by Catherine Stine
Series: Fireseed, #2 (however, can be read as a stand-alone)
Publication date: June 26, 2013
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
If everything about you changes, what remains?
Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?
When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.
Character sketches of Ruby & Blane from Ruby’s Fire by Catherine Stine
Seventeen year-old Ruby’s afraid of how beautiful she is because it’s always gotten her more attention than she wants. She has wild blond hair and a halo of curly bangs. She’s a master of mixing elixirs, a skill her father taught her when they hunted cave lizards and milked out their venom. She wears a belt brimming with pouches for catching lizards and beetles. She grew up in a strange desert cult, but she never realized how dangerous it was until the night she escaped. That’s why she still needs Oblivion, a sleeping drug that she concocted, but would like to kick.
Eighteen year-old Blane is the resident bodyguard at The Greening. He’s also a student there. He has massive shoulders and a chiseled face, yet the crafty glint in his hazel eyes and his spray of honey-hued freckles suggest a lighter, even playful side. He escaped East Coast sector where he lost his entire family, including his beloved dog, Cloud, in a horrific tsunami. There’s a rumor going around that his mother was a geneticist and his father was a brain surgeon back in the day, but Ruby doesn’t believe it because Blane likes to mess with her head. Blane spends a lot of time surreptitiously tracking Ruby, trying to figure her out.
Tell us, Ruby, what do you really want in life?
I want to earn enough money from my elixirs to buy a big wave-colored house out in Vegas-by-the Sea. I’d save my mother from the cult, and install all of my friends there. I’d hire a special tutor for my little brother, Thorn, so he can retrieve the sentences and phrases that the elders beat out of him.
I want a good meal of northern Restavik boar. I want to play soccer. I want my dog, Cloud back. I want to be with people who bring something to the equation. (Gives Ruby a long, soulful stare) I want to be left alone.
(Ruby elbows him)
Blane, what’s your favorite color?
(He glances over at Ruby, then away). Yellow, blond, like her hair.
Blue, the color of waves. I imagine them constantly—the bluest ever. If I win a finalist spot in the Axiom contest, I’ll get to see the Pacific.
I’m going to win a finalist spot. You’ll have to contend with me. Do you think you’d be able to stand a ride on a hovercraft together?
(Slides a finger down the bridge of his nose, and says slowly, teasingly) As long as you bring something to the equation.
Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:
“Ruby's Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: " It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved..." ” -YAs the Word
More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.