Welcome to Realm Explorers! In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Enjoy your travels! And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.
Author’s name: Sarah Delena White
Title of book and/or series: Rothana (Star-Fae Trilogy book 2)
Brief summary of the story:
A new queen falls. A death lord rises. An ancient foe looms in the shadows.
Sylvie Imanthiya is desperate to lead Faerie well and deepen the bond with her husband, former king Taylan Ashkalabek. But all hope of that vanishes when the winter solstice ceremony ends in disaster, stranding her and Taylan in the Deathrealm, and stripping the kingdom from her.
With Faerie in chaos, Zad and Diza are separated once again: Zad to reconcile with an old mentor to stabilize the kingdom, and Diza to confront the nefarious Casimir in the mortal realm. But Casimir claims that a greater evil seeks to destroy both realms, an evil that Diza’s unique death magic can hold at bay—if she could only remember how.
In the Deathrealm, Taylan is succumbing to the lure of specters from his past, and pushing away Sylvie’s love. Overwhelmed by decay and darkness, Sylvie must summon unexpected magic from the soul of Kyure to fight for her convictions and her husband’s heart.
Shadows divide them. Their friends are in peril. If Sylvie fails, her marriage and her world will fall.
|Sabellyn looks a lot like this!
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Halayda is set in Kyure, a world with several dimensions. There is the realm of Faerie, a wild land of magic, strange peoples, and semi-sentient forests and mountains. There is the Deathrealm, the fae underworld. But much of the book takes place in the city of Sabellyn, a prosperous human city-state with steampunk technology. The people of Sabellyn prize industry and innovation, and the city is a center of burgeoning trade, a lucrative black market, and cutting-edge alchemical research.
If we were to visit Sabellyn as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
The College of Alchemy is the centerpiece of the city. It’s an impressive building, but good luck getting inside! The alchemists guard their secrets very carefully. Instead, stroll around the city’s central square and admire it from the outside, along with the ornate government buildings and villas of the upper city. If you’re in the lower city, stop by The Goodly Goose for some curry. The food is truly terrible, but it’s a quintessential Sabellyn experience.
What dangers should we avoid in Sabellyn?
Dangers lurk everywhere in the city. Avoid walking the streets of the lower city at night unless you know what you’re doing. Otherwise you might accidentally walk into black market business. The upper city seems much more civilized, but there are plenty of rumors of what happens when someone gets too close to the secrets of the College of Alchemy. Of course, if you’re fae or half-fae, it’s best to avoid the city completely! All the iron and smog are dangerous for faeries, and most people in Sabellyn are hostile toward fae and their magic.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Sabellyn?
The denizens of Sabellyn have a taste for exotic imported foods. Even in the slums, taverns like The Goodly Goose serve curry, though whether it’s worth eating is another story. If you’re in the more fashionable area of the city, make sure you stop by The Lace Fan café for tea and scones!
|map of Kyure drawn by Julia Busko
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Sabellyn?
Trolleys are the most common way to travel within the city, and trains and barges run regular routes between Sabellyn and surroundings towns. If you can’t afford a trolley fare or are going to some of the less savory areas of the city, hitching a ride on a passing horse cart is your best option.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Sabellyn that we don’t see on Earth?
Sabellyn is inhabited mostly by humans. However, the city is built beside a gateway to Faerie, so you will occasionally see elementals or shifters there. Sabellyn is also a place where unwanted fae children are abandoned as changelings, and there are some people of mixed fae and human heritage as well. Changelings and half-fae have a limited life-span in the iron-filled city, though, and they keep a low profile to avoid the human inhabitants’ superstitions and prejudices against fae.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Sabellyn? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The people of Sabellyn are deeply wary of magic. Magic is the domain of the fae, who have been at odds with mortals for ages. A small percentage of humans possess “soul-sense,” an innate ability that allows alchemists to create and control their potions. Alchemists are both feared and honored for their abilities, as people are wary of their power but Sabellyn is built on their inventions.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Sabellyn? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Alchemy is the most advanced science in Sabellyn. It has many uses, from practical, everyday ones like keeping food fresh, to deadly ones used to protect the city from fae and other threats. Sabellyn has steampunk technology, including an elaborate railway system, steel mills and other large factories,
Is there a particular religion practiced in Sabellyn? Please describe what it involves.
The people of Sabellyn don’t have much sense of the supernatural. Most of its people ignore the possibility of a higher power and pursue moralism or scientism instead. Some people have a vague notion of a pleasant afterlife for good souls, while others disregard this. The people of Sabellyn dislike and fear anything that doesn’t fit within their predetermined notions of the world. Fae magic, notions of fate, and the guidance of the Lyrium are all considered threats and mysteries, as there is no place for these things in the mindset of Sabellyn’s people.
What is the political or government structure in Sabellyn? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Officially, Sabellyn is ruled by an elected council with representatives from all districts of the city-state. Unofficially, the city is controlled by the wealthy factory owners and the most successful inventors. Arguably the most powerful person in Sabellyn is the Chancellor of Alchemy, Nevion Caylus (though those who have read Halayda will know him by a different name), who wields a vast amount of influence over the Ruling Council and the political and scientific direction of the city.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Sabellyn was somewhat inspired by Amman, Jordan, where I lived for a while. Like Sabellyn, Amman is built on steep hillsides, and it’s a place where modern innovations are built on ancient foundations. Modernized western part of the city is a sharp contrast to the older and more traditional eastern part, similar to the contrast between the upper and lower city areas in Sabellyn. Granted, Sabellyn is very different culturally, and nothing in the world of Kyure is explicitly based on Jordan. Still, a bit of my experience walking the streets of Amman crept into Sabellyn.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
My goal, first and foremost, is to tell a good story, and my books are always driven more by characters than issues. There are some common themes in my books, though they’re not necessarily controversial. These include the inherent value of all life, the dangers of placing too much faith in science or pleasure, the possibility of redemption and second chances even for people who have done terrible things, and the power of love, hope, and beauty in dark worlds.
Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is the administrative manager for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to folk music festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
Where can readers connect with you online?
Join Uncommon Universes Press and Laura A. Grace of Unicorn Quester to celebrate the launch of Rothana by Sarah Delena White! Includes games, giveaways, exclusive behind-the-scenes, and more. Also features guest authors Bethany A. Jennings and Morgan L. Busse. Save the date to hang out with these fabulous authors!
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, November 26th
Tuesday, November 27th
Wednesday, November 28th
Thursday, November 29th
Friday, November 30th
Saturday, December 1st
Monday, December 3rd
Tuesday, December 4th
Wednesday, December 5th
Thursday, December 6th
Friday, December 7th
Saturday, December 8th
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Sabellyn. Questions about the world or the book? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!
Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.
Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima