Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Unblinking (The Shuttered Lands Trilogy, Book 1) by Kira Carter

Release date: September 5, 2017
Subgenre: Dystopian YA

About Unblinking


Everyone is watching.

Minka Stanis just wants to be left alone—impossible since the Eyes record and broadcast every moment of her day. Then a humiliating incident in the high school cafeteria makes her the laughingstock of her tower city, and life behind the glass walls becomes unbearable. When the intriguing new boy at school tells her about a place away from the gaze of the cameras, Minka plots her escape from the towers. But the Shuttered Lands are across the desert, and going there will mean leaving everything she’s ever known behind.

Fresh out of tower training, Zedd Fincher is settling into his dream job. When he gets assigned to edit Minka Stanis’s Stream footage, he spins her every misstep into a string of hit clips. As Minka’s fame grows, so do Zedd’s feelings for her. But a crisis at home brings the darker side of his work into focus. And Zedd soon learns editing other people’s lives has consequences.

As Minka is thrust unwillingly into the spotlight and Zedd’s life begins to unravel, only one thing is certain:

The Eyes are always watching.



Mom opens the door to my room just as I begin punching my pillow in the hope of forcing my frustration out through my knuckles.
“Zedd?” she croaks.
I pause mid-thump and blink at her, only mildly irritated that she didn’t knock. “Sorry. This thing’s all lumpy.”
“I’m going back to the hospital.” She visibly takes a breath. “Do you want to come?”
A burning lump of guilt boils up in my throat and punches me in the tonsils. “I’m sorry, Mom. I think I might hold off. I barely slept last night.” My eyes dart toward the empty slack juice bottle—I meant to throw that out while she was napping.
If Mom’s eyes followed mine, she doesn’t show it. “You sure?”
Tomorrow would probably be better.” My lies thud against the wall like bullets, but Mom doesn’t let them knock her over.
“Okay, sweetie.” She raises a hand to brush the hair out of her face. “I’ve checked—there’s enough food in the fridge for you. And don’t wait up. I’ll probably sleep there again tonight.” She gives me a tired half wave and I shoot her a smile, but inside I’m cursing her for always being a mom—and myself for not being a better son.
After Mom leaves, my thrashing gets worse. I can’t sleep, and I can’t push Dad’s face out of my mind—nor the image of Mom smiling weakly when I rejected the idea of going to the hospital.
I should probably just smother myself with my pillow, but instead I launch off my bed and bring up the Scrolling Eye channel on my deskscreen. I’d rather look at other people’s lives than my own right now. Faces of Tower Lands residents flash across the screen, a never-ending mosaic of shapes and expressions. It’s impossible to know who lives in which city, but it doesn’t matter. The founding trustees designed the tower cities to be almost identical, ten strongholds of civilization. From babies to the old people living out their days at the top of Tower Ten, everyone has a Stream, and everyone spends a significant portion of their time surfing the Streams of relative strangers or watching the channels to see the latest clips—clips I help compile, clips I…manipulate.
Minka’s Stream: eating dinner with her parents. Her head bobs as she chews the pale food cubes, her chocolate eyes flashing across the silent table. Finally, she brings up the tree, rooting around in the conversation to find some shred of truth. I brush my fingers against the screen, wishing I could actually touch her and hoping she’s not setting herself up for disappointment. If she could find a way to run off to the Shuttered Lands, would she let me go with her? Would the connection I feel through her Stream hold up in the real world?
Another pang of guilt rushes through me. I can’t leave Mom and Dad behind. I can’t just desert my life and pretend this nightmare isn’t happening. Even though that’s exactly what I want to do. I bet they don’t have Sanatoriums in the Shuttered Lands or doctors that determine if your dad needs to leave his home to die in a sterile box.
On my deskscreen, Minka shrinks under her mother’s glare. I want to tell her it’s okay. Let her know I share her feeling of numbness, and the belief that something intriguing lies beyond these glass walls.

Amazon | Paperback

About Kira Carter:

Kira Carter lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys running on the beach, exploring the woods, and reading stacks and stacks of books. 

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