Note from the blogger: I had the pleasure of reading this book in critiques. That was quite awhile ago. I knew that Ardyth's first published book, "Chosen Sister," had been released through WildChild Publishing. I guessed this book would also go through the same publisher. Instead, Ardyth decided to do her own thing based on the success of other Indie authors. One thing Ardyth has is an Ace in the Hole. Her brilliant artist brother, Leo, created not only a stunning cover, but black and white interior illustrations.
This is such a fun book to read. I'm very happy Ardyth is doing it right along with her own way. This is definitely a book that should belong to your read over and over collection of YA fantasy.
The Dark Chariot Pays a Visit
Danny woke with a sense of impending doom. The large black envelope, primly propped up against the candlestick on his bedside table, did not suggest today was going to go any better than yesterday. The silver seal, shaped like a devil’s head, seemed to grin mockingly at him. Underneath, in lacy silver lettering, read: Dark Lord Academy—pro peiore potestate. Danny rubbed his eyes and looked again. Nope, still there. He swallowed hard and reached out to poke it with a finger.
The envelope fell flat.
Danny sat up and groaned. It was much too early to deal with something like this. Should he open it? Could he not open it? Danny glowered. He’d let Pa do the honors. That way if it was cursed, it would be justice for Pa to get it. He dragged himself out of bed, carefully picked up the letter, and pinched Dicky’s foot as he passed him on the way out.
“Get up, lazybones.”
“Oww,” Dicky mumbled and buried his head in the blankets.
Danny rolled his eyes and headed into the main room. Amos stood by the fire, stirring the pot of porridge. Pa lounged in his usual chair, discussing horseshoe orders. Resisting the desire to glare at Pa, as it would only get him angry and insistent, Danny shoved the letter at him.
“What’s that?” Pa asked.
“Didn’t you put it by my bed?”
“No.” Pa frowned. “But then, those Dark Lords are uncanny fellows. I suppose they magicked it here.” He handed the envelope back to Danny. “Go ahead, son.”
That was distinctly not reassuring. They’d responded that fast? Danny needed time to think this through, a plan to prove he wasn’t fit for villain school. “What if it’s dangerous?”
Pa laughed. “Oh, come on, it’s not like they’d hurt one of their well-paying students. Open it.”
Danny hid a grimace. Taking a deep breath, he broke the seal. A column of black smoke burst from the envelope. He dropped it and jumped backwards. High-pitched laughter came from inside.
The smoke condensed into a squat and contorted creature. Danny squinted. It was pond-slime green, had pointy ears that stuck out sideways, and a nasty leer on its face. Danny had never seen a goblin before, but this had to be what they looked like.
If that doesn't tempt you, then you just aren't a fan of YA fantasy.