Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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The award-winning Young Adult adventure series reaches its penultimate volume! This collection contains the following books:
Book 7: The Giant Slayer
Europe: birthplace of Grimms' Fairy Tales. An unfamiliar land, brimming with its own breed of Corrupted who hide in the shadows, growing more evil with each passing day. For modern-day hero Alice Goodenough, this is more than enough to worry about. But she also has a fencing tournament to think about.
And a promise to keep with Sam Grayle, a Corrupted dwarf who schemes for more and more wealth. When their train breaks down in a small town in eastern Hungary, Alice finds the legacy of the hero is alive and well. Corrupted have visited this town before, and they aren't quite vanquished just yet. There's one left, hiding away, biding his time to enact a terrible price on his enemies. A little creature with big, big plans ...
Werewolves. Vampires. Giants. Europe is a different place with new dangers, new monsters and new surprises.
Book 8: Darkness Rising
200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm brought their stories to life.
But why? The question has haunted the heroes for two centuries, and no one has come close to the truth. Alice Goodenough will learn the terrible truth. And it will come at a terrible cost.
The fencing tournament is in just a few short days. Alice's team is hopelessly outmatched, facing off against fencers who have more experience and an inhuman amount of energy. But the other fencers also have a special drug, one that Alice's team can use to even the playing field. Whether they should take the drug or not threatens to tear the team apart.
Meanwhile, Alice must live up to her agreement with Sam Grayle, who lusts after a hidden treasure that once belonged to the Corrupted. Alice must team up with a group of explorers and delve deep into a forbidden cave that holds more secrets than any of them expected.
Book 9: Malevolence
The Malevolence has been biding its time inside Castle Vontescue, but now Alice must finally confront it. The very same evil force that brought the Grimms' fairy tales to life now threatens the hero and all she holds dear. No one is safe in the darkness.
But what, exactly, is this centuries-old creature? To find that out, Br'er Rabbit will have to use all of his wits and decode a series of clues before time runs out. Meanwhile, Alice must keep her friends close and fight through her numerous injuries if she hopes to stop the evil.
But nothing is certain. Alice's body is breaking down. Her loved ones are in constant danger. There is no escape now ... soon, she must face off against the ancient evil that lurks within Castle Vontescue.
And there will be blood.
This volume also contains the following extras:
- The lost diary of Abigail Bauer
- An exclusive introduction
... And the following Grimms' Fairy Tales:
- Hans in Luck
- The Brave Little Tailor
- Tom Thumb
- Twelve Dancing Princesses
Interview with Author Ken Brosky
How long did it take to write the book?
We spend about 2 months on each episode. We’ve been writing on “deadline,” basically, for the past two years. It’s been a tremendously enjoyable process, and I’ve been trying to keep the stress levels low by getting ahead whenever I’m in a really deep writing mood. You know the kind … when you can just sit at the computer and totally zone out for a few hours.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
I’ve had a lot of fun with some of the side characters, especially later in the series. A lot of the supporting cast gets fleshed out over the course of the first 6 books, so readers seem to feel nice and comfortable following this group of dedicated Corrupted hunters. It’s nice. The support has been great.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
Every episode is outlined ahead of time. Then, when I write the first draft, I have a tendency to throw out about half the outline because stuff starts popping up organically and I tend to follow those roads to their unexpected ends. Sometimes, it gets me in trouble and I have to write myself out of a corner. Sometimes, it creates whole new avenues to explore and is totally worthwhile. My co-author helps keep things on track in later drafts, so we don’t normally end up stuck.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
I don’t know. I feel sometimes like each of these books could be twice as long, but then the story would be too long and the amount of work would be insane. It would take half a decade to put the story down at that length. And there’s something inherently fun about making each episode only about 120 pages or so: it forces us to make conscious decisions about keeping the text lean. It’s helped a lot when it comes to keeping the plot manageable.
How did you come up with the cover?
Chris Smith designed the cover. We’re exploring other cover ideas as well.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in middle school. I’d been drawing comics up to that point. Really bloody, violent comics with little to no character development. Then I “graduated” to really bad short stories with little to no character development.
What are you favorite books and authors?
Right now I’m reading a really weird one: “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi. I’ve also been reading a lot of Charles Stross.
What are you working on next?
A science-fiction YA series. Three books, short and sweet. It’s going to be epic …
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Read, read, read. No one ever listens to me.
“There’s a boat,” I told Harper. “Through these trees. It can’t be far. It’ll take us across a lake. We … well, we’re not going to be any safer on the other side, but at least we won’t be surrounded by man-eating trees.”
“Fair enough. Come on!” Harper led the way, the flashlight’s beam bouncing with each step. We followed him closely, giving every possible branch a wide berth. The groaning was getting louder, echoing all around us. The sound of creaking wood came from every direction.
McCormack, breathing heavily, started to fall behind.
“Come on, you big lug!” I shouted, grabbing him by the shirt.
“I’m … I’m … I’m done, lassy!”
“No!” I pulled him harder, swinging my axe at a twisted branch as it reached out for him. Burning blackness spread across the bark, igniting the massive tree and lighting up the forest. We both drew in a sharp breath. All of the nearby trees were swaying, their branches pulling away from the flames, their trunks reflecting the orange glow. Each trunk had a distinct face, distorted and grotesque.
We hurried to catch up, ducking low beneath the branches of another tree. Something snagged the collar of my shirt, scratching my neck. I screamed, turning and grabbing the branch with my left hand. I swung my axe at the branch, but the axe head flew off the handle, landing somewhere in the darkness.
You don’t know how to draw an axe head, Alice!
“I got ya, lass!” McCormack’s big hands wrapped around my waist and he pulled while I twisted the branch. It tore the collar of my sweater but I was free! We hurried to join the others, weaving our way around another tree.
“Up ahead!” I told them, pointing with the axe handle. The trees were thinning out, and ahead I could see the lake. On the other side of the lake were the trees with the glowing blue plums, their light reflecting on the surface of the black water.
“Careful!” Cixi said, jumping in front of Wodehouse and slicing a branch in half before its claw-like fingers could grab him. A dozen trees were still in front of us, each one swaying, each one’s branches writhing and twisting toward us. Cixi cut another branch, then another. Harper dodged and ducked, trying his best to keep the beam of the flashlight directly ahead of us.
“Gaaah!” McCormack shouted.
I turned around, cursing. The big man’s arms were pinned to his body, one thick branch squeezing him tightly around the waist.
“They’re—urk!—they’re squeezing my bladder!” he shouted.
“Hold on!” I bent down, drawing a gladius. It wasn’t an axe, but it would have to do. I pulled it from the ground and looked up. Another branch! I ducked, avoiding the shadowy limb and swinging the short sword in a wide arc. I chopped away bark, but the tree refused to burn. I chopped again and again; slowly, the burning blackness appeared. I hurried to McCormack, hacking away at the limbs holding him. Bark chipped away. The burning blackness spread, turning the branches to ash. The trunk burst into flame, sending a hickory-sweet smoke into the air. The tree burned quickly, leaving ashes scattered at our feet.
McCormack clutched his stomach, gasping. “I don’t know who ya are, lass, but I owe ya one.”