Diamond City by Francesca Flores features assassins, magic, and a conspiracy so immense it could start a war. Check out the cover reveal and an exclusive excerpt!
You had me at assassins, but Diamond City sounds like it’s going to be so much more than that. When our heroine, Aina, makes the biggest mistake of her life, she’ll have to figure out how to fix it or pay the ultimate price. But what happens when you start questioning everything you thought was cemented in stone?
We’ve got an exclusive first look at the cover for Diamond City, which features a splash of color right in the center of a stark white background. It also gives us a glimpse at our protagonist, enticing you to lean closer and look at all the details.
In addition to the cover, we have a sneak peek at Diamond City, which introduces us to Aina and the dangerous life she has chosen to be a part of. It’s clear this book will be darkly violent, but will it also be full of all that color we see on the front of the book?
Read on for an excerpt from ‘Diamond City’
“Do you want to know the secret to survival?”
Aina’s eyes snapped up from the sticky wooden table and widened at the man who sat across from her. The bar’s dim light glinted off his smile. Fast-playing flutes, rowdy drunks, and dancers stomping their feet across the floor nearly drowned out his next words.
“You count and you look,” he whispered. “You count everything and you look at everyone. Are you paying attention, street child?”
Her frown deepened. Every underage person in this bar was a street child, but she still disliked being called one. It marked her as dirty, poor, without a future. She was dirty and poor, but the idea of a future hadn’t faded from her mind yet. A high collar framed the man’s pale face as he took her in. Maybe he was going to offer her a job. Something about him smelled rich, maybe the scent of cologne. He was probably one of the industrialists made wealthy by steam and steel.
“Thirty-six people were in this bar when you entered, making you the thirty-seventh.” He leaned closer, his gaze fixing on her as adamantly as a noose around the neck. “The door opened once inward, and twice outward, because the wind pushed your hair around your cheeks the first time, but not the next two.”
She blew a strand of wet hair out of her eyes and tried not to shiver, but she was soaked from getting pushed into the Minos River by some boys who’d robbed her. She wanted warm clothes and a bed to sleep on. She didn’t want to play this man’s game. Crossing her arms, she turned away to ignore him, but he continued speaking.
“That means there should be thirty-six people in this room, but did you count? There are thirty-five. Where is the missing link?” He barely paused for a breath. “You don’t know. He’s planting a bomb in the rafters. Don’t look up; you’ve only got twenty seconds. I have a job you might be good at. If you come work with me, everyone here will die, but we’ll survive. If you don’t, you’ll die without ever knowing what you could become. Do you want your life to end at twelve years, Aina Solís?”
“How do you know my name?” Her fists clenched, a chill crept down her spine. Plenty of bombs went off in Kosín, but what if this were just a lie to get her to follow him?
“Twelve seconds left.”
“The Diamond Guards–”
“The Diamond Guards won’t risk their lives to save a street child. Eight seconds left.”
Her mouth snapped shut. The options were few, but she was cold and hungry, and this man had a job for her.
She stood on shaking legs and walked out, the man’s presence behind her like a reaper waiting for its reward. In the last three seconds, they ran. The chill night wind bit her skin through her wet clothes. Her sprints elongated, and her lungs seared.
An explosion shattered the night. Aina fell into a pile of snow in a shadowed alley. Bits of wood from the building landed next to her, making her flinch and bite her tongue as her ears began to ring. Smoke, screams, and the distinctive crackle of flames sounded behind her.
The man helped her up. She took a step back, crossed her arms, and narrowed her eyes at him. He was younger than she’d first thought, hardly eighteen or nineteen. Something about him was familiar, but she couldn’t figure out what.
If he meant to hurt her now, she could try to run, or fight back like she’d had to do so many times on Kosín’s streets.
“Why did you help me?” she asked, trying to keep her voice from shaking. “I wasn’t the only kid in there.”
His smile faded slightly. “Because good things don’t usually happen to girls who come from nothing.”
Aina cast her eyes downward. She was already well aware of that.
He withdrew a dagger from a sheath inside his jacket. It was the sleekest blade she’d ever seen, with an onyx-black handle. A sharp breath stole through her at the sight. He waited patiently, holding it like a gift as she reached out to touch the handle with the tips of her fingers.
“Learn how to use this knife, and I’ll make you into something.”
From Diamond City by Francesca Flores. Copyright © 2020 by the author and reprinted by permission of Wednesday Books.
More about ‘Diamond City’
Welcome to Diamond City, where secret magic could save your life or get you killed.
Meet Aina Solís, whose wit is as sharp as her blade.
At twelve years old, Aina Solís was pulled off of the streets she slept on and trained to be one of the most feared assassins in Sumerand, a kingdom founded by immigrants and built by magic—and in recent years transformed by an industrial revolution. When Aina is given the most lucrative and dangerous job of her career—killing a wealthy industrialist named Kouta—she knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave her impoverished roots in her past once-and-for-all: the payout is enough to free her from under her boss Kohl’s thumb. But when the job goes wrong and Kouta escapes, she is left without a penny to her name and in the crosshairs of Kohl, who is eager to show the world what happens to those that fail him.
With Kohl on her heels, Aina is running out of time to find Kouta and finish what she started. But the closer she gets to killing him, the more she begins to ask the questions assassins are never meant to ask: who wants Kouta dead? And why? In a city full of half-constructed subway tunnels, hidden magical dens, secret weapons markets, and wolf-sized spiders, Aina discovers a conspiracy that could rewrite her city’s history and—if it isn’t stopped—sink her country into a catastrophic war.