Welcome to the book blitz for THE HOLLOW WORLD the third book in the young adult fantasy scifi series, Fragments, by Tracy Auerbach. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
About the Book
Title: THE HOLLOW WORLD
Series: Fragments #3
Author: Tracy Auerbach
Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
The time has come for Kai and her friends to make a final stand, and as the war begins, everyone must choose a side. But with the lines between good and evil more blurred than ever, Kai has to stick with her convictions and follow her heart. Kai’s first priority is to free Finn from the clutches of Tessa Raven, who has become no better than the evil she once fought against.
As Kai reluctantly turns against the people she once considered her closest friends, she becomes entangled in a struggle with a mysterious new power that threatens to destroy what is left of Finn and change everything she thought she knew about the planet.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Aric remain behind and help Raven breach the underground world of the Science Council. All bets are off as they prepare to cross every line and burn every bridge in an attempt to claim the world that has abused them for too long.
Aric stormed into the weight room section of the training facility and cast his eyes around, over the two soldiers working out with dumbbells, before catching sight of the huge type ‘A’ soldier he’d been looking for.
Charlie stood in the center of the gym, a good ways apart from the other soldiers, curling a massive bar weight up to his chest and down again in quick reps. Beside him, on a sit-up bench, sat the trademark type ‘A’-sized flask of whiskey that he was rarely seen without nowadays. Or was it scotch? It hardly mattered.
“Charlie,” called Aric, approaching him.
“That’s me.” Charlie grinned dopily, dropped the weight—which sent a shockwave through the floor—and reached for his drink.
“Enough of that,” Aric snapped. “Are you even sober enough to understand what I’m saying?”
“Sure.” Charlie kept the grin plastered on, but Aric noticed it didn’t reach his bloodshot eyes. It never did anymore. He was so changed from the hopeful, intense, good-natured soldier that Aric had known back at the fort. That had been back when Charlie had hope—when he’d been in love.
“I need to talk to you,” Aric whispered, “but not here.” He glanced toward the other two soldiers, lowering his voice even further. “We need privacy.”
“Privacy?” mumbled Charlie. “I can do that.” He turned toward the other soldiers, shouting, “Get out!”
As his deep voice echoed through the gym, the soldiers—Aric couldn’t remember their names—beat feet out the door as Charlie slumped down against the wall he’d been standing beside, uncapped the flask, and took a swig.
“I…” Aric didn’t know how to begin. The rumors he’d heard about Raven’s plan for Finn Turner were too awful, and he didn’t know how Charlie, his only friend, would react to them. He took a seat beside Charlie. “I’ve heard a few things that won’t be easy for you to hear, Charlie, but I need to tell you because we have to decide what to do.”
“I’m listening.” Charlie stretched his arms above his head and exhaled, filling the air around them with the sweet, heavy reek of liquor. Aric winced.
“Raven’s been talking to her inner circle, and the rumors have spread because Larson can’t keep his big mouth shut, so now everyone knows… I think.” He paused. “Charlie, I think she’s planning to use Finn as a missile. She’s going to have him run into that crystal column at full force. It will probably be our best chance of breaking the thing, but it’s a suicide mission.”
A long silence stretched out between them. Charlie took another, longer swig from the flask, and they both sat there for a moment, staring off into space. Finally, Charlie cast his eyes to the other object on the sit-up bench: the tablet that controlled Finn. It was never out of his sight.
At first, Aric had thought it an odd choice for Raven to leave it in his keeping. But then he’d realized the brilliance of the decision. Nobody—not even the other type ‘A’ soldiers who were controlled by Raven—could get something away from Charlie Manning if he didn’t want to give it up. Charlie knew how to fight, and he was smarter than the others.
Also, Charlie had confided to him that Raven kept calculating things about the people she’d known on an emotional level: Aric himself, Charlie, Kai, and Finn. A lot of her calculations for “potential outcomes”—the way she read probabilities to see the future—were inconsistent when it came to them.
However, one thing that was always the same was Charlie’s loyalty to her. It was always one hundred percent. Not ninety-nine point nine. One hundred. Every single time, regardless of what factors she used in her equations.
Aric supposed it was hard to argue with odds like that.
“I guess there’s nothing I can do, then,” said Charlie, scooping up the tablet. He also grabbed a towel off the bench and mopped sweat off his dripping face. “She’s made her choice.”
Aric’s heart sunk, and he failed to suppress a grimace. This wasn’t the Charlie that he had known. Not at all. Even if the type ‘A’ was resigned to his own fate as Raven’s lapdog, Aric had a hard time believing that he would allow something like this to become of his best friend. Charlie had fought so hard for Finn—only to give up now? If only he’d quit the damn drinking, maybe he’d start acting like himself again.
“How long have you been working out?”
“About three hours.”
“Not much else to do.”
“I’ll see ya around, Aric.” The type ‘A’ waved then as he exited the gym, bringing his towel, flask, and Finn’s tablet with him.
Aric bent and, just for curiosity’s sake, attempted to lift the immensely weighted bar that Charlie had been using off the floor. He couldn’t even roll it; his body jerked down, and he felt a pop in his back.
“Holy shit,” he muttered through the pain. “He is strong.”
Shaking his head, he left the room and walked down the hall. The few soldiers who’d been idling outside, waiting for Charlie to leave, shot Aric a side-eye before heading into the gym. Raven didn’t trust him, so, by proxy, none of her goons trusted him.
Aric once again ruminated on his own part in all this as he walked down the brightly lit corridors, passing soldiers who either ignored him or shot him suspicious glares. Had his actions back at his bunker—driving Tessa and Finn away and experimenting on Charlie—somehow dragged all of them further down this awful path? And then they’d helped him, even when he hadn’t deserved their help.
Damn it! I can’t let this happen. I owe it to all of them not to let this happen to Finn.
Since Charlie was, as usual, not very responsive, Aric figured he’d go and give Kai a try next. Not that he thought she’d be much better. She truly cared about Finn but hated Aric himself so much that he doubted she’d be willing to work with him in any capacity, even to save Finn.
Aric drew in a deep breath, preparing himself for the well-deserved ire he knew was coming his way.
“Hey, Kai,” he said, knocking on her door. “It’s me. Aric.”
“Screw off!” she shouted from inside her quarters.
“It’s about Finn…”
He heard footsteps, and the door opened with a creak, exposing Kai’s tear-streaked face. Her dark eyes, so much like Dex’s, shone with fresh wetness, pooling and dripping down her cheeks.
God, he missed Dex.
She blinked, scowling at him through her misery. “Come to rub it in?” she asked. “Well, you’re too late. I’ve already heard.”
“Maybe there’s something—”
“Not with you!” She wiped at her eyes with her fists. “I’ll save him, but I’ll do it on my own. I’d let him die before accepting your help. I don’t even know why you’re still pretending to give a crap.”
Before he could answer, she slammed the door in his face.
With a sigh, Aric walked back to his room, marveling at his own uselessness. He’d once been so powerful, and he’d sunk so low. Sometimes, he wished he’d never gotten emotions, because times like this hurt so bad, he felt like he was falling down a deep well. And every day, the chance of ever crawling out of it seemed farther and farther away.
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About the Author
Tracy Auerbach is an author of science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. As an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she chose to study film, English, and education, and went on to teach and write STEM curriculum for the New York Department of Education. This helped to polish her writing skills and ignite her passion for science fiction and fantasy.
Her first scholarly article, published in Language Magazine, was about the value of active, creative learning in science. On the fiction side, Tracy’s work has been featured in the online literary journal Micro-horror, The Writing Disorder fiction anthology, and the “(Dis)ability” short story anthology, in addition to her novels.
When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading or spending time with her family. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.
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