City of a Thousand Tears
Author: Pamela Hart
Series: Beauty From Ashes
Publication date: September 5th 2023
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Beulah is a city divided by privilege and poverty, and seventeen-year-old Ellio lives in the poorest district of all—the Downs. Assigned there at birth, even his extraordinary gift with machines isn’t enough to escape Beulah’s rigid class structure.
But the boundaries of his world start to crumble the night he encounters a mysterious young woman.
Kaya is stubborn, impulsive, and volatile. His opposite in every way. Worse, she’s from Aurea, the city’s golden district, and beneath her hardened exterior lies a web of secrets tangled around Retiarius, the city’s elite fighting guild. How did she wind up in the Downs that night? And what’s her connection to Retiarius?
As Ellio and Kaya’s relationship deepens, they defy the boundaries of Beulah’s class system, risking everything to continue meeting in secret. When their forbidden love is put to the test, Ellio will have to decide if Kaya is just another impossible dream, or if some things are worth fighting for—even in the Downs.
If you enjoy dystopian romances like The Lunar Chronicles, Red Queen, and Divergent, check out this story of courage, love, fierce heroines, and underdogs.
Ellio found a lot of interesting things poking around dumpsters in the Downs, but this was the first time he’d found a foot. Peeking out from under the bin, the glossy black nail polish shimmered from the light of a distant streetlamp. Getting over his initial shock, the young man breathed a sigh of relief when his further investigation revealed that the foot was still attached to a leg. A rather shapely woman’s leg swathed in black biomesh with metal grommets tracing up the seam from calf to thigh.
Falling to his knees, he ignored the water from the puddle now seeping into his jumpsuit and the cold rain that dripped down the back of his neck. He pushed his goggles up into his dark-blue hair. Another, older set dangled from his throat as he leaned down. Ellio peered under the dumpster and was further consoled that the shapely leg was still attached to not only a torso but an entire woman’s body. She seemed to be all in one piece. Choppy black bangs fell in front of her eyes. Her face was flushed and smudged with dirt. Ragged gasps shuddered through her, breath puffing out as little clouds in the chill air. At least she was still breathing. Bodies sometimes turned up in the Downs, but not as often as one might expect.
What on Elorah had happened to her?
The young woman shivered.
Ellio frowned. “Hey, you all right?” He shook her leg gently.
The biomesh cloth of her pants alone was probably worth more than he made in a month. He cringed at the thought of getting grease on them, but then again, the young woman was passed out under a dumpster. Clearly, she had bigger problems. But just to be sure, he wiped his hands along the thighs of his coveralls a few times.
“Hey, c’mon.” Ellio craned his neck underneath the dumpster to see her better. “You can’t stay here.” He gripped her leg more firmly and tugged. The woman’s head lolled back and forth limply; her eyelids fluttered but remained closed.
After getting no response, Ellio partially crawled beneath the rusty trash receptacle. “’Scuse me, lady,” he whispered, sliding his hands lightly underneath her torso and dragging her out from under her makeshift shelter. He was careful not to let her bump her head on the way out.
Ellio kept his hands to respectable areas, but a blush still crept up his neck as he cradled the young woman against his chest. She looked about his age, maybe a year younger. Ellio had just turned seventeen a few weeks back. He couldn’t help noticing she was beautiful, with full pink lips and a cute little nose smattered with freckles. She had golden eyeshadow like wings around her eyes. Ellio swallowed. Brushing her bangs back from her face, he held a calloused hand against her forehead.
“You’re burning up!”
about the author
Pamela Hart is the author of Beauty from Ashes and City of a Thousand Tears. Raised on a steady diet of fantasy, science fiction and anime, she spent most of her childhood failing to acquire a Boston accent. Since then, she has slurped ramen in Ikebukuro, stampeded through flamenco lessons in Granada, and splashed her way across a fishpond for the Milkman Triathlon in Dexter. During her travels, she tends to overpack horrendously, but never regrets cramming her backpack full of books to devour along the way. She wanders the planet with Joe, the love of her life, and her adorably maniacal Boston terriers, Willy and Marvin.