Happy Monday, friends! As regular readers of Pop! Goes The Reader are no doubt aware, there are few things that bring me greater joy than the wonder and whimsy of a fun middle grade novel. You can therefore imagine my delight when I was recently contacted by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, author of the four book Guardian Herd middle grade series with HarperCollins, to ask if I could host the cover reveal for her next novel, Across The Dark Water. Coming to a bookstore and library near you May 1st 2018 from HarperCollins, Across The Dark Water is the first book in Jennifer’s new series, Riders Of The Realm, which can be seen as a continuation of or companion to Jennifer’s previous work. The book jacket of Across The Dark Water was designed by Erin Fitzsimmons and Catherine SanJuan with accompanying illustrations by Vivienne To. Please read on to learn more about this truly magical story, including the exclusive cover reveal, complete synopsis, a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration and a chance to win a signed, advance reader copy of Across The Dark Water from the author herself!
Hello everyone at Pop Goes The Reader! I’m thrilled to share the cover of my latest book with you today.
Riders of the Realm #1, Across The Dark Water, is inspired by my other middle-grade series called The Guardian Herd. While this series is complete at four books, I didn’t feel finished writing about my characters!
So, I decided to follow a small herd of pegasi who fly across the Dark Water Ocean to seek safer lands. But when they arrive on a new continent, they encounter humans (Landwalkers) and other dangerous creatures.
What I enjoyed about this book was adding a human point of view. 12 year-old Rahkki Stormrunner is so much fun — he’s thoughtful and clever, but he’s also being forced to grow up fast and this sometimes overwhelms him. His favorite animals are the tame pegasi of his clan. When his people capture two wild mares from the refugee herd, Rahkki wants to befriend them, especially the silver pegasus named Echofrost.
But Echofrost doesn’t want to be befriended or tamed! I enjoyed showing the clash of cultures between these two intelligent species. What the humans call “taming”, the wild pegasi call “enslavement”. And when Echofrost tries to explain to the clan’s domesticated pegasi that they are slaves, they are offended!
It was interesting for me to explore the complex relationships between humans and their animals, along with the differences between love and dependence. Toward that end, I threw in some major conflicts with the local giant hordes to encourage the humans and wild pegasi to consider working together — but by choice, not by force.
With one human and one pegasus point of view, readers will have a front row seat to understand both sides of the story!
My publisher asked for input on a cover concept, and I suggested the scene pictured, but that was months ago. Since then, I’ve sat back and waited, having no idea what the final product would look like. When my editor emailed it to me, I was stunned! I love the artistry, the color pallet, and the razor sharp lettering. I think this cover is a perfect representation of what readers will find inside the book: high fantasy, adventure, an exotic world, and flying horses, of course! I would like to thank the incredibly talented artist Vivienne To, and the book jacket designers, Erin Fitzsimmons and Catherine SanJuan.
About Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Jennifer Lynn Alvarez received a degree in English literature from UC Berkeley. She is an active horsewoman, a volunteer for U.S. Pony Club, and a proud mother of three children. She’s also the author of the Guardian Herd series, fantasy novels starring wild pegasi. Jennifer draws on her lifelong love of animals when writing her books and when she’s not at her computer, Jennifer can be found riding her beloved mare Maddie. She lives on a small ranch in Northern California with her husband, children, and more than her fair share of pets. To learn more about Jennifer’s Winged Universe of novels, play herd games, and meet the pegasi, please visit: TheGuardianHerd.com
Title Across The Dark Water (Book 1 in the Riders of the Realm series)
Author Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Pages 448 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
To Be Published May 1st 2018 by HarperCollins
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon.com ● Chapters ● The Book Depository
A new and exciting fantasy novel — the first in a trilogy — from the imagination of Guardian Herd series author Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Perfect for fans of Lisa McMann’s Going Wild, Brandon Mull’s Wild Born, or Erin Hunter’s Warriors series.
Deep in the jungles of the Realm, the Sandwen clan live amongst deadly spit dragons and hordes of warring giants. But with their winged battle horses, they manage to keep their people safe.
Twelve-year-old Rahkki is a stable groom for the Riders in the Sandwen army, taking care of his brother’s winged stallion. The Sandwens believe they have tamed all the wild pegasi in their land, and turned them into flying warhorses. But when a herd of wild steeds flies over their village, Rahkki and his clanmates are stunned.
Meanwhile, a small herd of pegasi have journeyed across a treacherous ocean to settle in a new, and free, land. Led by Echofrost and Hazelwind, the Storm Herd steeds are unaware of the Sandwens. But when the unthinkable happens, Echofrost and the rest of Storm Herd will have to come to trust the Sandwens, or both may not survive.
As an extra, exciting bonus, Jennifer has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a signed, advance reader copy of Across The Dark Water! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and the prize will be distributed once ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!