Y'all, I'm totally having a geek-out fangirl moment! My dear friend and awesome author, Ali Cross, is featured on today's stop of the 2014 Summer Author Promo Blitz hosted by Book Boost PR ... and SHE'S ON MY BLOG! URMEGUR! I've just finished reading her FANTASTIC sci-fi book, Blood Crown, which I'm reviewing today. It's an honor to have Ali here on Books and Broomsticks. I know you'll enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
But today's stop isn't just an ordinary blog hop stop. To mix things up a little, I've interviewed one of Ali's characters from Blood Crown. And that's not all! I'm also sharing my thought's on this awesomely unique book. And Ali's offering up a signed copy of Blood Crown to one lucky winner (US only)!!!!!
Ali Cross grew up watching Bruce Lee movies and dreamed of being a kick-butt martial artist like Cynthia Rothrock. Well, she never became the kind of ninja she envisioned, but she does hold a hold a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, one sumo dog and four zen turtles. And a cache of nunchucks, staffs, kamas and other dangerous ninja-weapons.
Ali moonlights as Alex Banks when she can write wild middle grade adventures set in the faraway places of her imagination.
Where to Find Ali
Today's Featured Book
Androids have claimed power over what remains of the human race. They rule without remorse. They are the Mind and humans exist only to serve them. But it wasn't always so. Before the android uprising, select droids, called Servants, were pivotal in engineering a new human race with nanotechnology enhanced DNA. The Blood Crown theorem was to be humanity's crowning glory and the key to their survival in deep space. But Serantha, Daughter of the West, was the last female to receive Gifts from her Servant and when the Mind mutinied, she was hidden away, and presumed dead. Without Serantha there is no hope of the Blood Crown being realized so Nicolai, Son of the East, abandons his crown to join the rebel forces. He might not provide the future for his people he had once dreamed of, but he will not go down without a fight. When Nicolai discovers Sera among a small compliment of kitchen staff, everything changes--but Sera's Gifts were never completed and she is ill-equipped to face a legion of androids determined to wipe her, and every other human, out of existence. Their only hope is the Blood Crown--but even if Serantha and Nicolai can realize their potential it may be too late to save mankind
Hi, Archibald! Thanks so much for stopping by for a cappuccino and a chat. Oh, wait, do androids drink coffee? I enjoy a good coffee, Belle. Please, and thank you. Oh, great! Well, have a seat and let’s get to it. Ali’s fans are as eager to get to know you as I am.
- I’m so curious about life as an android. What is your earliest memory? Your happiest memory? Your saddest?
My earliest memory is not technically my own. My Creator gave it to me upon my birth—as he has done with all my brothers and sisters. It’s a memory of his love for us, so that we will always remember his purpose in creating us, so that we might always stay true to that purpose.
My happiest memory—well, that’s a little harder to define. I suppose the first time I held Serantha in my arms and she looked up at me and recognized me. I’d been joined with her since her creation, my programming had prepared me for this moment. And yet . . . it hadn’t. The reality of it, the truth of it, was so much more. Yes, becoming Serantha’s Servant was the happiest moment of my life.
As for my saddest . . . I suppose you’ll be able to figure it out when you read Serantha’s sad tale.
- What was your relationship to the traitor, Galen, before the uprising?
Galen was my first friend. We were born on the same day—released from our stasis to begin training for our roles as Servants. Even though he was created to be a commander of the King’s ships, and I to raise the King’s child, we found we had much in common and enjoyed one another’s company. We both enjoyed games of wit—though he was much snappier than I. I always appreciated that about him. He could make me laugh, help me to “loosen up” as he called it. I was grateful for his tutelage in this because Serantha was not a sober child and Galen’s influence helped me to be a better Servant to Sera.
- What’s it like being in service to the royal family of the West?
Serving the royal family was my greatest privilege. The king and queen, while engrossed in their respective responsibilities, were kind and thoughtful toward their daughter, and to me. It was an honor living among them while I prepared Serantha for her role as queen over both the West and the East.
- Before the andie uprising, what were the political relations like between the East and the West?
It was my hope that Serantha and Nicolai would breach the divide that had grown wider during the reign of their parents. Relations between the East and West had always been . . . tenuous . . . but Nicolai’s father was particularly obtuse and unlikely to be swayed from whatever course he set his mind to—even when he was wrong. Forgive me, it is not my place to pass judgment, but . . . I had confidence that Serantha and Nicolai would repair whatever damage their parents might have caused.
- At what point did you know your purpose in life was to guard and rear princess Sarantha?
From the moment I awoke, I knew. And I was overjoyed to be of service in such a way.
- What was she like when you first met her? How old was she? How did it feel for you when you first saw her? Held her?
I became Serantha’s Servant before she was born—before she was conceived. My nanos were already a part of her mother, the queen, in anticipation of her conception. So the moment the proper cells were aligned to create her life, I was there, nurturing her, encouraging her to grow.
As I said, when I first held her, I began the first of many Transfers, sharing my symbiants with her so that we could be joined at a molecular level. When she opened her eyes and her gaze met mine . . . at that moment I comprehended what wouldn’t be possible for any other android but a Servant—the value of human life. Not just Serantha’s but all life.
- What’s it like when your symbiants communicate with Sarantha? What did it feel like during those years you had no connection with her?
My words are inadequate to truly convey how it feels to be a part of her, to know her needs and wants intimately in a way no human can truly be. It feels . . . like magic.
When I was cut off from her—those long years were the darkest of my existence. I felt like only part of myself. Like I was missing a limb—but more so. Like I was missing my heart.
When we were reunited, and our symbiants once again began sharing their communication, it was like I could breathe again, like my heart beat again. It matters not that I possess no actual heart—what matters was that Serantha was my heart and she gave me purpose.
- Before the uprising, what sorts of recreational activities did the humans enjoy aboard ship?
Dancing. Always dancing. The king and queen enjoyed lavish parties and partook of them quite frequently. Many humans enjoyed physical activities and the ship was equipped to meet their various desires from long running tracks that could give the runner the feeling of being in whatever environ they chose, to rock-climbing structures that mimicked the most challenging of mountains on Earth.
The art of storytelling had enjoyed a resurgence, and Serantha particularly enjoyed it. I have to say I had become rather good at it, myself, mastering the art of impersonating several individuals on the ship that brought particular joy to Sera and the other children.
- What is your greatest hope for Sarantha’s future? Your greatest fear?
My greatest hope is, as all parents wish for their child, that she will find happiness. That she will find joy in the simple things of life—friendship, companionship, love. That she will learn to laugh and find many opportunities to do so.
My greatest fear—well, I suppose it would be that she should forget me. But that is selfish of me, I suppose. I fear that the East will not allow her and Nicolai the happiness they so deserve. I fear that war may come to them far sooner than they might wish. I fear she’ll experience sorrow and loss—and if I had any true magic, I would save her from such heartache.
- Is there anything you have on your mind you’d like to discuss?
I would like to thank you for your interest—it is a joy to speak of Sera and my calling to be her Servant. It was too long that I was forced to pretend to have forgotten her that I feel I have all these memories clamoring to be shared. Also, I wish that the humans could know that Galen and his Mind do not speak for the whole of the android population. There is goodness in us, yet. There is the capacity, the desire, to serve. I hope you and your people will remember.
Thank you, Archibald. That was a very informative interview, and I'm glad that I finally got to meet you. Don't tell the other characters this, but you are my favorite!
My Review of Blood Crown
Oh, how I relished every word of this smartly-written science fiction novel! I don't want to give any spoilers, but I will say that my favorite things about this wonderful book are:
- I loved the alternating points of view in this book. It's very unique and gives the reader the ability to see a fuller picture of what's going on. In each chapter, we get the opportunity to see things from each of the main characters.
- Without giving too many spoilers, I'll just say that Ali had a unique idea in that the nations of the world are represented by different ships in outer space. I loved experiencing the political dynamics between those nations from that vantage point.
- The characters are believable and easy to care about.
- I adored getting to know the characters within the confines of a space ship. I must be careful here that I don't give spoilers, but the ship is a very special character in this story.
- The antagonists in this book are fabulously evil, and there were a few times I gasped while reading Blood Crown.
- Ali Cross's ability to weave a story that draws you in and keeps you spellbound is my favorite thing about Blood Crown. This is a story I won't quickly forget. The characters stayed with me for days ... especially Archibald. When you read this book, you'll discover the scene that actually made me cry.
- There was enough of a cliff-hanger that made me want more.
What my least favorite thing about this book was:
I didn't have the next book in this series immediately to read!
My favorite quote from Blood Crown is:
"It only takes a brief inquiry, sent through secure channels, to determine the android crew has mutinied." ~Archibald, Blood Crown by Ali Cross
That quote is in the first chapter of this book, and once I read it, I was hooked!
I loved this book to the moon and back!
That's why I give BLOOD CROWN:
Ali is offering up one signed copy of BLOOD CROWN to one lucky winner in the US!!!! Woohoo!
ENTER TO WIN!