Excerpt: The Call of the Rift: Flight by Jae Waller

Title: The Call of the Rift: Flight
Author: Jae Waller
Publisher: ECW Press
Hardcover, 360 Pages
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Kateiko doesn’t want to be Rin anymore — not if it means sacrificing lives to protect the dead. Her only way out is to join another tribe, a one-way trek through the coastal rainforest. Killing a colonial soldier in the woods isn’t part of the plan. Neither is spending the winter with Tiernan, an immigrant who keeps a sword with his carpentry tools. His log cabin leaks and his stories about other worlds raise more questions than they answer. Then the air spirit Suriel, long thought dormant, resurrects a war. For Kateiko, protecting other tribes in her confederacy is atonement. For Tiernan, war is a return to the military life he’s desperate to forget. Leaving Tiernan means losing the one man Kateiko trusts. Staying with him means abandoning colonists to a death sentence. In a region tainted by prejudice and on the brink of civil war, she has to decide what’s worth dying — or killing — for.
We have a special treat for you guys on the blog today -- an exclusive excerpt of The Call of the Rift: Flight by Jae Waller! ECW Press was kind enough to share it with us, and that's why we wanted to share it with you all, too! So without further ado, let's get into it!


As sunrise crept closer, the rest of the Rin assembled on the shore, leaving gaps for those we’d lost. The dead took up more space than the living. We were a small jouyen now, just over a hundred people left. The elders said we once had thirteen thousand.
Among the gathered Rin, Isu turned, looking for me. I retreated under cover of the trees. Antayul were expected to watch and sing along. Not talk, not move, not be disturbed that six years ago I found my cousin, Isu’s elder son, washed ashore here — months after we buried him. Storms had uprooted his grave and dumped his body in the lake. We could only tell it was him from his tattoos.
The elders said it was a blessing he returned to our sacred place of origin. Every autumn ceremony since then, I’d stood at Isu’s side twisting snare wire around my hands until they bled, watching the lake, wondering which of my eight dead cousins would turn up next. This year I’d had enough.
A drum boomed as the sun burst over the mountains. Behadul and Fendul lowered their torches to the tinder. Flames licked up the pyramid. They retreated to the base of the peninsula, their torches forming a triangle with the bonfire. Drummers filed into a half-circle around the fire, swaying and stamping their feet as they pounded drum skins with leather mallets.
Dancers whirled and moved their arms like birds soaring across the sky and diving to earth. Their shawls — black outside and white inside, like kinaru wings — billowed out behind them. Clusters of crow feathers in their hands sliced the air. The dancers seemed to float above the earth, a second away from taking flight into an invisible world just out of reach.
Drumbeats echoed off the slopes. Behadul’s voice resonated in a chant. The others joined until the entire jouyen called out to the lake valley. Legend said that the drums were loud enough to be heard in Aeldu-yan, the spirit world of our ancestral dead, and the echoes were the spirits’ reply. The ceremony announced our return home from our summer travels.
Or, in my cousin’s case, from his grave.
The music compelled me to move. No one would notice me back here. The spiritual stuff was bearshit, as far as I could tell. Dancing just kept me from thinking. Looking. Remembering.
I spun in a circle, eyes shut tight. I felt the familiar tingle in
my fingers as I called water to me, and tendrils flowed out from my finger­tips and snapped through the air. Then, everything changed. The tingle crept up through my chest and into the back of my skull. I opened my eyes.
Maybe it was the dawn light, fog in the valley, or smoke from the bonfire, but suddenly the world opened up, and I could see through to the other side — to Aeldu-yan.
My heart thudded. I didn’t want to see my cousin’s mottled, bloated face again.
Dizziness rolled over me. My water whips dissipated as I stumbled and fell to my knees. I blinked until my eyes focused on an immense rioden tree on the near shore. Its branches sprawled green and lush. I leaned sideways until my hair brushed the ground and I nearly tipped over — and the smudges of green vanished from the rioden, and it was once again black and bare, as it had been for the six years since lightning had struck it.
Rin elders said that the spirit world, Aeldu-yan, was a quiet forest that never changed. I always wondered how they knew. Curiosity battled with fear. I stretched out my arm, but the void drifted beyond reach.

Excerpted from The Call of the Rift: Flight by Jae Waller. © 2018 by Jae Waller. All rights reserved. Published by ECW Press Ltd. www.ecwpress.com

About The Author

Jae Waller grew up in a lumber town in northern British Columbia. She has a joint B.F.A. in creative writing and fine art from the University of Northern British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Now living in Melbourne, Australia, she works as a novelist and freelance artist. 
We'd like to thank the lovely team over at ECW Press and author Jae Waller for being awesome enough to include us in this press tour! We absolutely loved sharing this excerpt with you all, and now we can't wait to add this book to our TBR! 

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