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Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry. All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing. A death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne. With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Now Zahru’s only hope for survival hinges on the impossible: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.
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Natalie Mae is an ex-programmer, dessert enthusiast, and author of young adult novels. She has also been a freelance editor and Pitch Wars mentor, and feels it notable to mention she once held a job where she had to feed spiders. Her work has been acclaimed by People Magazine, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, USA Today, YALSA and HuffPost. She now writes full-time at home with a bag of dark chocolates in one hand and a leopard cat on her lap. She is most definitely not checking Instagram right now.