Hey, hey, hey! Big thank you to Michele Vail and Shane at Itching for Books for stopping by Rumor Has It today on the UNDEADLY Blog Tour!
You'll find one of my favorite excerpts from the book and a giveaway at the end of the post! Enjoy!
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...
Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.
Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.
It is said that the Anubis fought a great earth-shattering battle with his uncle Set, the God of Chaos. Anubis’s legacy was to rule the underworld and Set was all, “Nuh-huh. I want to rule the underworld.”
So they had this huge freaking war. Set stole some of the reapers that Anubis was the boss of—and wow, did that piss him off! So then, the reapers were fighting each other and the humans were all, “What is this crap? Reapers suck!” And there were plagues and famine and people dying for no reason, and the reapers were too busy blasting each other to do their jobs.
It was a mondo-ick mess.
Finally, Anubis went deep into the underworld and got some bad-ass magic. We’re talking magic so ancient and powerful, it wasn’t supposed to leave the world of the gods, like, ever.
But he got it anyway and used it to capture Set. He imprisoned the god in the bowels (Seriously? Ew!) of the underworld, and then he banished all the disloyal reapers into this place that was like limbo, I guess, only way, way worse. And no one but Anubis can get there. Or something like that.
Anyway, Anubis was so upset about what went down, and he felt so bad about all the humans who’d been hurt, that he changed the rules about death and reaping and junk. (That’s a god for you.)
He was like, “Sorry, humans, my bad. Here’s some magic.” Okay, it was sorta like that. He was worried that his reapers might get more ideas about mutiny or whatever, so he split a reaper’s power into five magical abilities, which matched the five parts of the soul. (Did you know there were five parts to a soul? Heka 101, peeps.)
And he bestowed these five heka gifts upon some fancy schmancy nobles because Anubis is a snob. Most gods are totally noses up, you know? That’s what being immortal and all-powerful gets you.
So, he’s like, “Hey, I’m giving each of you one of these gifts, and you can use them to control parts of being dead.” It was like an end-of-the-war party gift for all the survivors.
Here’s the down-low:
Ka Heka – Re-animates dead bodies using a teeny tiny part of the soul called the ka. (Pretty common ability these days.)
Ren Heka – Calls forth and communicates with earth-bound spirits. (Lots of necros can do this one, too.)
Sheut Heka – Creates and commands soul shadows. A soul shadow is sorta like peeling away the top layer of the soul. (This power is rare, and a total no-no. Anyone unlucky enough to be born with this ability is whisked away by the government. Well, that’s what the Internet says, so it must be true.)
Ba Heka – Supposedly, ba heka necromancers can bind souls and keep them from entering the afterlife. (No one in modern times is known to have this gift. Or maybe they’re hanging out with the sheut hekas in a government lab.)
Ib Heka – Sees into the heart of the soul, and knows the person’s true worth. (Necromancers who have this ability usually go crazy, or become hermits, or sometimes, they start cults. A few have been serial killers.)Very, very, veeeeery rarely, a necro is born who has two gifts. The last one recorded was Leonardo Da Vinci. Explains a lot, right? No known human has ever had all five gifts. It’s almost impossible, because a human with that kind of power couldn’t handle it.
They’d implode, or something.
Supposedly, Anubis watches all the humans who are born with heka gifts, and if they use their magic well and don’t act like douchebags, then he offers them a reaper job after they die. It’s like anyone who’s born with death magic is training to be a reaper in the afterlife.
Just so we’re clear, reapers are dead.
At least, they’re supposed to be.
No one really knows how the whole reaper thing works, this is just the stuff they make us learn in The History of Necromancy, and it’s called “theory” or “mythology” or “wasting an hour of my life every day.”
These days, people use reaper powers to enslave ghosts, make zombies, and basically cash in. If Anubis doesn't like what humans ended up doing with those gifts … well, he hasn't done anything about it. Maybe he doesn't care. Maybe he’s down in the underworld having parties with gods and souls, and is all like, “Humans? What humans?”
Oh. And there’s this really, really, really old wall relief in some temple in Egypt dedicated to Set that says, “He will break his bonds and rise again to take his revenge. Death will come to the world and the living will be no more.”
Michele Vail writes young adult paranormal fiction about zombies and reapers.
She likes reading, dogs, cats, board games, ghost-hunting shows, and Halloween. She believes in magic, in the impossible, and in the restorative powers of chocolate.
Michele lives happily-ever-after with her Viking and their family.