Series: The Driel Series #1
Author: Liz Keel
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date: April 2016
After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice.
With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…
Enlightenment, the first book of The Driel Trilogy, is a suspenseful work of fantasy that immerses the reader in a richly imagined universe governed by magic and mystery. Tautly plotted, with strong characters and high tension, it will appeal to fans of fantasy and sci-fi, as well as all those who enjoy well-written imaginative literature.
No!” I screamed. It had happened again. This was the fourth night in a row I had woken up with a start, beads of sweat dampening my forehead and a sick feeling swirling in my stomach. Rubbing my face whilst trying to sit up I thought back to the same terrifying dream that had been haunting me for weeks now. Not that I expected it to be any other way. I mean, watching your parents die in a car crash will have that effect on you. The difference was that I was supposed to have died. I know it sounds crazy but there was no way I should have survived that; yet I had, and I was sure that the only reason I was still alive was because of the bright light that had emanated from my body.
We were supposed to have been setting off on a three-month expedition around India, but only got as far as our local town in Montana before it happened. One minute I was sitting in the back of the car fiddling with my iPod and the next second I’d heard Mom screaming. I’d looked up just in time to see a car skidding along on the road before it hit us side-on, flipping us into a ditch. Even now the fear I’d felt at the time – the fear of what was to come – still swallows me whole. Time had seemed to slow down as I had watched my mom and dad being thrown around as the car had turned upside down. Our screams had been overwhelming and I’d been reaching my breaking point, when suddenly all went silent and I had been engulfed in a bright, orange glow that had blinded me. Everything after that was hazy. I remember smacking my head on the window, which had been followed by an unbearable pain that had made my skull feel as though it would explode. I put my hand to my forehead, feeling a warm and sticky liquid trickling down the side of my face. Putting my hand out in front of me, I saw it was blood, but my fuzzy brain couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. It was at that point black spots started to creep into my vision, making everything seem blurry. Then, however much I tried to stay awake, the darkness won and I slipped out of consciousness.
I awoke to an incessant bleeping and hushed whispers of ‘So young’ and ‘Such a shame’ and it was at that point I knew both of my parents were dead. Upon opening my eyes, a numb feeling began to take over as I realised I was in the local hospital with doctors giving me sympathetic looks and calling me sweetie whilst a nurse asked me who they should contact. That was an easy answer: no one. My parents had both been only children and their parents, my grandparents, had died when they were young. There was no one else.
A couple of hours later Eli turned up with his family. Who’s Eli? Explaining him isn’t exactly one of the easiest things to do, as our relationship was complicated to say the least. Foremost, he’s my best friend, even with his over-protective nature, which I think stems from his need to look out for me, kind of like how I imagined a brother would for a sister. This would make sense as I’ve always been really close to his family, who seem to have been in my life for forever. Yes, it was helped by the fact they lived in the same neighbourhood as us and that he went to the same high school as me; but more than that Eli seems to have been there at all my major life events. From losing my first tooth, to falling off my bike and then taking me for walks in the forest when I needed the company, he’s always been there, someone I could rely on.
And again on this eventful day, he turned up knowing exactly what I needed: for someone not to say anything, but instead just to sit with me. He completely ignored his mother’s sobs as he only had eyes for me, walking quickly over to my bed and wrapping his arms around me. He pulled me onto his lap and once again I seemed to fit perfectly as he cocooned me, wrapping his arms around my back, his warmth spreading through me like a drug. We were both seniors but he looked older, probably due to the growth spurt he had had over the summer. At six foot one he was a whole seven inches taller than me and had these tanned muscular arms that were freakishly strong, probably due to his part-time job as a labourer on the local farm. His dark blond hair spent most of the time being brushed back from his forehead, as it always fell into his eyes, but it always really suited him that way. One of the things I loved most about him were his eyes, which sparkled different shades of emerald green and I swear just looking at them let me know how he was feeling. On that day they had been a dull green.
I know the way I’m describing him might make you wonder why I’m not talking about him as something more than just a friend, but that’s the complicated part. You see, my feelings for him are purely platonic, but I don’t think he feels the same. The way Eli looks at me sometimes…the subtle hints…the way he grabs my hand and won’t let go, I think he wants something more and I’m not sure what to do about it. And however selfish this might sound, I need him in my life and can’t mess up our friendship, even to see if there could possibly be something more to our relationship. What if it all went wrong?
“Hey Thea,” Eli had whispered into my ear. “Mom says that when you’re discharged you’re coming home with us, period. No arguing.” I’d squeezed him back, gratefully burying my face in the crook of his neck, unable to communicate how much he and his family meant to me. At least they would be able to keep the loneliness at bay.
We sat like that for ages, me just breathing in his woody, musky smell, wondering how I was meant to function again. He twisted strands of my dark brown hair around his fingers and occasionally stroked his thumb along the side of my chin in a soothing manner. I could hear his mother and father in deep discussions with the police officers, and heard them say it was a miracle I was alive. Tell me about it. The only other person who had been around was Eli’s four-year-old sister Leela, who kept coming up with big, round, sad eyes, patting me on the leg whilst trying to get me to take Buggles, her much loved toy rabbit. She had known something was wrong and had tried her hardest to fix it in the only way she knew how.
That was four months ago, and although I’ve spent most of my time since then feeling numb and totally lost, I have begun to smile again and do normal things like getting up in the morning and going to school. If only these dreams would go away. There was nothing I could do about what had happened, but still my brain was making me re-play it over and over again. However, this latest dream was different.
Whenever I had dreamt about the crash, before the part where the orange glow appeared, I could see the faces of the bystanders with their horrified looks as we began to tip over. But this last time there was another face of a man who looked at me – and I mean really looked at me – as though he knew me. For some reason his eyes glowed with an intense ferocity and the sneer on his face only added to the anger that seemed to radiate off him. I couldn’t work out what I had ever done to him, or why I hadn’t seen him in my dreams before.
Liz Keel lives in Surrey, England, a short walk from the beautiful Windsor Park, with her husband and their two gorgeous children. She sees writing as nothing short of an addiction and often finds herself sneaking out to her writing shed for just a few minutes, which can often turn into hours of pure, unadulterated bliss catching up with her characters and continuing their story. In-between writing, she teaches in a primary school where there’s never a dull moment! She will often be found Kindle in hand, reading a wide variety of genres but with YA fantasy and paranormal romance at the forefront of her reading list.
Although she’s currently writing the second book in the Driel trilogy, other characters involving all things fantasy, paranormal and YA romance are jockeying for position, wanting me to write their story next, so watch this space!