The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott
I am thrilled to be involved in the book tour for The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott run by Love Book Tours. It is a fast-paced young adult novel that blends sci-fi (without being too heavy), near future dystopia (without being too stark and depressing) and soulmate romance. Catch up with the tour now.
The truth doesn’t always set you free…
Like the rest of the Gaian race, Alana’s life is ruled by the Avalon, the superior race who once created Earth and returned to reclaim it after humanity brought it to the brink of destruction. Because of the Avalon, every Gaian faces the risk of being moved from Region to Region, over and over, with no warning. Alana has no place to call home.
Fearing that she may be resigned to this life of control forever, the opportunity to explore the world outside of her Region is literally dropped into Alana’s pocket in the form of a small silver device.
Taking a leap of faith and teleporting to the unknown, Alana must discover who is pulling the strings in her life and why. But in her quest for answers and freedom, she’s thrown headfirst into a hidden battle for humanity alongside a boy whose life was destined to be entwined with hers from the start.
With the secret of who she really is starting to unravel and abilities she didn’t know she had rising to the surface, she becomes a commodity to whatever faction can keep her in one place.
But others around her are carrying secrets, too, and Alana must decide who to trust before she can change the fate of all the races.
My mind wandered from the movie playing on the classroom’s screen wall in front of me, and I stared out the round window at the sky. This was the twenty-seventh time I’d had to watch the ‘Avalon Reclaim’ movie in my seventeen Gaia-cycles. Twice a cycle since I turned four and started my education. Always on this day, the day before Shift Day, and it didn’t get any more thrilling than the previous twenty-six times I’d been forced to watch it.
“We are the Avalon, the custodians and creators of Gaia, the planet you once called ‘Earth.’ For millions of cycles, Gaians—humans—have been responsible for this planet, much to her detriment. In the Gaia-cycle 2084, your species pushed her to the brink and thus, the Cataclysm occurred, destroying billions of people, scarring the land, and disrupting the seas. Because of this, Gaia survived.”
I rolled my eyes as the movie’s narrator droned on. They’ve never even updated the damn thing. You’d think they would have since it had been well over a hundred cycles since our planet fell apart, and something like eighty cycles since they took it back. The Avalon wanted us to remember why they were here. We’d gotten the point by now; I doubted any of us could forget it. Mom called it ‘never-ending propaganda.’
I looked around the room at the twelve other students in the edu-dome. I wondered what the rest of them thought about the Reclaim. Did they have a thousand questions like I did? Questions that were never answered. Somehow, I doubted it. Most people didn’t dare to talk about it, especially if they were new to the Region. The others were sitting upright in their seats, attentive and keen, almost as though they wanted to be here. When I realized I was the only one slumped forward with my elbows on the desk and my head resting on my hands, I straightened myself up.
“War and famine raged, consuming the planet and destroying your cities. Twenty-one cycles later, the Council of the Seven Races, who oversee all, made the decision that the Avalon should step in and take back Gaia. It was our duty to restore her.
To let Gaia recover from the damage done to her, the remaining population has been adapted to be nomadic. The Avalon will be here to guide you…”
I rolled my eyes. Adapted wasn’t what I’d call forced relocation every Shift Day. The lucky few didn’t have to worry about Shift Day at all. The Avalon, most of the Midorians and a select few Gaians known as the ‘Originators’ got to stay in one place. They were often allowed to choose which Region to belong to. Most people seemed to be okay with potential relocation every half-cycle to one of the 750,000 Regions on Gaia. It wasn’t a problem for other people to never have a place to call home. But it was a problem for me. This was not my home.
I glanced across the room at Genevieve. She sat as attentive as the rest, but she questioned the Reclaim just as much as I did. We’d spent so many hours talking about it. She was just lucky that she got to leave here sooner than I did, or at least she got the choice to leave. Things were different for Gen since she was half Avalon.
At least neither of us had to be students much longer. As soon as we both turned eighteen, our Professions would be assigned, and we would take them with us wherever we ended up. She would turn eighteen a few months before I did, so they’d assign hers before mine. I still didn’t know if she planned to stay or leave, and a familiar wave of envy washed over me.
There was a lot to envy about Gen. She didn’t have to worry about days like today, days when the rest of us found out if our family had been chosen to leave this Region and be transported to a new one. Gen had the opportunity to decide when and where she went.
I shoved the bitterness down. She’d been my longest friend, which wasn’t difficult considering you couldn’t make a friend around here without the Avalon moving them or you somewhere else in a short time. Being jealous of her wouldn’t change anything.
I’d been staring at my hands for too long, not listening to what Ms. Haims had been saying. I looked up. Most of the other students had left the dome and were heading down the hill outside. Ms. Haims gave me a familiar disapproving glare, and I followed the rest of the students outside.
Gen often waited for me on the stone steps outside the dome where we would walk down the hill together and go our separate ways at the bottom. Today, I had to look for her among the people leaving the edu-dome. She was easy to spot, being so much taller than most people and with her long blonde hair flowing in the breeze like a Greek goddess. She was already halfway down the hill, and I ran to catch up to her.
“Hey!” As I called out, she stopped and looked back at me in surprise as though I’d broken her out of a trance.
“Oh, sorry. I’d gone off into my own little world.” She flashed me a half-hearted smile and carried on walking. I had to jog to keep up with her.
“Are you all right?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m fine. It’s just today, well… tomorrow.” She shrugged. “You know?”
I knew. Everyone knew. It certainly wasn’t fun waiting to see if you’d have to move on Shift Day. Except Gen was guaranteed that it wouldn’t be her, so she had nothing to worry about except losing some friends.
“Meet me at my place tonight?” she asked. “I’ve got something I need to talk to you about.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” I said, and her next smile was a genuine one.
As we reached the bottom of the hill, she turned east to cross the river towards the Village, and I went north towards the Hub.
“Alana!” I turned as she shouted. “Don’t get caught this time!”
As I slowly trudged home, I tried my best to stay positive. Rowhill was a nice enough place, probably the nicest Region we’d been in so far. We’d lived in Region 82-1056, the official Avalon name for Rowhill, for three and a half cycles, a record for this Region. I guess since Dad died, they had given us a free pass. I’d even put pictures up on my bedroom walls, as though it were ‘home.’ Our home to keep. But we all knew it wasn’t. Gen and I had been friends since just before I turned fourteen. We had talked about how my time might be up and that we might have to say goodbye. I tensed at the thought. When you were chosen to leave, you pretty much left straight away, with little time for goodbyes. If it was my family’s time to go, there weren’t many people I needed to say goodbye to. But Gen had lived here as long as I had, longer in fact. Maybe she’d be able to find a way to see me before I left.
My stomach turned as I wondered if ‘goodbye’ was what she wanted to talk about tonight.
I think the idea of soulmates is one that many of us romantic types are drawn to. Because why not? It’s a beautiful idea to think that there’s one person out there who you are destined to be with. However, I also think it can be a negative concept when it is something you strongly believe but when you feel like you may never find that person. Or even when you *think* you’ve found that person but for whatever reason, it cannot come to anything.
My personal beliefs lean towards soul families rather than soulmates. I think there are souls who we are drawn to because they are part of our spiritual family, and we are put with them time and time again through different lives, in order to learn lessons from each other. This can be a romantic relationship, but also comes across in family relationships and friendships. And of course they’re not always positive experiences! But many of them are beautiful, and you should hold on tightly to the love that you find in this world.