn was only a few years older than Adara, and she was leading a troop of soldiers into battle. She rode better and fought better than any man, laughed loudest and longest, talked and expected everybody to listen. All the men watched her, all the men wanted her, and all the men obeyed her.

    She was the most beautiful person Adara had ever seen.
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
    War was different than Adara had thought, a chaos in which all the skills she had painfully learned seemed worse than useless more than half the time. War was worth it for two things: the few brief shining moments of triumph, and the quiet nights around the campfire when she could sit, hold Natalie’s hand and listen to Louise Sunborn reading out Schafer’s ridiculous and over-the-top love letters to Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle.

    Wartime meant they were all desperate to grow up, drink as deep as they could from the cup of life before it was snatched away. One day when Louise was reading the latest letter, Natalie had bagged a Sunborn called Neal, and Chaos-of-Battle allowed herself to be kissed by Darius Winterchild. Serene always acted as if she was indulging the pretty things, as if she might laugh about them with her friends later rather than the other way around, and it annoyed Adara deeply.

    But it provided Adara with the perfect opportunity to drift over to where Luke Sunborn sat watching his sister.

    “You’re looking lonely,” she said, and it was true.

    “I’m trying to listen,” said Luke, an edge in his voice.

    Then Louise Sunborn was wounded and carried off the battlefield, in the same battle where Darius Winterchild was killed, and without her to look to Adara felt so impossibly lost, so terrified. There was only Luke left, now, and surely they were all too young to prevail.

    Unbelievably, Luke Sunborn carried the day.

    Adara had always been good with the sword, but never more than on the last day of her first war, when she moved like a dancer and brought all down before her, when the sound of her sword striking was the precursor to trumpets and bells and she knew that they had won, and winning meant they were going to live.

    When the battle was done and the cheering began she held Natalie’s hand, their fingers slippery with blood, and Adara was grateful enough to acknowledge that Serene had even helped Luke lead.

    Victory was so sweet. Adara wanted nothing more than to taste it again, and again, and again.

    *

    The month Natalie chose a Borderlands surname was the same month Adara became involved in the school plays.

    She always got chosen to be the leading lady, the love interest: who wouldn’t choose her? She loved being chosen, and she loved the sound of applause, every person who clapped another one choosing her.

    She got Natalie into it as well, but unlike Natalie she never went at sat at the table with all the council trainees who were involved in drama.

    Adara could like it: but she knew not to like it enough.

    *

    Sometimes when Adara visited Natalie’s house she used the computer to look up things she never wanted Natalie to know she was curious about. She learned a lot of new words she never told Natalie about.

    Even still, she was surprised to see a parade go down the street one day when they were eating doughnuts in a café. Adara thought doughnuts were marvelous, the jam inside, the sugar dusting them: it was all so clever. The tops of these were stale, stiff in her mouth, but she was still eating hers happily when the parade went by, the windows filling with rainbow colors, and Mrs Ventura’s mouth went flat behind her teacup.

    Adara wanted to ask what was going on, but she did not because she was not like Schafer, socially inappropriate and demanding words that nobody wanted to give and making sure nobody liked him.

    “These are so good,” she said. “Thank you for taking us out, Mrs Ventura.”

    And Mrs Ventura, who was afraid of losing Natalie altogether and with good reason, smiled a smile that softened her whole face and put her teacup down.

    “You can have mine, too,” said Natalie. “I don’t fancy it, somehow.”

    Adara took it.
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC)
    The next year, she heard Chaos-of-Battle talking with Schafer about pamphlets from somebody called a guidance counselor, and Adara thought those words, strange when put together, sounded wonderful: someone to guide and advise, someone who knew the right words and could put them in your hands.

    “I’ll give them to you, but I honestly don’t know if they’ll be any help,” said Schafer. “I’m telling you, this guidance counselor was useless and rubbish.”

    Adara thought: at least he’d had the choice, to take or reject guidance. He and Serene were so utterly ungrateful about everything.

    Why they had been discussing the matter at all came clear later, when Luke Sunborn caused a sensation in class by announcing he liked boys.

    Adara was not unduly disturbed. She remembered Natalie saying: everyone likes both, and how it had made absolute, perfect, total sense, how it had seemed so shiningly obvious. That didn’t mean you messed up your whole life.

    It did mean that Luke was not mad about Serene, as everyone had assumed for years. So Dale could stop walking around looking as if he’d already won a beautiful shining trophy: he hadn’t won anything yet.

    It must have been a nasty shock for Chaos-of-Battle, since she then apparently lost all self-respect and began courting with Schafer. That didn’t last, of course, but it proved what Adara had always known: that Chaos-of-Battle was not so great after all, that Adara was better.

    *

    The next year a perfect opportunity was delivered to Adara, like a world on a silver platter.

    Luke Sunborn got involved in the school play, and Adara was the star: he was cast to be her love interest.

    That meant that Adara was given a great deal of time to spend with Luke, such as when Schafer was occupied dancing attendance on the dwarf girl Myra who did the scenery, in the same relentless way he’d pursued Chaos-of-Battle. He showered endearments, made jokes, threw himself into the school play like he’d attended every Trigon game to sit beside the elf. He did everything he could short of just serenading them with a song that went ‘Love me, love me, love me.’

    As soon as Adara thought that, Schafer actually began to sing a love song: something terrible from the otherlands, about making love wearing a cape. Possibly a song about superheroes: Adara knew about those.

    Schafer wasn’t terrible-looking, now that he’d grown up and filled out a bit, stopped giving the impression of a short stick with a huge pile of out-of-control hair on top, a sharp nose poking out of the mess, and an opinion everyone had to hear. Myra was not even fully human. He didn’t have to try so hard, and if you asked Adara trying so hard was what would mess everything up for him. It was pathetic.

    “Here we are, cast as the leads in a play,” said Adara, twinkling up at Luke. “Think the world’s trying to tell us something?”

    That they would be perfect together, that nobody would ever question them and only admire them.

    Just listen, Adara thought, but he wasn’t.

    “I have to… be over there,” said Luke. “Who knows what Elliot could be saying to poor Myra?”

    He smiled at Adara, the engaging smile that made it impossible for her to be really angry with him. She wished she could have that charm for her own, but it didn’t work for her: its appeal was based on Luke’s absolute sincerity, and she did not know how to reproduce that.

    She could only watch Luke’s back, departing in the direction of Schafer and Myra.

    “Hey, loser,” said Schafer, demeanor changing at Luke’s approach, calmer and happier and acting as if that was an appropriate way to talk to Luke. “Do you think you could use your severely limited musical ability to hum a tune so I can show Myra some dance moves?”

    “Nope, I am not going to do that, thanks for asking so politely,” said Luke, and smiled at Myra. “I’m afraid I’m not very musical.”
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
    Adara saw how Myra’s dark eyes lit up, talking to Luke. So many people looked at Luke that way, as if his regard could touch them with gold.

    “What’s a piney collider?” Luke continued, which was a fair question.

    Schafer frowned at him as if he was stupid. “Pina coladas,” he said testily, but then grinned because he was a weirdo. “ ‘If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, if you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain’—well, that lets you out, obviously…”

    He rattled on, alternately insulting and singing, making a very sad spectacle of himself as per usual. In spite of how hard he was trying, Adara noticed, Myra was not really paying the least bit of attention to Schafer. Myra was looking at Luke.

    Too bad for Schafer.

    *

    Too bad for Adara, as it turned out.

    It happened on the night of the school play, when she was feeling as if all triumphs were certain and anyone trying to bring her down might as well be shooting a crossbow at some distant star.

    She had been dancing, whirling with Schafer across a stage and to the sound of music and sighs and applause. She was the main character of the story, the lead of the whole play, and everybody watching wanted her, believed in her, wished for her victory.

    So when she grabbed Luke Sunborn for the big kiss scene, it seemed natural to kiss him: it seemed certain to her that this was the moment pretense would become real.

    Except that it wasn’t the moment she’d thought it would be: the fact he looked the part of the hero didn’t mean that he acted right. Luke’s big bronzed shoulders stayed stiff in her hands, his mouth unyielding under hers as if she’d kissed a beautiful statue.

    She’d been taught all her life the only way to get what she wanted was to push past all limits, but someone else’s boundaries were limits you were not meant to push against.

    Adara left the party and the congratulations as far behind her as she could, went out to the burning fires where she’d first seen Luke Sunborn, and sat on a log with her head in her hands, and had to face it all.

    She’d been chasing someone with no interest in her, pushing the way boys she wasn’t even slightly interested in pushed at her. She’d been so desperate she hadn’t seen it.

    Luke hadn’t wanted her, not ever, and nor had Natalie. Neither of them, and neither of them were going to change their minds, no matter how shiningly brilliant she made herself out to be.

    She was pathetic, as pathetic as Schafer.

    She was just thinking that when she spotted Schafer, and he apologized for kissing her, for ignoring her boundaries. She didn’t even know why that made her want to kiss him. It was against all reason.

    She told herself it was just about having a good time and blotting out all the bad feelings of the night, until Schafer told her he’d slept with men. (Adara was prepared to bet just one man, because even though she was currently doing it, she refused to accept a world in which all that many people would willingly go to bed with Schafer.)

    And it was like being told the most important secret in the world, like having someone draw you close and whisper it to you. Maybe not everyone, but you, and me too: you are not alone.

    Being as pathetic as Elliot did not seem, for a little while, like a death sentence.

    Besides, Schafer was shockingly competent in the sack.

    *
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
    “Did I—when we kissed, when we were younger, was that all right?” Adara asked Dale Wavechaser, months later.

    Dale blinked. “Oh, sure,” he said. “I mean—no offence, Adara, but I was younger and still working things out. I was maybe a little confused, but I’m not confused any more.”

    “Confused, huh?” Adara asked, and felt that dart of pained guilt, the feeling that she should have boundaries worked out like Sunborn and Natalie and Dale and the most certain and self-assured person in the world, Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-goddamn-Battle. But she thought of Schafer: she clung to the thought of him some days, though she did not even like him. He hadn’t seemed confused.

    “Don’t be in love with me, okay?” Dale asked anxiously.

    “Don’t worry,” said Adara, rolling her eyes.

    It was the closest she could come to apologizing to Luke Sunborn, she supposed, since he clearly did not care what she did or how she felt about him. He hardly ever registered when she was there, but when he did notice her he frowned slightly, and she edged away, removing the presence that dimmed his light. She made him able to forget her.

    That was another apology, even if he never realized.

    *

    “I’m done, done with it all,” said Natalie on the very first day of their very last year in the Border camp. “I’m never going back.”

    And Adara lay out in front of her very own cabin, where she could have anyone she wanted spend the night and nobody would ever know unless she chose. She thought about the little village she’d grown up in, thought about the Border camp and the clean singing energy of winning, being so gifted at dancing or fighting that there was no need for words. She thought of the chaos of war with trolls roaring and the bright shapes of harpies overhead like stars in a daytime sky. She thought of cities laid out before her like open jewelry boxes, full of new words to be learned and opportunities to be taken.

    Two worlds for the taking, even if they did not come on silver platters.

    “Never’s a strong word,” Adara said. “Why limit yourself?”
    (Anonymous)
    Oct. 16th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
    Ohhhhhhh my gosh, this is so beautiful and perfect and I am SO EXCITED to get this look into Adara's life and thoughts! There are so many things I loved about it but I haven't quite gathered my thoughts yet -- I'm going to pass it to my sister and properly organize my thoughts so it isn't just a incoherant mess of flailing.

    Thank you so muchhhhhhhhhh!
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
    Aw, you are so welcome! I'm sorry to make you wait and so glad you liked!
    (no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 17th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
    (no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 18th, 2014 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
    wildpear
    Oct. 16th, 2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
    Eeeee . . . . oh my goodness!

    This is fantastic. Adara has been spending her summers in our world! Adara was told she would be given the world on the silver platter, only it was such a small world they wanted to give her! Natalie and the tension with her mother! (I think maybe I forgive Natalie, a little bit, for the way she was the morning after Elliot and Adara slept together.)

    So, so neat to see the way she sees everyone, and even more so to see the way she sees herself!

    And of course, because you know this about me by now, you will not be surprised that I loved this: “I’m trying to listen,” said Luke, an edge in his voice.
    sarahtales
    Oct. 16th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
    I worried I did too much with our two bisexual characters both able to cross over (belabour a metaphor why don't you girl... self...) and almost added Dale or someone, but obviously... I was already... going pretty long... so I am glad you like the summers in our world!

    Oh Luke. Sidles off Sunborn strikes again.
    (no subject) - wildpear - Oct. 17th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC) - Expand
    sleepinbeast
    Oct. 16th, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
    <3
    "Why limit yourself?" indeed.

    THANK YOU. You are my heroine, literature-wise.
    sarahtales
    Oct. 18th, 2014 01:35 am (UTC)
    Re: <3
    Aw, you are so welcome.
    foxglove_chant
    Oct. 17th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
    Adaraaaaaaaa

    Someday, when you return to the Pacific Northwest and have some kind of event I can show up to, I am going to be SO TORN between cosplaying Holly and Adara.

    Maybe do two events near me? ;)

    This was an unexpected and heartbreaking delight!

    Adara just thinking it makes sense for everyone to be bisexual - I remember that stage, I FEEL that stage. Honestly still a bit confused about why this isn't the case, but wevs, I believe people when they tell me they're only attracted to one gender because I don't have to understand something in order for it to be true.

    Still.

    Adaraaaaaaa. Come let me give you hugs and tell you about how you don't have to waste your fabulousness on people who can't appreciate it.
    sarahtales
    Oct. 18th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
    Adara, significantly more leather, perhaps it will depend on the weather. ;) But either would be very thrilling!
    cosmic_llin
    Nov. 11th, 2015 10:51 pm (UTC)
    I just discovered this and it's SO WONDERFUL AND MAGNIFICENT.

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