Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity - and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki - near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be - not even Deka herself.
Instant New York Times Best Seller
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Teen Vogue
"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!" (Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times best-selling author of The Belles)
Namina Forna is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Ones series. She has a MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. Namina now works as a screenwriter in LA and loves telling stories with fierce female leads. Visit her on twitter at @NaminaForna and on Instagram at @namina.forna.
- Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition, Later Printing (February 9, 2021)
- Language: English
- Hardcover: 432 pages
- ISBN-10: 1984848690
- ISBN-13: 9781984848697
- Reading age: 12 - 17 years
- Lexile measure: 780L
- Grade level: 7 - 9
- Item Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 5.88 x 1.3 x 8.63 inches