Outcast by C.J. Redwine
Welcome to Saturday Shorts where we feature short stories and novellas. This novella both preludes and coincides with the story that begins in Defiance.
Publisher’s Description: A thrilling, dangerous adventure, this prequel novella to C.J. Redwine’s Defiance and Deception features Quinn, a popular character from the series.
Quinn Runningbrook knows a hundred ways to kill a man and make it hurt. He can track, ambush, and torture his prey with terrifying skill—just like his father taught him. But every kill consumes another piece of him, and Quinn longs to stop, to save himself and his sister Willow from becoming like his father—a man who kills for entertainment.
But when Quinn refuses to torture a group of trespassers caught too close to the Tree Village where his family lives, and instead kills them quickly, he disobeys a direct order from his father . . . and Willow is forced to do it instead. Suddenly, Quinn isn’t the favored apprentice to the family business of “protecting” the Tree Village anymore. Willow is.
When Jared Adams—a courier from the nearby city-state of Baalboden—is caught traveling too close to their borders, Willow is ordered to torture him for information. But Quinn knows that Jared doesn’t deserve torture or death. And he realizes he has to take action…or the fate chosen for Willow and himself by their father will remain carved in stone.
The novella follows Quinn and brings up the backstory of his former tree-life hell. Quinn and Willow’s father is a bloodthirsty hunter who knows Quinn doesn’t really have the heart to kill an innocent. However, once his vicious dad sets his sights on bringing his young daughter up to speed, completing things her older brother won’t do, Quinn decides to step up and it puts him in a world of hurt.
Quinn crosses paths with Jared Adams, Rachel’s father, and his trouble gets worse. He knows he’s supposed to kill Jared, but can’t make himself do it, so instead brings him to the tree village for questioning. His father isn’t pleased and forces Willow to kill Jared – an act that Quinn stops. In a rush of fury, Quinn kills his father in a fight to the death, and the siblings are exiled for his crimes.
The story is briefly mentioned throughout the Courier’s Daughter trilogy as Rachel tries to figure out the enigmatic history of her most trusted friend and guardian. Quinn, though a potent killer, is marred by his scars but a better man for it. I love this story because it shows how Jared and the Runningbrook siblings meet – and the perilous journey that begins with a choice. CJ Redwine shows off her skills as she runs through each and every emotion, action, and decision that keeps making the storyline better and better. A five, naturally and recommended to short story fans.
If you like this book…