Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 83,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession is:
When seventeen-year-old Kaelin’s da dies, she takes his place as mechanic for the Beast, the biomechanical furnace that keeps the Ice from overrunning her village. Thanks to the dragon’s blood in her veins, she’s the only one who can endure the Beast’s infernally hot temperatures long enough to make repairs.
But the smoking hunk of junk is so old it barely has a pulse. The only way to get replacement parts is by trekking across the Ice, the same journey that killed her da. She can stay and battle the furnace for as long as she can or risk everything by leaving, but if she makes the wrong choice, they’ll all freeze.
Then she gets an offer, from a prince of all people. The furnaces of the capital city, which has been the enemy of the villages for generations, are shutting down. If she can fix them, the crown will reward her with the parts needed to give life back to the Beast. But as Kaelin starts repairing the furnaces, she discovers they aren’t malfunctioning: they’re being sabotaged. Unless she figures out who’s doing it and how, the entire furnace network will shut down. And although she might not be the mechanic her da was, she won’t let anyone freeze without a fight. Not the city she hates. And not the villages she loves.
First 250 words:
The glow of the furnace conduit flickered beneath my hands. I twisted the pliers, wrapping the strand tighter but the conduit went dark. I gave the wall a sharp whack with my wrench and pain took my arm for a knife block. I bit down on my tongue to stop myself from cursing.
It was no use. The conduit was nothing more than a dark husk, so obvious against the red-hot glow of the tunnel wall it mocked me. We needed that heat, every scrap we could get, because out here on the Ice, heat meant life.
Think. There had to be a way to fix this, to breathe life back into the Beast. But the blasted count kept thudding away in my head, getting louder by the second. 224... 225... Da had always warned me to get out before I hit two hundred. It was too easy to lose yourself in here, to not notice when the heat started shutting you down.
One last try. I attacked the conduit again, focusing on the inner strands that were so whisper-thin they’d look like threads of gold once I got them lit. If I got them lit.
243... 244... Streams of orange swayed through the red of the walls, dangerously hypnotic. Sweat plastered my skin to my gloves and I yanked them off. A burning ache settled deep into my hands but at least my fingers didn’t feel three sizes too big anymore.
I twined the strands together again.