Liquid Death Commentary #2

Reminder from last Friday’s post: The first 50 people to sign up for my weekly newsletter will be eligible to receive a free paperback copy of Liquid Death (U.S. residents only). If someone is chosen from outside the U.S., they’ll receive a free e-copy of Burning Space or something else of equal value if they desire. 🙂

Also, subscribers who enter their birthday will receive an exclusive deleted scene from The Edinön Trilogy, plus a personal birthday message from me on the date provided! 😀 🎉🎈

Obligatory Intro:

Liquid Death is the first book of The Edinön Trilogy. It is sci-fi/fantasy/romance geared toward an audience aged 14 and up that enjoys simple, alternating first-person narrative with a deep plot. Kandi is 19 years old at the beginning of the book, and Juan, the other protagonist, is 18. They both have certain gifts that elevate them above regular people and keep them imprisoned for their value in an unethical, secret research facility posing as a mental hospital for youth.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

[I am also seeking honest reviewers for Liquid Death at this time. If you are interested in reviewing this book, email me at marvithilii1000@gmail.com or use the contact page.]

This excerpt is from Chapter 2: The New Prison, narrated by Juan. I will keep all excerpts on this blog under a Read More tag. My commentary is at the very end, so keep reading if you would like to know more about the featured scene from the author’s perspective. 😉

***

This school looks pretty normal – despite the security guards stationed in every hall – with its muted blue walls and vivid yellow lockers. According to a poster hanging above one of the drinking fountains, the Winter Ball is this weekend. The structure and design is modern and clean, indicating this school was most likely built within the last five to ten years. I don’t see any sports paraphernalia or trophy cases. I do, however, see plenty of cameras following me as I walk by, exact replicas of the cameras in Blue Skys.

We round a corner and pass a wiry teenage boy screeching and violently kicking the wall while three adults attempt to console him. We pass a similar situation in another hallway, where three girls are dumping their water bottles on each other. One of the girls lashes out with her teeth and bites another girl’s arm. The scream that follows pops my eardrums like overinflated balloons. My aides don’t seem to notice or care. I close my hands into fists, crinkling my schedule. I am still in Blue Skys.

The Spanish classroom is on the opposite side of the school from the principal’s office. Goon 1 opens the door, and Goon 2 shoves me inside, forcing me in front of five students and the teacher, who appear surprised at my intrusion. I clear my throat and try to be cool, not wanting to cause further alarm. I peer over my shoulder at my aides for assistance. Are they going to introduce me, or should I sit down? Should I introduce myself?

“Um… hi.” I smile sheepishly and wave. The teacher, a tall man with an athletic build, finishes discussing something with another student and beckons me forward. He pushes up his glasses and places his hand on my shoulder.

“I’m Mr. Brown,” he whispers. “Your seat is right over there.” He points to the empty desk in the second row, second column.

“Shouldn’t I introduce myself first?” I ask.

He smiles and shakes his head like I just asked if I should sing the alphabet backwards. “We know who you are.”

***

Author Commentary:

Juan has a history of surveying buildings and breaking and entering, so his first instinct when he is in a new place is to memorize the placement of the cameras, structure/layout, etc. He immediately notices the similarity of the cameras in Sunny Days to those in Blue Skys, which raises a red flag. Then, he sees the odd outbursts in the hallways, and his suspicion is confirmed: Sunny Days is Blue Skys. Brilliant, Juan.

How is this significant? When Juan was initially released, he assumed he would have a little more freedom since his sentence was over. But what if it isn’t over? What if the Doctors were lying? There is nothing Juan desires more than freedom, so we know he will do whatever it takes to gain it.

Additionally, if Sunny Days High School is merely a branch of Blue Skys, then that means the other kids are Patients – just like him. They are all connected or similar in some way. And given the things Juan had seen and heard in Blue Skys, this gives him cause to worry a fraction, hence not wanting to generate further alarm upon being shoved into the classroom. Any of the Patients could lash out at the drop of a hat.

The most alarming revelation in this excerpt is that everyone there, including the Patients, know who Juan is, in the same way they all know who Patient 1, affectionately called “Bloody Kandi,” is. This makes Juan stand out in a crowd that is already unfit for cohabitation with normal humans. If they already know who he is, then perhaps his reputation has preceded him. That is something Juan definitely doesn’t want.

When I wrote this scene, I knew all about Juan’s past and future in the story, so I wanted to pack in as much subtle information into his introductory chapter as possible. In this excerpt alone, we learn at least five things about his character:

Quality #1: Juan knows a thing or two about architecture, technology, and art. #2 He is highly cognizant of his surroundings and always on guard. #3 He was placed in a Spanish class for the same reason Kandi was placed in a Calculus class – to help the other students. As long as the Patients feel like they’re contributing in some manner, they’ll feel less inclined to fight back. Keep them busy while you study their behavior. They won’t notice a thing. #4 Juan may be perpetually poised for a fight, but that doesn’t mean he is always looking for one. He is a peacemaker possessing the capacity to kill with a single punch. #5 He is self conscious in front of groups. He does not like being the center of attention. There is a valid reason for this, as we learn later through flashbacks.

Got any questions about this scene, the book, or the characters within? Leave a comment below. If you have a question that includes spoilers, send me a private message. 🙂

Excerpt #3 (from Burning Space) will be posted on October 1st.

 

 

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