For fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and Frank L Baum’s Wizard of Oz comes a story about an utterly average girl transported to another time who will stop at nothing to save her family…even if it means sacrificing her humanity.
“The Wizard of Oz meets Star Wars…Why don’t we have more YA space operas like this? Cat Lyons gives us characters who leap off the page and a plot that keeps readers guessing. A story for all ages and genders, this one is sure to please.”
~Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
16 year old Annie McCoy always looks out for her autistic 12 year old little brother, Nate. It’s what any ordinary big sister would do—and, unlike her extraordinary brother and parents, Annie is average with a capital normal.
Then comes the morning when Nate runs out into the street right into the path of a school bus and Annie chases after him. Time freezes for a moment when the possibilities spin out before Annie. As if she can control the future. Making her choice, she steps into the bus’s path and sacrifices herself to save Nate.
Imagine her surprise when she wakes in a world a lot like her own, but definitely not. She’s nowhere near Scotia, PA, instead she’s in a Las Vegas where the fashion is hopelessly retro and the tech is absolutely futuristic. A boy named N-8 who looks exactly like Nate tells her he summoned her here to Unity on the orders of the Delphi quantum computer that runs this world.
According to N-8, she’s here to save the world before Time itself collapses. All she needs to do is steal the Delphi Key and take control of the quantcomp.
Annie refuses to believe that anyone as average as she is could be a Chosen One. Instead, she focuses on saving N-8 and the other autistic children who have been enslaved by the leader of this strange new world: Comptroller Franco Albanese. Franco wields the Delphi Key and uses children with autism as dataminers to serve the needs of Delphi, sorting through the vast quantities of data the quantcomp produces.
Determined to once again save her little brother—or his incarnation in this strange alternative universe—Annie must find the courage to break out of her ordinary life and embrace her new one before it’s too late.
Despite overwhelming odds, Annie has done it! She’s stolen the Delphi Key from the most powerful man in Unity, Comptroller Franco Albanese.
But she lost the young dataminer who brought her to this strange new world. N-8 has been captured by Franco and taken to his Palace at Fort Knox.
Together with her newfound allies—the cute but cocky street thief Killian, who just happens to be Franco’s estranged son, making Annie doubt her trust in him despite the fact that she’s desperately attracted to him, mechanical genius Kymee Revv who hides her beauty behind Kuboki makeup and sarcasm, and Revv’s father, Pierre Lafitte—Annie has retreated to the isolated desert oasis known as Mirage, a community built below the Mojave solar reservation and protected from Franco and his Chief Enforcer, Blake.
As she tries to decipher the mysteries hidden in the Key and decide her next move, Annie learns that there’s a larger conspiracy surrounding Delphi—one that goes back over a decade and involves Revv’s lost mother, her father, and Franco himself.
If she can’t trust the people who have saved her life, who can Annie trust? And if she must choose between saving N-8 and the lives of the other dataminers and saving the world, how can she decide to sacrifice the boy who is so very like her own brother back home?
Will sacrificing everything she is give her the strength she needs to save the world? Or will losing her humanity condemn it?
Annie has embraced her Meta-self, realizing that only by accepting who she is can she save the world and prevent more destruction and unnecessary deaths. She also reluctantly accepts the help of her friends—Killian, Revv, Blake, and N-8—despite the fact that there is a very good chance none of them will survive.
The Meta in her could calculate the overwhelming odds against them making it to Delphi’s underground fortress alive, but the girl in Annie prefers to ignore the odds and focus on their mission to cross the Burning Waters, make it past the other Metas and Delphi’s security, and then use the Key to stop Delphi from continuing to collapse timelines.
She knows there’s no way they’ll all make it out alive. Her plan is to make sure that if anyone must die to save the world and stop Delphi that it will be Annie.
Annie might no longer be human, but she’s still the same girl who sacrificed herself to save her little brother. Annie clings to that, it’s the only piece of her real self left.
Now, as every plan she’s made suddenly goes wrong, Annie and each of her friends must choose: themselves or the universe?
Time is running out and there are no futures left to steal…