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The Madness Project (The Madness Method #1) - Paperback (Vorona Books)

The Madness Project (The Madness Method #1) - Paperback (Vorona Books)

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In a world that shuns magic, seventeen-year-old Prince Tarik hides a dangerous secret. Keeping his magical powers hidden is the only way to protect his Crown…and possibly even his life. But when an underground society of mages is accused of plotting a ruthless assassination, Tarik's buried power may be the key to uncovering the truth.

But at what risk?

Masked as a foreign mage named Shade, Tarik ventures into the underbelly of the city, into a treacherous realm of conspiracy and rebellion. Friendship is a strange word on the streets, and trust is stranger still, but he will need both to survive the city’s darkest currents.

In an attempt to earn the confidence of the city’s outcast mages, he forges an unlikely alliance with Hayli, a streetwise shapeshifter who harbors her own painful secrets. As their connection grows stronger, powers awaken within them that they never imagined possible.

But in a realm of deception and peril, can they truly rely on each other, or will the lies they tell destroy everything they’ve worked to achieve? 

In this gripping dark fantasy, the fragile line between sanity and madness blurs, and the price of survival becomes increasingly steep. With political intrigue, heart-pounding action, and a dash of madness, immerse yourself in a world where the only way to escape the darkness is to embrace the shadows.

Read an Excerpt!

Hayli

“I could’ve sworn I heard this door slam,” a voice said, speaking just on the other side of the door.

I crammed myself into the stairwell corner, out of sight of the window, and froze. My heart raced fast as the crow’s, and I just kept praying over and over again that whoever was out there wouldn’t open the door.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” another voice said—a voice I recognized…Dr. Kippler!

All the blood drained from my face. Something like fury or fear crept in to take its place, and I knotted my hands and bit my lip to keep from screaming. The door latch twitched, and shifted down.

“This door shouldn’t even be unlocked,” Dr. Kippler went on. “I’ll have to call Minister Blake and have him check the upper floors again…”

I held my breath, willing them to move on. But just when I thought they’d gone, the latch jerked down and the door swung open.

“What the devil—”

I could feel the crow in my head, beating against my panic. Get up. Run. Run!

“Ah,” Dr. Kippler said, standing in the doorway. “You came back.”

I launched myself at the stairs and—before I could think why—I bolted down toward the Gen. Lab. door.

“Stop her!” Kippler shouted. “Guards!”

I shoved open the door and closed it, quiet as I could. The corridor here was bright but empty, and I picked a direction—right—and took off running. All kinds of doors flashed past me as I went, double doors, office doors, doors with windows. I passed a glass door that led into some kind of huge room, filled with men in long white coats and more tables than I could count. A strange bluish kind of light filtered over them and their strange machines, not bright, but strangely powerful. A minute and I realized I’d stopped to stare, while the guards would be coming any second to grab me.

I’d just passed an office door that stood a bit ajar, so, with my pulse ricocheting in my head, I darted back to it and slipped inside. Leaving the door just as I’d found it, I scrambled through the darkness to crawl underneath the desk.

Out in the hall, an alarm went off.

Footsteps stopped just outside my door, and I heard the other scientist shouting over the noise, “What the devil is that?”

“Those idiots have gone burning up their lab again. I don’t see why that means they have to put our lab under lockdown. Though I suppose it serves its purpose. We can put it back under lockdown as soon as we get out, so we can be certain she won’t go anywhere.”

“That was one of your specimens?” 

“She’s an intriguing one, that girl. Shape-shifter. Higher energy readings than most we’ve had.”

“I don’t know how you did it,” the man said, a note almost of reproach in his voice. “She must be about your daughter’s age.”

“Don’t personify them,” Dr. Kippler said. “That creature is nothing like Eira.”

My breath hissed out through my teeth. Creature! I’m not a creature!

“Don’t tell me you believe all that, about mages not being human.”

“If that’s what the King declares…”

“We’re scientists, damn it. The King isn’t. I’ve looked at their flesh under a microscope just the same as you, and I haven’t seen a jot of difference between them and us. At least, no more difference than why some individuals have a leaner or more muscled body type than others… Dr. Sturgan was just explaining about some genes they’ve discovered on your specimens…”

“It is a settled fact,” Dr. Kippler snapped, interrupting. “We just haven’t developed the tools to observe the real differences yet. It has to tie in to Alokin’s theory about electromagnetism and the energy in those specimens, which makes them so much easier to control if you can tap into it. As soon as we get the rest of the sample, things will be much clearer.”

“And when will that happen?” the other scientist asked.

“As soon—”

There was a sharp hiss and the sound of something opening.

“Finally,” Dr. Kippler said. “That took far too long. Tell those idiots over in the Physics Lab that their emergency door design needs work. We shouldn’t be trapped for five minutes simply because they set fire to their lab.”

“I’ll tell them,” the other scientist said, his voice fading with the sound of his footsteps. Then he stopped and said, “It’s never settled. And I don’t want blood on my hands if we turn out to be wrong.”

“Oh, believe me, Toma,” Dr. Kippler said. I could picture his venomous smile from the acid in his voice. “If you think you’ve proved us wrong, it won’t be their blood you need to worry about.”

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