Awakening (The Dark Rituals #1)
by Catrina Burgess
Release Date: October 7th 2015
Full Fathom Five Digital
Summary from Goodreads:
In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.
Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.
Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.
As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?
I asked him to do it…to teach me the Death Arts, I reminded myself. The death dealers were feared for a reason. Their rituals were barbaric. Their magic powerful. No one should mess with the spirits of the dead. My shaking hand went up to touch the tender bruises at the base of my neck.
We crossed the stream. I could see the lights from Pagan’s house ahead of us.
“Are you all right?” Luke stopped and turned toward me.
“I wish you’d stop asking me that.” My voice was still coming out in a rasp.
“The ritual can be terrifying.”
“Was it for you?” I asked.
“It was something I’ll never forget. A moment like that never leaves you.”
“And the person that did it to you, do you still see them?”
He nodded his head. “Often. He’s my mentor.”
“How can you forgive him for what he did?” I demanded.
I hurt him with that question, I could tell. His eyes filled with a look of remorse when he answered. “By facing what happened and realizing it wasn’t personal. He wasn’t trying to hurt me. It was a necessary evil. I asked to be initiated into the Death Arts, and I had to accept all that came along with it.” He looked up at the stars. “There’s no good or evil to magic. Each person brings their own intentions, wishes, and dreams to it. Use it for the wrong purposes and it can become dangerous. It can get out of control—it can consume you in a way that you can’t stop.”
“And do you know this from personal experience?”
He looked at me again. “No. I never headed down that path. I always wanted to use my gifts to help people.”
“Death magic to help people?” It was a crazy notion.
He nodded his head. “Yes, it can be used that way.” He abruptly changed the course of the conversation. “Now that you’ve done the first ritual, you’ll be able to contact the dead. But killing you and bringing you back was only part of the ritual to claim your power over death. Next, you have to commune with the dead. The second ritual is possession.”
I was shocked. “Wh-what do you mean— What do you—” I swallowed, unable to get the words out.
“Don’t think of it now. We need to go back, and you need to rest. To get your strength back,” he said.
I took a deep breath and then another. Possession. What did that entail? I had no choice but to continue and find out.
His expression turned grim. “This next ritual is a hard one. It won’t be pleasant or easy.”
I couldn’t keep the horror I was feeling from showing on my face.
And dying was what? The easy part?
Catrina Burgess’ Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Awakening is the first book of four and was named Wattpad’s Best Suspense Story of 2014.