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Racing the Dark
Racing the Dark

"Reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books…this proposed series could be a stand-out."

--Publishers Weekly

Enter a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, plagues and typhoons, of island nations separated by water but bound by fear of the spirits they imprisoned to control their volatile environment. In Racing the Dark, the first act in a grand dance of loyalty, love, sacrifice, and death is about to begin.

Like the other women of her nameless backwater island, Lana had always expected to become a diver and harvest precious jewels from a fish native to their surrounding freshwater seas. But during her initiation dive, she receives a horrifying gift—a blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power. Someone to be used.

Though Lana hides the jewel, the power it represents drives her family away from their home island, and Lana into an apprenticeship with a one-armed witch with a peculiar interest in her fate. The witch hides the extent of her own power (and of her intentions) even as she trains Lana in geas—the spells and incantations that allow humans to sacrifice for control of the spirits.

But powers far greater and intrigues far older than anything she could imagine are driving Lana down a dangerous road. When she dares to use a dark, ancient geas to save her mother's life, she is set onto a path toward becoming a creature beyond her wildest imaginings. A creature of great power...and a perfect pawn of the spirits themselves, in their bid to break free of a millennia-long imprisonment.

A bold new talent in fantasy fiction, 25-year-old Alaya Dawn Johnson has created an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding power requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice.


Title Racing the Dark
Audience 01 General / trade
Title First Published 10 September 2007
Format Hardcover
Nb of pages
ISBN-10 1932841288
ISBN-13 978-1-932841-28-2
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781932841282
Publication Date 26 October 2007
Dimensions 6 x 9 in.
Weight 20.8 oz.
List Price $15.60
Format PDF
Nb of pages 386 p.
ISBN-10 1-57284-623-2
ISBN-13 978-1-57284-623-4
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572846234
Main content page count 386
List Price $9.99
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 368 p.
ISBN-10 1-932841-44-X
ISBN-13 978-1-932841-44-2
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781932841442
Publication Date 28 August 2009
Main content page count 368
Dimensions 6 x 9 in.
Weight 18 oz.
List Price $9.72


Additional Materials


Press Reviews

Publishers Weekly, August 20, 2007
"Reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books…this proposed series could be a stand-out."

School Library Journal, September 2007
"The prose is lyrical and metaphorical, in a style similar to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist… The complex plot requires careful reading but the effort is worth it. Teens who enjoyed Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home will like this novel, and many readers will identify with a character facing adult responsibilities while still feeling like a child."
“This is a terrific coming of age fantasy thriller starring a thirteen year old girl whose rite of passage into adulthood takes a dark turn when she finds the special blood gem. Readers will feel they have entered Johnson’s Island (not the military base in the Pacific) realm as the geography and climate come across rather influentially and powerfully."
- Harriet Klausner, October 29, 2007

Related News

Alaya Dawn Johnson discusses her thoughts on young adult fantasy and how it influenced her book, Racing the Dark.

What Makes YA Fantasy So Awesome by Ron Hogan
Feb 16, 2008

Alaya Dawn Johnson answers questions about the influences and themes of her book, Racing the Dark.

Catching Up With Alaya Dawn Johnson by The Longstockings
Feb 15, 2008

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