I have been thinking for a long time about what makes someone good or bad. All of us are mixed buckets of virtue and vice, strengths and weaknesses. I have come to believe that those among us who are most capable of being kind are probably also most capable of being cruel. I'm intrigued by this, and by the idea of where our choices interplay with our basic nature.
The Missing Heir of Mandralay is about this question. None of the main characters is quite what they seem. There is a monster who does not want to be bad. Does his regret for his nature temper his culpability? And, are his choices sufficient to overcome his instincts? Or, is he simply a monster?
Another character appears to be good, but we find out later she is good because she's trying to atone for terrible things. She walks in the light because she has been in the darkness, and fears it may be too late for her. Is she good despite her very flawed decisions in the past?
Finally, one of the characters is innocent and as untainted morally as one can be. But as she grow in power, she uses it badly, and it overwhelms her. Acting in self-defense, she becomes excessive and unchecked. Worse, she finds that she liked that feeling. As she struggles to understand, she wonders if she can ever be innocent again, or if she remains tainted and stained by this.
Choices. Instincts. Intrinsic qualities versus external actions. Aspirations against past decisions. Conscience and the gap between what we know is right and what we are capable of doing.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Blog Tour ~ The Missing Heir of Mandralay
Author: Braden Bell
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Dates: 20th – 24th of Feb
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
A heartless monster. An innocent girl. He holds her life in his paws, but she holds his soul in her hands.
Thirteen-year-old Tallie has a strange new power. While experimenting with this power late at night, she is discovered by Mother Kyraisa, the ancient nun who runs the orphanage where Tallie lives. Terrified of something, Mother Kyraisa evacuates the orphanage and burns it to the ground. The pair flees into the desert with only a wagon and a lead-lined coffin to protect the girl from the unspoken danger that pursues her.
With no memories, no heart, or even a name, X is a monster. Fiercest of the Bestials, his predator’s instincts are controlled only by powerful spells binding his life to the regent’s will. When a flash of apostate magic betrays the hiding place of the late queen’s daughter, the regent dispatches X to kill the child—her niece and the long-hidden heir to the throne.
Following the child’s magic, X tracks Tallie to her hiding place. He prepares to kill her, until Tallie surprises him with a sincere request for help.
Tallie’s innocence and trust awaken a small spark of humanity inside X, and he tries to help her. But he remains a monster, bound by instinct and unbreakable oaths. Helping Tallie triggers a ferocious battle, as X fights his primal nature for her life—and his only hope of redemption.
Meanwhile, Tallie grapples with the tragedy of her past and her identity as crown princess. As royal heir, Tallie finds access to immense power—enough to destroy her enemies, but possibly her own soul as well, turning her into a monster far worse than X.
Braden Bell (who writes Young Adult novels under the name Brandon Gray) holds a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his family live on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee, where he teaches middle school theatre and music. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys reading, gardening, and long summer afternoons writing in his hammock. To read about his YA novels, check out: amazon.com/author/brandongray
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