Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!
This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck to give readers a chance to gain access to bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes in a scavenger hunt!
You not only get access to bonus content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from every author on my team! But play fast: this contest will only be online till Sunday!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SEVEN contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all!
I’m on the PURPLE TEAM but there are also teams of six other colors. Enter them all to win different sets of books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Javan Najafai, crown prince of Akram, has spent the last ten years at an elite boarding school, far away from his kingdom. But his eagerly awaited return home is cut short when a mysterious imposter takes his place—and no one believes Javan is the true prince.
After barely escaping the imposter’s assassins, Javan is thrown into Maqbara, the kingdom’s most dangerous prison. The only way to gain an audience with the king–and reveal Javan’s identity–is to fight in Maqbara’s yearly tournament. But winning is much harder than acing competitions at school, and soon Javan finds himself beset not just by the terrifying creatures in the arena, but also a band of prisoners allied against him, and even the warden herself.
The only person who can help him is Sajda, who has been enslaved by Maqbara’s warden since she was a child, and whose guarded demeanor and powerful right hook keep the prisoners in check. Working with Sajda might be the only way Javan can escape alive—but she has dangerous secrets.
Together, Javan and Sajda have to outwit the vicious warden, outfight the deadly creatures, and outlast the murderous prisoners intent on killing Javan. If they fail, they’ll be trapped in Maqbara for good—and the secret Sajda’s been hiding will bury them both.
Everything had gone according to plan until the headmaster decided to block the short cut with a dragon.
The beast exhaled, a long, rasping growl of breath that shivered through the air and sent smoke curling toward the thick gray clouds that scudded across the sky.
Javan forced himself to breathe as well. Fear out. Courage in.
This was just another test. Another way to make sure that only the truly deserving wore the crimson sash at tomorrow’s commencement ceremony.
Doubtless there was another equally daunting obstacle blocking the others on the main path. Javan shoved all thoughts of his friends and fellow competitors from his mind and focused on the problem of getting past the beast.
The dragon beat its wings, slowly at first, and then shale began sliding down the hill as the beast picked up speed. Every flap of its wings was a leathery slap of sound that sent a chill over Javan’s skin.
He had no weapons. They were forbidden between tasks.
He had no allies. He’d left them behind on the main road.
He had nothing but his instincts and his brain.
That didn’t seem like enough to best a dragon the size of a small house, but the headmaster wouldn’t have allowed it to be here if he didn’t believe his students already had the skills to beat it.
Javan looked away from the dragon to quickly scan the area, forcing himself to catalogue his options as the dragon’s talons scraped the rocky precipice, sending chunks of rock tumbling past the prince.
He needed a weapon. He needed shelter.
He needed a way through the hills to the fifth task before one of his classmates got to the sash first.
His list of options was pitifully short. There was plenty of shale, which was less than useless. There were rocks ranging from pebbles to ones the size of a carriage. There was the hill in front of him, but no caves. No tunnels that could offer safety while keeping the dragon at bay. And there was Javan himself with his tunic, his boots, his pants, and his belt.
The dragon rose, blocking the pale sun, its immense shadow swallowing Javan whole.
The prince was out of time. Whipping off his tunic, he leaned down and scraped a hand through the shale until he found a piece sharp enough to cut his skin. He scooped it up along with a few rocks the size of his fist. The dragon’s roar shattered the air above him, and Javan’s heart thudded as he dumped the rocks onto the center of his tunic, tied the sleeves into a makeshift knapsack, and then scrambled for the incline that led to the hill’s precipice.
Doubtless the dragon would try to block Javan. He’d just have to find a way to distract it or fend it off long enough to get through the pass.
The dragon dove for him, the air whistling past its body as fire poured from its mouth.
Yl’ Haliq be merciful, the dragon was trying to burn him.
Javan leaped to the side, crashing onto the shale as the fire seared his left arm. The dragon slammed into the ground beside him, sending a wave of rocks skidding down the rest of the hill.
Terror lanced Javan, bold and bright. Fragments of prayer tumbled from his lips as he reached for his tunic full of shale with shaking fingers. The beast wasn’t trying to stop Javan. It was trying to kill him.
Javan lunged forward, grabbing sharp outcroppings to haul himself over the slippery ground, his breath sobbing in his lungs as he whispered a prayer for deliverance.
The outcroppings sliced into his hands, and soon his palms were slick with blood. The dragon’s wings swept the air, and Javan had to brace himself to keep from being flattened by the gusts of wind that hit him.
As the dragon rose into the air once more, Javan forced himself to reach. To climb.
The precipice was three body lengths away.
The dragon was circling overhead, smoke pouring from its nostrils.
“Yl’ Haliq, save your faithful servant,” Javan breathed as he dug deep for more speed. More strength. As he tried to push the blinding terror into the corner of his mind so he could think.
The dragon’s roar thundered as Javan’s bloody hands closed over the spiny ridge of the hill. The prince pulled his legs under his chest, planted his boots against the shifting shale beneath him, and leaped.
Fire exploded against the side of the hill as Javan cleared the ridge and landed on the narrow flat strip of the hill’s precipice. Throwing his makeshift knapsack to the ground, the prince tore the knot loose and grabbed the sharp piece of shale. Four quick slices and he ripped a patch of fabric the size of his hand from the bottom of his tunic.
The dragon dove toward him. Javan threw himself forward, skidding on his hands and knees as the beast’s talons dug into the ground leaving long gashes where the prince had been crouched.
Javan’s hands shook as he flattened the square of fabric and gouged a slim tear into two opposite sides of the patch. Above him, the dragon flew into the air and began circling. The prince grabbed the braided cord of his belt, unwound it from his waist, and shoved one end through the tear in the right side of the patch. The dragon’s roar shook the ground.
Fear wrapped around Javan’s chest and squeezed. Hastily pushing the end of his belt through the other tear, he centered the patch in the middle of the corded rope while the dragon dove.
This time, Javan didn’t move fast enough. The beast’s great leathery wing collided with the prince and sent him spinning toward the edge of the precipice. Javan dug into the ground with his elbows and feet, his hands still clutching the slingshot he’d fashioned.
The beast flew into the air and circled back.
Javan jumped to his feet and dove toward the cache of rocks sitting in the middle of his ruined tunic.
Smoke gushed from the dragon’s mouth and hurtled toward the prince with every flap of the creature’s wings.
Javan’s hand closed around a rock, and he centered it in the patch of tunic even as he spun to face the dragon’s next assault.
There would be no time to dive out of the way if he missed.
The dragon roared.
Javan pulled the rock back with one hand until the cord of his rope belt was taut.
With an enormous whoosh of smoky air, the beast locked eyes on the prince and came straight toward him.
He was going to die.
The words chased each other inside his head as his stomach dropped and his knees shook. He was going to die, and he’d never been to a tavern or kissed a girl or seen pride in his father’s eyes.
Terror threatened to turn Javan’s limbs to stone as the dragon closed in, and he forced himself to breathe.
Flames gathered in the back of the dragon’s throat.
Javan leaned his weight onto his back leg, stared at the space between the dragon’s eyes, and let the rock fly as fire began pouring from the beast’s mouth.
The flames rushed for Javan as the rock sailed through them and struck the dragon’s left eye.
With a guttural cry, the dragon wheeled away, clawing at its face with its front talons.
Javan lunged forward, ducking beneath the wave of fire and wincing as the heat seared the bare skin of his back. Grabbing another rock, he readied it in the slingshot even as he hurtled over the far edge of the precipice and began sprinting down the incline and toward the path that wound through the next cluster of craggy hills.
For a moment, he thought the dragon wouldn’t follow. It hung in the sky, wings pushing at the air while it clawed at its injured eye. Javan focused on the slim space between the third and fourth hills in front of him and reached deep for another burst of speed. His boots crushed the shale beneath him as he closed in on his way out.
Behind him, the dragon roared. Javan risked a glance over his shoulder and his mouth went dry at the light of blind rage that glowed in the dragon’s uninjured eye. The beast snarled and dove for him.
“Yl’ Haliq be merciful,” Javan breathed as he raced toward the slice of light that glowed between the hills.
He couldn’t stop. Couldn’t turn around and aim the rock at the dragon. One misstep, one lost second of forward momentum, and he wouldn’t be able to outrun the fiery death that was closing in on him.
Heat swept his back as the dragon sent a fireball toward him. Javan cried out in pain, but didn’t stop. Reaching the space between the hills, he abandoned the slingshot, grabbed both sides of the rocky outcrop and swung his body through. Without pausing, he hurtled down the steep incline, sending showers of rocks onto the small grass meadow at the base of the hill.
Carved wooden stakes marked the four corners of the meadow, and at its center was a raised stone platform the size of a table that could seat twenty. The academy’s coat of arms was carved into the front of the platform. A small selection of weapons was arranged on the left of the dais, and on the right stood the headmaster, the crimson sash in his hands. His back was to Javan, his focus on the main road where in the distance the three students Javan had left behind on the archery grounds were running toward the meadow.
“Weapon!” Javan yelled as his boots hit the grass.
The headmaster pivoted, his mouth an O of surprise as behind Javan, the dragon crashed into the space between the hills and exploded through it in a hail of dust and debris. The sash fluttered to the ground as the older man lunged for the other side of the platform and grabbed a bow and quiver.
Javan stumbled as he crossed the meadow, the painful burns along his arm and back searing into his nerves, and the headmaster yelled, “Catch!”
The bow and the quiver flew through the air toward the prince. He scrambled to his feet and caught them as the headmaster hefted a longsword and began running toward Javan.
Whirling to face the dragon, Javan planted his feet, nocked an arrow, and took a breath as he sighted the weapon on the incoming beast. Its scales were impenetrable. He’d have to hit it in the eye again.
The headmaster reached his side as Javan drew back the bow, prayed he’d calculated wind speed and velocity correctly, and let the arrow fly.
Don’t worry, these links above and below open new windows and won’t detour your hunt…and leave a comment below before you go!