Authors: Nathalie De Los Santos, co-writer: Josh Green
In the year 1521, an imperialistic theocracy called the Derramar have colonized the islands of Pagsamo. After years of brutal indoctrination and injustice, the downtrodden people across the archipelago revolt against the Derramar. They’re inspired by Mayari Bathala, whom they call the Blood Rose—one of the last practitioners of magic known as the Freedoms.
Mayari witnesses the indoctrination of the Order warp the minds and hearts of her people, the harsh change in their beliefs affecting even the spirits of the islands, twisting them into the very foes the Order preaches against. She discovers a fellow Freedom—perhaps the last—named Vidal and seeks to unite their powers to save Pagsamo. In the Stronghold, Vidal is a soldier of the Order-ordained task force, the Civil Guard. Serving the Derramar, he sees their corruption firsthand, which inspires him to join Mayari’s uprising. From his people, he discovers the meaning of equality and unlearns the colonial socialization instilled in him. Together, the last of the Freedoms face down their enemies and the forces that threaten to enslave their people.
COME LISTEN TO ME READ IT AT SAMPAGUITA PERSPECTIVES AT VPL ON MAY 14TH.
Alice is a sixteen-year-old girl and genius. She became a weapon developer after her sister, Dawn, was killed in an Empyrean terrorist attack. Alice then rises up against the Empyreans, who are executed when their psychic abilities are identified. The Empyreans use telekinesis to steal, terrorize and murder without remorse. She creates the robot Neutralizers that perform and automate these “ethical cleansings.”
But Alice soon meets a friend who changes her perspective on the attack. A benevolent, peaceful activist who was friends with Dawn, Cleris advocates for the rights of Empyreans. To her surprise, Alice discovers Cleris is an Empyrean himself, able to hide his identity. Faced with the very real possibility of Cleris’s death, the fabric of everything Alice believed and fought for is unraveled.
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