Book Marketing Buzz Young Adult Fantasy Romance Book Pick: Voluspa: A Magical World by Ray East & Sam D.

VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD, by Ray East & Sam D., PRAMITA, 212 pp., $5.65 (Kindle $ .99).

Centuries ago, war between aliens and humans almost destroyed the world. To prevent such a war from happening again, a mighty ruler then formed a secret society of nine powerful humans and aliens called the Bramhas. These Bramhas each wrote a book imparting ancient wisdom and knowledge. The possession of these books could bring about untold power and success. The nine books were hidden but the desire to possess those books, still cause men to fight wars and turn against each other. One such war was fought in the realm of Voluspa decades back; the consequences of that war still resonate in this magical land. Two young lovers get caught in this tussle and it changes their destinies forever.

Amy’s humdrum life takes a complete 180’ turn with the death of her stepfather. She goes to live with her grandmother – her only living relative, though she hasn’t seen her in the last five years. Among her mother’s childhood memorabilia, she finds a book ‘Legends of Voluspa’ that captures her imagination. She becomes so engrossed in the book that she starts dreaming  about the places in the book till one night she finds herself inexplicably transported to the new world – Voluspa, as described in the book. Here she meets Drake, who unknown to her is a shape shifter.  Chemistry cackles between the two from the very first and as they discover that they share a lot in common, a tenuous bond forms between the two. ‘I’ll keep you safe’ vows Drake and he remains true to his word as he befriends her and saves her from various troubles that befall her over the next couple of months.

In Voluspa, Amy discovers a new way of life. It’s a magical world inhabited by primarily four clans – Empaths, Morphus, Mendens and the Pulchrous. The Empaths have the power of mind, the Morphus are the shape shifters, Mendens are the healers while the Pulchrous possess physical perfection and strength. With the help of an old family friend, Amy takes her rightful place in the Empath clan. This marks a new chapter in Amy’s life. She realizes her own powers and subsequently starts going to a school to enhance the same. With Drake by her side, she makes some wonderful friends. However, her life is not all smooth sailing; trouble comes when she learns the truth about her biological parents. She realizes that her very existence is against Voluspan law which forbids the union between individuals belonging to two different clans. History threatens to repeat itself as she realizes that her predicament was not that different from what her mother had faced, decades back. She is totally in love with Drake, who belongs to the Morphus clan.

The enchanting world of Voluspa is far from Utopic; it has barely recovered from a devastating war fought twenty years back when the peace of the land is once again threatened by Gangrels, the evil army of aliens.  The two young lovers soon realize that besides contending with forbidden love, they have to deal with other impediments. Ancient enmities, a past war, a much coveted book, all conspire against the two lovers. Gangrels reappear in Voluspa and Drake falls in the clutches of one such evil being who would stop at nothing to realize his fiendish ambitions. Amy and her friends cross realms, face enemies, deal with challenges, solve riddles and brave possible destruction, as they set off on an adventure to rescue Drake.  The ‘Force of Sutra’ clashes with the ‘Elemental Force’ of the Gangrels as Amy and her friends are faced with an indomitable enemy. They use strategic warfare, pit adversaries among themselves and use every last drop of strength, skill and courage as they take on warriors far more ruthless and skilled than themselves.

As Amy embarks upon a quest to save Drake, her love for him is tested at every turn but she never wavers from her objective. Braving imminent death she manages to reach Drake – only to find a changed person. Gone is the man she is in love with, instead a dangerous stranger stood in his place. This Drake was teetering at the edge between becoming completely evil and retaining his own soul. He almost harms Amy but stops himself at the very last minute. His love for Amy proves to be stronger than the evil entity threatening to overpower him.  However when chips are down, Drake comes through. He sets aside his personal well-being in order to save Amy, one last time. Drake is perhaps lost forever but hope dies last – Amy is determined to get back Drake, no matter what the cost.

Book Excerpt:

No way could she follow the beast into the woods, what if it was waiting and pounced on her the moment she stepped into the shadowy darkness of the dense woods, dream or no dream she had no desire to encounter that overgrown dog again. But she couldn’t go back, she had already spent what felt like hours to get to this point and somehow she had to move forward. With trepidations, she tackled the creek and started walking along the edge of the woods hoping to get as far away from the beast as possible. Doggedly she walked on, fervently wishing her dream would now end till she came across a small rocky ridge. She had no desire to indulge in rock climbing in her totally inadequate PJs but on the other hand she was loath to enter the forest. ‘Talk about choosing between a rock and a hard place ‘ she chuckled to herself. ‘Well this time I choose rock’ she announced to no one in particular as she started negotiating her way up the ridge. She was a good ten feet above the ground when she felt a shower of loose gravels and looked up to see death staring back at her.

She forgot that she was dreaming, she forgot that the creature that was malevolently eyeing her had become extinct millions of years back and could not possibly exist.  She even forgot to breathe as she looked at what could only be described as a ’sabre toothed tiger’, poised to attack her. For the second time in the day, fear rendered her immobile – either the nightmare was going to end or her life would. A loud snarling caught the attention of the tiger – the black monstrous dog was back and it placed itself squarely between her and the tiger. With an unexpected flash of humor, Amy thought ‘ great now I have two monstrous beasts vying to make me their prey.’ What followed had to be the most primitive display of strength and violence that Amy had ever witnessed – loud snarls reverberated in the air as the beasts took each other’s measure, teeth bared, hackles raised, they circled each other. The beasts were evenly matched in size and as they used their hind legs to rear up and strike at each other, Amy could get a glimpse of their sharp claws and protruding canines. The big cat aimed for the dog’s jugular as it tried to sink its teeth into the dog’s neck, but the dog ducked away and used it massive jaws to clamp on the other beasts back. The struggle continued till the cat swiped at the dogs face, drawing first blood, the dog howled in rage and agony and retaliated by gripping the cat by the back of its neck and with all its might, tossed it aside, as the cat landed in a heap with a bone crunching thud and yelped in pain. What followed remained a mystery to Amy as she lost her footing and tumbled all the way down and landed at the bottom with a thud and blessed darkness enveloped her.

She woke to the feeling of being gently shaken by strong, firm hands. She forced her eyes open to find a stranger bent over her, engrossed in the process of trying to rouse her. Maybe she had died and gone to heaven because the boy looked like an angel. No, on second thought she must have gone southward as he looked more like a fallen angel – all dark and intense. As Amy looked her fill, she became even more fascinated -he was younger than she had first thought, probably a few years older than her, but there was nothing boyish about him. It was not as if he was very handsome , he had dark hair almost black and equally dark eyes, a roman nose which looked like it had been broken at some point, a strong square jaw  and a tall , muscular frame – handsome was too pretty a word to describe him , he was elemental – fierce, almost dangerous. He had a long gash on his cheek which looked raw and was still oozing blood.

‘You are hurt’ she blurted out pointing to the gash on his cheek.

A low rumbling laugh came from the boy as he sat u p and extended a hand to help her up. ‘You tumbled down the ridge and you tell me I’m hurt! Can you stand up? I don’t think you have any broken bones but it was quite a fall you took. You are very lucky that you survived the fall at all, that too without any broken bones. Do you realize you fell from a height of almost 10 ft. and landed on hard unyielding stone? In fact I’m still trying to understand how you are still in one piece’.

As Amy scrambled up she realized she was now inside the dense woods. ‘I… those animals…Where exactly am I?’

‘You are safe’ the boy assured her calmly. ‘At least as safe as you can be in the Forest of Skotos in Voluspa’ he added on afterthought.

But I can’t be…I mean I’m not really in your world…this is all part of an elaborate dream. I know this is going to sound strange but I don’t remember reading about you in my book so I’m wondering why you are part of my dream and you look nothing like Matt…I dreamt about him once… so I think the question is who are you?’ she babbled.

The boy stared at her as if she was crazy and in all honesty Amy couldn’t blame him. Dream or not she did sound hopelessly confused, maybe she hit her head harder than she thought when she took the fall.

Amy flinched back as the boy inched closer, almost circling around her and then he did the craziest thing, he sniffed the air around her.

‘Wake up Amy. Wake up right now’ she muttered as she pinched herself and let out a loud yelp.

‘Yup definitely human’ he uttered in resigned tones.

‘Well you look like one too’, Amy retorted under her breath, she could now feel every one of her bruises and aches and was on the verge of bursting into tears.

‘How did you get here? Humans can’t bridge the gap; are there more of you?’ he demanded suspiciously, all concern for her welfare definitely gone.

‘I know you don’t believe me but I am not really here. I have been reading this book – “Legends of Voluspa” and dreaming about it every night. You are just part of my dream and any moment now I’m going to wake up’.

He looked almost insulted as he stepped closer and took her hand, ‘Here feel this. It’s real ‘ he said as he placed her hand on the bark of the nearest tree, and ‘feel this’ and he pressed her hand on the gravel ‘and I’m real too’ he said as he placed her hand on his chest.’ And that Smilodon on the mountain was real too and if that dog hadn’t come, it would have ripped you into pieces’.

‘Where did you find me?’ Amy asked.

‘I saw you fall from the ridge and then carried you here. The Smilodon can always come back to that cliff. It probably inhabits one of the caves; it must have been protecting its cubs’ he answered.

‘Smilodon’, Amy hesitatingly pronounced the name – so the sabre toothed tiger, the black dog and everything that has been happening to her was real. Having the illusion of being in a dream ripped off from her, Amy felt achingly vulnerable and lost. ‘Look you have to help me; if this is not a dream then I need to get back right now!’

‘I can’t help you with that. I can’t even imagine how you got here in the first place’.

Amy blinked back tears of frustration and genuine fear, as she observed the boy. Realizing that she may be stuck with his company for some time she decided to at least find out his name.

‘I’m Amy by the way, what’s your name?’ she asked

‘I’m called Drake’.

‘How old are you?’ asked Amy openly curious.

‘I’ve seen seventeen winters if that’s what you mean’.

Somehow he looked older than seventeen- more self-assured, more confident.

‘You said I’d be in trouble if someone finds me here; so why aren’t you turning me in? You know calling for your people?’

Drake shrugged as if faintly embarrassed, ‘I’ve read about your world, I’ve always been curious about your human ways but I’d never imagined that I’d meet one and you don’t look like a threat to me or my people. I’ve nothing to gain by calling in the clan elders’.

Amy silently digested that piece of information, surprised to hear that the human world was not a mystery to the people of this land whereas , other realms and their occupants was hardly a topic for study in her world except in fantasy novels and sci- fi movies perhaps. Was it because of the arrogance of the human race or just limitations of the human mind, Amy wondered?

‘You can’t be wondering in these forests. We have to find some place for you to hide. Till you can go back to your world and we need to find something else for you to wear. You are still in your night clothes ‘ stated Drake, curiously looking at her pink and black ‘Hello Kitty ‘ PJs.

About to open her mouth to defend her favorite pair of jammies, Amy froze midway as she heard a sound of faint rustling of dry leaves. Drake moved in a flash and instantly pushed her behind a tree trunk of enormous girth.

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