Try this one.
The series is The Beautiful Ones by Kody Boye, YA Scifi Romance.
The Beautiful Ones ~ The Beautiful Ones Trilogy Book 1
My mother once said that only the Beautiful Ones survive. This is because, in the war-torn Great South, beauty is a currency, and to have it means you will never have to worry about a thing.
The only problem is: beauty is judged by our capital’s Gentlewomen, and there is no guarantee that we will past their test.
Every year, the Gentlewomen of the capital leave the Glittering City to oversee the annual Procession. They travel settlement to settlement selecting girls, aged sixteen and older, to become Beautiful Ones. If chosen, we will be lifted into a life of luxury, but the cost is our free will.
**Get it FREE!!**
Remember the law, my mother used to say when I was a child.
Don’t speak out.
Don’t lash out.
And definitely don’t stick out.
The heavily-armored women—known to most as the SADs, or the Southern Allegiance of Dames—police us mercilessly. Armed with rifles, stun guns, shock batons, and other advanced forms of weaponry, they rule with an iron fist, and will spare no mercy if the crowd gets out of line. Though I hadn’t anticipated them being here, I suppose their presence is necessary. Tensions run high during annual Processions. The girls want a future, the mothers the best for their children. Most are only a declaration away from doing something drastic. And if that happens—
I shake my head.
I can’t think about this—not now, not ever.
“You’re holding your breath,” my mother says.
I exhale, giving my lungs the relief they so desperately crave, and wait for the Procession to begin.
It isn’t long before the Gentlewoman walks from a stark white tent and makes her way atop the stage. Garbed in a short white dress that falls to her knees and flares about at her neck, her supple white flesh is immaculate and contrasts beautifully against the red fabric that exists on its underside. Only her face is visible beneath her tight white hood. No hair spills from its surface.
“Mom,” I say, suddenly struck with terror unlike any I have ever felt before. “Mama.”
“Be calm,” my mother says. “Everything will be fine.”
I take her hand, she mine.
After stepping to the edge of the stage, the Gentlewoman taps a microphone, waits for its reverberation to echo from speakers poised beneath her, and nods before saying, “Welcome.”
No one replies. Everyone waits.
The Gentlewoman smiles and says, “Welcome,” again, following that with, “to Countess Aa’eesha Dane’s annual Procession.”
Again, no one says a word. The wind ruffles our dresses and stirs our hats and hoods, parts over our skin and brings with it the scent of the desert sands. To speak would mean to speak out, and to speak out could mean—
Crime. Punishment. Death.
I tighten my hold on my mother’s hand as I wait for the Gentlewoman to speak.
“My name is Mother Terra,” the Gentlewoman says, “and as you all already know, I am here to determine which of these young women are beautiful enough to enter the Glittering City.”
A murmur starts up within the crowd. Such mention of our capital city is enough to inspire hope within the eyes of many. A girl next to me opens her mouth in awe, while another mutters a prayer beneath her lips. Mothers cry. All are in awe. To even dream of living in the city seems impossible, but to actually have the chance to go there?
Mother Terra nods before she begins. “The Glittering City,” she says, “is the last bastion of The Great South. Home to our great people, and to our great Countess, it offers those deemed appropriate a chance of fortune, of happiness, and most of all, life. Our world is cruel. War divides us. There is never a guarantee for a better future.
“This is why the Processions exist: to ensure that those who survive within the Glittering City maintain a healthy, and most of all, a beautiful gene pool. I am here today, under the order of our great Countess, to determine which of you young women, aged sixteen, will join the ranks of our forefathers. I understand that this process will be difficult for some. But please, remember one thing: we choose only the best, and do it for the betterment of mankind.”
I swallow a lump in my throat.
“Will the first girl please step forward,” Mother Terra says.
The young woman that steps forward is not unlike me. Dressed in her family’s best clothing, she approaches the podium with fear in her eyes and in her step, forgetting that she is to maintain a graceful appearance in order to make herself appear strong. As she nears the ramp that leads onto the stage, she catches the Gentlewoman’s eyes and begins to cry. Her sobs cut through the air like knives, piercing my heart and my mind, and it isn’t long before she is within the official’s presence.
All it takes is one look for a declaration to be made—for life to be changed or broken.
The girl is only on stage for a few short moments before the Gentlewoman says, “I’m sorry. You are not beautiful enough to enter the Glittering City.”
Her cries are cancerous—spreading through the crowd like wildfire—and threaten to bring down the foundation that is the whole of this structure.
She is about to step toward the Gentlewoman when one of the SADs step forward. Brandishing a shock baton, the Dame snaps it open and clicks a button to spark the electricity upon its surface. “Leave,” the woman says.
“But,” the girl replied.
She is hit only once, but it is enough to send her reeling. She falls from the stage and lands the few short feet onto the ground, leaving her mother in hysterics and the rest of the crowd in anticipation.
“Will the next girl please come forward,” the Gentlewoman says.
And so begins the process: first with girls stepping forward, girls being examined, girls being told that they are not beautiful before they burst into tears. Most make their way from the stage without issue. Some are escorted by Dames. Others are threatened with bodily violence when they refuse to move. None dare approach the Gentlewoman, however. After the first girl’s fate, they know better than to do that.
This goes on for what feels like hours but in reality is only minutes. The whole while I bake in the sun, desperate for relief of shade and water but knowing I will not get it until my name is called.
“Mama,” I say. “Will she pick anyone?”
“She will,” my mother says. “Don’t worry. She has to.”
The Gentlewoman doesn’t have to do anything. There are many girls in many provinces. Just because she doesn’t pick one here doesn’t mean that there won’t be more elsewhere.
Though it is a long and arduous process, a girl is eventually deemed beautiful. Dark-skinned, with fine hair that wraps around and hangs from her head in dreads, a girl I have seen but know as Ceyonne Marsden is the first to be accepted into the fold, and is offered a hug and a kiss from the Gentlewoman before she is escorted to the massive white tent beside the stage by a Dame.
“Now,” the Gentlewoman says. “Will the next girl please step onto the stage?”
Most of the crowd of would-bes has been whittled down, to the point where no one stands before or beside me. It is only when I see the Gentlewoman lay eyes upon me that I realize it is my turn to join the Procession.
I turn, kiss my mother on the cheek, whisper, “Thank you,” then turn and begin to make my way toward the stage.
My breath is ragged as I approach, as I cross the valley over which many girls’ hopes and dreams have fallen, and my eyes are set more on my feet than they are on the Gentlewoman whose attention I am supposed to command. I rise, with urgency I find alarming considering I am completely and utterly terrified, onto the stage and before the official’s presence, only to realize that I may not be deemed as beautiful as the one who has come before me. I know I am beautiful, but does this woman before me? Would she, by Countess Aa’eesha Dane’s accord, see what it is my mother and the rest of my community sees in me? Yes? No? Maybe?
I wait in deliberation and raise my head to face Mother Terra’s eyes. As I stare into their beautiful, cosmetically-altered teal depths, I surrender to her submission, and hope—and pray, as Mrs. Garret had before me—that I will be found acceptable.
The War Outside ~ The Beautiful Ones Trilogy Book 2
I have accomplished the goal of my lifetime. I have become a Beautiful One.
But it is not at all what I expected. Between the glitz, the glam, the fame, fortune, and my recent wedding, it’s almost impossible to believe that a civil war rages beyond the capitol city’s walls, and that my life was nearly taken because of it. This is why, the day after the attempt on my life, I choose to designate my Purpose to the great war.
There’s no guarantee that my words will change anything. But as my presence within the Glittering City grows, it becomes quickly apparent that I am in danger… and that no one, not even my government, can save me.
About the Author
Born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye began his writing career with the publication of his story [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge at the age of fourteen. Published nearly three-dozen times before going independent at eighteen, Boye has authored numerous works—including the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the epic fantasy series The Brotherhood Saga.
The Beautiful Ones are not what they seem.
by Kody Boye
This is a running theme within The Beautiful Ones trilogy, and a theme that I feel separates the series from more opulent comparisons such as The Selection by Kiera Cass. In The Beautiful Ones, our main character, Kelendra Byron, believes that, by becoming a Beautiful One, she will escape poverty, and life as she knows it. While that is true in one sense, in another, it is completely wrong.
Beautiful Ones, who are chosen from outlying territories within the Great South, are chosen for only one reason: to create an exceptionally-beautiful gene pool, which encompasses not only the most beautiful of women, but the most intelligent of men from the capital city. While this is detailed more extensively in book 2, The War Outside, the first book in The Beautiful Ones trilogy describes a distrust of men by the Countess—and, as a result, a willingness to expend them over the women she feels can be the “future” of “her country.”
Though Kelendra Byron is not aware of her impending circumstance before the annual Procession begins shortly after her sixteenth birthday, she will soon come to find that things are not what they seem.
The Beautiful Ones is now available for free in eBook format, and for purchase in paperback and in Audible Audio. Its sequel, The War Outside, is available on Amazon.com and Kindle Unlimited. A third book will follow in late 2019 or early 2020.
- $10 Amazon
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!