Author: Megan O’Russell
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Books: The Tethering from The Tethering Series
Megan is the author of The Tethering Series
, books one and two of which are currently available from Silence in the Library Publishing. Her debut romance novel Nuttycracker Sweet
will be released by Fiery Seas Publishing this holiday season. Megan is also a contributing author in the Athena’s Daughters 2 anthology and the creator of the blog Life Beyond Exaggeration. When not working on her next story, Megan can often be found on stage, epic road trips with her husband, or playing her ukulele.
All sixteen-year-old Jacob Evans wants is to win the heart of Emilia Gray, but with order in the magical world crumbling, war threatening, and Emilia’s boyfriend living across the hall, he may never have the chance.
Jacob Evans loses everything he has ever known and is tossed into a world of magic. The Dragons, a group of rebel wizards, are threatening to expose the existence of magic to humans. Jacob is determined to find a way to fit into Emilia’s family, but as his powers grow, so does the danger. With the death toll mounting, Jacob is accused of acts of rebel terrorism and must fight to stay in a world he’s only just beginning to discover.
When Emilia’s life is threatened, Jacob must risk everything to save her. Does he have the power to rescue her in time? And what could their survival cost?
From Lydia Aswolf
Jacob is nine. He’s often hungry, and sometimes cold.
He never knows if his father will return.
We meet Jacob as he’s clutching half a peanut butter sandwich and angling away from the other kids during lunch at school. He doesn’t want them to see his poverty. Jacob despises their judging eyes, but fear eats at him. The fear of being taken away. Of never seeing his father again.
Only one thing makes that day different from any other. The new girl. Her name is Emilia, and when she asks if she can join him for lunch, Jacob gladly agrees. He doesn’t envy Emilia her overstuffed lunch bag, though it contains more food than Jacob sees in a week. Gladly, she shares with him; making it clear that there is no way in the world she can eat it all.
There is something immensely satisfying in seeing a lonely, neglected child fed over the course of two years. For Jacob is fed not just in body, but in mind and soul by his friendship with Emilia and her family. We know from the beginning that what he shares with Emilia isn’t mere friendship. While theirs is the pure, innocent love of children, it promises to blossom into something deeper as they grow older.
Jacob isn’t just different in suffering heartbreaking poverty and being mature well past his years on account of it. He has magical ability. The day he inadvertently heals Emily is the last day he sees her.
For five long years, Jacob copes. He makes money of his own, managing to feed himself and pay the bills. His father is still missing in action most of the time, but Jacob is used to that. Only Emilia’s absence tortures him. That ceases to be a consideration on the day he’s called to the principal’s office and told his father is dead.
Every window in the school explodes. And after five long years, Emilia appears again. Just when Jacob didn’t feel his life couldn’t shatter any further, she informs him of his magical ability. With it come dire implications. Checks and balances apply in the magical world, too.
Unintentionally or not, the magical ability Jacob launched on the school could be construed as an act of magical terrorism. Thanks to the Dragons, a dangerous group of rebel wizards, such acts are becoming distressingly common. Soon, a trial is scheduled to determine Jacob’s guilt or innocence. Before it starts, Jacob gets a taste of a world he badly wants to belong to.
I didn’t want Jacob to go to trial. I wanted him to explore the magic he’d just discovered, pursue the connection he had with Emilia, and form friendships with his peers for the first time in his life. But O’Russell wisely didn’t grant my wish. It is our longing for a great outcome that propels our eyes forward in any given book, and this gifted author parcels out Jacob’s victories and defeats with a stingy hand. O’Russell kept me satisfied, yet always longing for more.
When the Dragons put Emilia’s life in danger, Jacob goes after her. Love compels him, but justice plays its part, too. Emilia rescued Jacob, once upon a time. Jacob owes her. If he must pay with his life to save hers, then that’s exactly what Jacob is prepared to do. It is here, that readers will stumble upon a thrilling twist – several of them, in fact. Twists that left me happy to have inhaled The Tethering in a single night. Twists that led me to eagerly anticipate the next installment in this planned series by this tremendously talented author.
“Jacob. You are special. Different, like me. You have abilities that you don’t understand, but when you’re upset—”
“What are you talking about?”
“Magic, Jacob. Wizardry, sorcery, maleficium, whatever you want to call it. I’m a witch, you’re a wizard, and we need to get out of here,” she said, her tone becoming more urgent.
Jacob stared at her. He ran his hand over Emilia’s cheek.
She grabbed his hand with hers. “Jacob, I’m real. And this is real. There is a whole world out there. A magical world. But you have to decide right now if you want to be a part of it. There are things in my world that are beyond your imagination, but if you come with me, you can never go back to being normal. You can never come back here.”
“Emi.” Jacob shook his head. “This is crazy. What are you talking about?”
She brought his hand between them. It was covered in small cuts from shards of McManis’s mug. His hand started to feel warm in her grasp. Not unpleasantly so, but as though it were submerged in warm water. Then his skin started to tingle and sting. The places where the skin had been broken began to look almost iridescent. Finally, the glow subsided and the cuts started to fade. After only a few seconds, his hand was completely healed.
“It is real, Jacob.” Emilia stared into Jacob’s eyes. “Will you come with me?”
Jacob couldn’t think beyond Emilia’s return. She was really back. He was tired, and his brain felt fuzzy. His school was wrecked. His father was dead.
He wanted to be angry with Emilia. He wanted to shake her for making him even more confused, to yell at her for disappearing for four years, for clearly leaving out some very important details in the course of their friendship. He didn’t understand what was happening. He held Emilia’s delicate hands in his. He would do anything to keep her from disappearing again. He would follow Emilia Gray to the ends of the earth.
“Do I need to pack anything?” he asked.
“Only if you want to.” Emilia looked him hard in the eyes. “Jacob, are you sure this is what you want?”
“Yes,” he said quietly.
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