Item description for Racing the Dark by Alaya Dawn Johnson...
A brilliant new novel from a 25-year-old debut author, Racing the Dark is set in a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment. Lana, a teenaged girl on a nameless backwater island, finds an ominous blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power, setting in motion events that drive her away from her family and into an apprenticeship with a mysterious one-armed witch. Lana begins to learn the spells and incantations, each of which requires some form of sacrifice from the person who employs it. As Lana becomes more powerful, she is deceived into a sacrifice she is unwilling to make --- the life of her own mother. When Lana dares to use a dark, ancient spell to save her mother's life, she is set onto a path toward becoming a creature beyond her wildest imaginings. This is an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding the power of magic requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.5" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Sep 28, 2007
Publisher Agate Bolden
ISBN 1932841288 ISBN13 9781932841282
Reviews - What do customers think about Racing the Dark?
PG-13 at the least Apr 15, 2008
The other reviews are accurate as they go, but they all seem to make it sound as if this is appropriate young adult/young teen reading. Although the main character is a 13 year old girl, there are some graphic scenes, including the mother prostituting herself in order to raise money for medicine for her daughter (coughing up blood from working over lye vats); this is clearly described, including the sexual encounters. An odd choice on the author's part, and something some parents or readers might find very off-putting.
A promising debut Jan 27, 2008
"Racing the Dark" is a haunting, fascinating novel that has you hooked with the opening scene and leaves you begging for the next installment in the trilogy. Parts of the book are reminiscent of Ursula Leguin's "Wizard of Earthsea" but as ever, Alaya twists words and traditional fantasy in completely new directions (if you have not read her short story "Third Day Lights" which can be found in "The Year's Best Science Fiction #11" or her novella "Shard of Glass" in "The Year's Best Fantasy #6" you should). "Racing the Dark" is an excellent start to what I'm sure will be a long and fruitful literary career.
Can't wait for the next one Nov 28, 2007
I just finished this book and can't wait for the next one. I usually don't read this type of fiction, but my teen daughter read it and loved it so much I had to read it. It's refreshing to see a coming of age book about a girl that's filled with adventure and danger. The main character is smart, resourceful, and driven by her love and commitment to her family.
This is a terrific coming of age fantasy thriller Oct 29, 2007
Teenage Lana lives on the island earning a living diving in fresh water to take jewels from mandagah fish. When Lana goes through the rite of adulthood ceremony, she finds a special blood-red jewel that she hides from her family and the village elders. She knows the gem means she is someone with power, but she does not want to become an elder as those who obtain special jewels become; elders have no independence as their life is filled with responsibilities for others.
Six months after she hid the jewel, the village cash crop, the mandagah fish are dying out caused by changes to their watery environs. Lana's family wants to relocate to another island, but have no means to pay neither the transportation nor settling. To do so Lana obtains an apprenticeship with a strange "exiled" witch the sorceress Akua, who uses blood sacrifice to fuel her spells. As Lana learns how to cast spells, she must sacrifice something of personal value to cast her incantations. When she is tricked into sacrificing her beloved mother, Lanai knows she cannot; she must find someway to save her mother's life, which means using even more ancient forbidden dark magic.
This is a terrific coming of age fantasy thriller starring a thirteen years old girl whose rite of passage into adulthood takes a dark turn when she finds the special blood gem. Readers will feel they have entered Johnson's Island (not the military base in the Pacific) realm as the geography and climate come across rather influentially and powerfully. However, the island culture beyond the gem economy and government never fully seems developed although in fairness the gems are the heart of society. Still filled with twists especially the key Twilight Zone spin, young adults will enjoy RACING THE DARK alongside of Lana, who would do anything for her beloved mother as witnessed by her sacrificing her soul to apprentice to the blood witch.