Today, I’m spotlighting another post-apocalyptic novel geared toward young adults by Wilbert Stanton. After reading the suspenseful excerpt and the amusing interview with the main characters, Dodger and Twist below, I’ve definitely added this one to my future reads list. If this book appeals to your reading interests, be sure to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of The Artful and feel free to let me know what you think about this new series.
The Artful (Shadows of the City # 1) by Wilbert Stanton
Publication Date: May 27, 2014 / Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genres: YA, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.
Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.
On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.
We didn’t speak anymore for a time, just walked in silence. Every other block we stumbled upon some sort of savagery. Bloodstained walls or half-eaten body parts. There was a moment I thought I would get used to it. If I saw enough of it, it wouldn’t bother me. I had to man up, after all. Here I was, acting like a child in the care of his babysitter. This wasn’t how I wanted our trip to go; I was sick of being a sidekick. I had to step up. So I straightened, shoulders out firm and head held high and sped up, trying to match Gia’s pace.
Until we turned a corner and all my resolve was thrown out the window. We ran into two bare-chested men in tattered jeans. One had a shaven head, rings stretched his earlobes, big enough for a finger to fit through, and a number of piercings along his lips, tattoos sloppily etched into his back and arms. The other was a bit smaller. He wore tight jeans and combat boots. His hair was a mess of knots and tangles, a thick beard covered most of his face, and he had a number of tattoos as well. They crouched down low, over the remains of a naked woman. Bits and pieces of flesh were gone from her face and neck. Her stomach was a gaping hole of blood and gore as they used their hands to spoon her insides into their mouths. Even though Gia held up her hand in silence, I puked, unable to help myself. They turned toward us, their carnivorous smiles and filed down teeth reminding me of a shark.
Gia turned toward me, her earlier confidence escaping with the color in her skin. “Oh, crap. Run!” She grabbed my arm and pulled me as I let loose the last of my breakfast.
“We got some fresh meat, boys!” The words seemed to chase us down the street. I ventured a look over my shoulder to see them giving chase, laughing and throwing bits of human meat at us.
“Come and get it!” shouted the other. “Dinner time!”
“We’ll feast on the boy for dinner and have the girl for play!” His voice was dry and frightening.
“Then eat her for breakfast.”
“And play with her some more!” They laughed wildly. This was a game to them. We were sport. They didn’t view us as people, only things to be played with and eaten. We can’t get caught, we can’t get caught. I would have killed Gia and myself before they caught us. We ran down a street and another, turned corner after corner and couldn’t lose them. They remained on our heels like vicious dogs. Before long, I realized we were just going in circles. Gia was panicked and no longer knew where we were going, I had to act before―
A woman stepped out from around a corner. Her face was heavily pierced. Blonde pigtails fell about her slender shoulders. She wore a school girl outfit. Her skirt was stained with blood, and her legs were covered in scabs. Pigtails wobbled as she tilted her head, flashing a sinister smile filled with shark-like teeth. The baseball bat held loosely at her side glistened with semidry blood. She snarled like a feral beast as we skidded to a halt.
Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.
Wilbert Stanton’s Interview with Characters Dodger and Twist
Wilbert: Hi everyone, today I have a special treat for you, flown in on a secret military chopper from the shadows of New York City, are Twist and Dodger, better known as —
Dodger: Dodger and Twist.
Wilbert: Excuse me?
Dodger: It’s Dodger and Twist.
Twist: Oh come on, really?
Dodger: Well it just sounds better. Straight from the shadows of New York City, Dodger and Twist, better known as the Gutter Punks!
Wilbert: Ok, well… sorry about that.
Twist: It’s really not all that important—
Dodger: We were promised a really attractive female reporter, not a writer… What happened to her?
Wilbert: Well she couldn’t make it; she’s conducting an interview with Gia.
Twist: Gia is getting interviewed too? Did she say anything about me?
Dodger: Here we go again, all you have to do is mention Gia and he falls to pieces.
Twist: I don’t fall to pieces… I just wanted to know if she mentioned me.
Dodger: Yeah she mentioned what a dork you are. Am I right Wilbert!?
Wilbert: Well, no, I’m sure she thinks very highly of you—
Wilbert: Yeah, you’re a nice guy. You steal meds from the rich and give them to the poor. I mean that’s what you guys are known for right? Helping out those in need, trying to make New York a better place?
Dodger: I do it for the women, really. I mean not that I have problems in that area, but it’s a really good way to get into a girl’s—
Twist: He’s lying! We do it to make a difference. It isn’t right that all those rich tower babies get all the meds and live in the safety of their towers, while the rest of us are forced to live underground. We couldn’t, wouldn’t stand for it anymore. So we had to make a difference!
Dodger: Also the women love it, did I mention how they drop their—
Twist: Oh, god, can we just get on with the interview without you saying something offensive?
Dodger: We can try, but I make no promises. You know the longer I talk the easier it is for me to say something inappropriate.
Twist: Nice to meet you Wilbert, and thanks for having us… did you have any questions?
Wilbert: I… um… yeah, we got a little off track there, didn’t we?
Twist: Sorry that happens with us, we have the gift of gab.
Dodger: Oh would you let that go? Gia once told him we have the gift of gab and he acts like she wants to date him or something.
Twist: Let’s talk about something else.
Wilbert: Okay, why don’t you tell us how you guys met?
Dodger: That’s easy, I saved his life.
Twist: He didn’t really save my life—
Dodger: He was a scrawny little orphaned street rat with nowhere to go. If it hadn’t been for me protecting him from some street kids and taking him under my wing, he’d be dead.
Twist: He tried to rob me, when he saw I didn’t have anything he decided to help.
Wilbert: So wait, Dodger and a bunch of street kids tried robbing you?
Dodger: We wouldn’t put it like that… would we?
Twist: No what actually happened is the street kids were robbing me, and then Dodger joined in!
Dodger: I decided to help in the end though… that counts for something.
Twist: Then we both got beat up.
Dodger: Yeah, but after that I took you under my wing, and taught you the laws of the street.
Twist: I will admit I learned a lot from Dodge.
Dodger: See I saved his life!
Wilbert: Well… it actually looks like we are running out of time, I guess one last question.
Dodger: Okay, where is the hot interviewer I was promised, the one with the huge—
Twist: I think he meant he has one last question…
Wilbert: What do you guys have planned next?
Twist: We are going where no one has ever gone before, beyond the quarantined zone.
Wilbert: That sounds frightening.
Twist: It is, we have no way of knowing what’s out there. But it’s something we have to do. For all the people who look to us for help, for a better tomorrow.
Dodger: Oh god, really? Is that what you’re closing with? Let’s just say we are about to save the world. And be done with this interview.
Wilbert: Well thanks for your time, I think. I look forward to hearing about your adventures. And um, good luck with everything.
Twist: Thanks, sorry about him. I enjoyed meeting you.
Blitz-wide Giveaway: A Signed Copy of The Artful