{Shower of Books Giveaway Hop} Spotlight + Guest Post: The Torturer's Daughter by Zoe Cannon

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Torturer's Daughter
Title: The Torturer's Daughter
Author: Zoe Cannon
Date of Publication: December 11, 2012

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.

To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother.

When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.

It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary teenage life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.

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Excerpt

“Heather?”

Heather didn’t look at her.

“It’s me. Becca. I told you I’d come.”

Heather raised her head like she was moving through water. She stared past Becca with mascara-smeared eyes. Her hands trembled in her lap. This wasn’t the Heather who had tried to talk Becca into a makeover at the mall this afternoon—or was that yesterday afternoon by now? She could still hear Heather laughing as she tugged Becca toward the makeup counter. Come on, Becca! Do something fun for once. The girl in front of her looked as if she had never laughed in her life.

Becca sat down next to the trembling girl who didn’t look nearly enough like Heather. “What are you doing here?” Her voice came out as a croak. She cleared her throat. “What happened?”

On the phone, Heather had only managed disconnected phrases through her sobs. Took them. Told me to wait. Please come. Please. And then the words that had chilled Becca’s blood and brought her here—I’m at 117.

Now Heather dug her nails into her legs as she spoke. “My parents.” She swallowed, like she was trying to take back the words before she could speak them. “Internal took them.”

“What do you mean, took them?” Stupid question. That only ever meant one thing. But… Heather’s parents, below them in one of the underground cells? No. Heather’s parents had worked for Internal Defense longer than Becca had known them, longer than Heather had even been alive. For them to be arrested… how could Internal have made a mistake like that?

Heather sank bonelessly back against the chair. The back of her head thunked against the wall; she didn’t seem to notice. “I don’t know why… I don’t know why they…”

“Tell me how it happened.” Maybe Heather had gotten it wrong. Impossible, to get something like that wrong—but more likely than Heather’s parents being dissidents.

“I heard footsteps. After Mom and Dad were asleep. I was still up.” Heather dug her fingers deeper into her jeans, until her nails went white. “I thought it was a burglar or something. But it was… them.”

“Enforcement?” Becca tried to imagine Enforcers in Heather’s apartment, with their faceless helmets and black body armor, dragging Heather’s parents away like dissidents in the middle of the night. She couldn’t.

Heather nodded. “They walked past me like I wasn’t there. They got Mom and Dad out of bed. I didn’t know if I should warn them, or… It didn’t make sense. None of it made any sense.” Heather paused to catch her breath. “Mom tried to fight. They slammed her against the wall a couple of times. I think her nose was broken, after. I don’t know.”

Heather stopped, blinking back tears. Becca waited.

After a moment, Heather continued. “She tried to say something to me, but they wouldn’t let her. Dad… just went with them. He didn’t argue. He didn’t say anything. I kept trying to tell the Enforcers they had the wrong people, but they wouldn’t listen.” Her last word broke off into a sob.

What could Becca say to any of that? She placed her hand over Heather’s and tried to ignore the thoughts creeping into her mind, the voice telling her that Heather’s parents wouldn’t have been arrested if they were innocent.

Guest Post

Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times
by Zoe Cannon

When I started writing in the dystopian world of The Torturer’s Daughter, I knew I didn’t want to write about changing the world. I wanted to write on a smaller scale, to explore what ordinary lives looked like against the backdrop of an oppressive regime that was a fact of life rather than an enemy that could be defeated. I wanted to write about characters overcoming totalitarianism not through epic battles, but through acts of everyday defiance.

But I also wanted their stories to matter. I wanted to write about ordinary lives, but not meaningless ones. It’s easy to make a story and a life feel meaningful when the hero is defeating the dystopian government and restoring the world back to sanity. It’s harder when your hero is the girl next door and instead of leading a revolution, she’s just trying to survive. At least that’s what I thought.

Except the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t true. It wasn’t harder, not really. It was just a matter of perspective.

Just like I planned when I started out, The Torturer’s Daughter isn’t about changing the world. It’s about how Becca changes. It’s about learning the ugly truth behind everything you once believed, and choosing to face that truth head-on rather than hiding from it. It’s about doing the right thing when it’s hard to tell what the right thing even is.

And that matters.

It matters because sometimes you don’t singlehandedly change the world. Sometimes you just... live. But that’s what the world is made of, isn’t it? People just living. It’s what every totalitarian country in the real world is made of. People who may not bring down the government, but who fight in other ways, smaller but no less important. Ordinary heroes. These are the people I’m writing about when I write in this dystopian world.

About Zoe Cannon

Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn't be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she'll read anything that isn't nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.


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17 comments:

  1. It's dystopian. That's why it intrigues me. I like the worlds authors create in dystopian as well as fantasy books.

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  2. that's my cup of tea...i love the story..
    thx u for the chance :)

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  3. The title's called The Torturer's Daughter. What's NOT intriguing about it! haha

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  4. I imagine it would be hard to be a Torturer's Daughter!
    I love Spring. It's when the cold and ice of winter melts away and flowers begin to bloom. The grass becomes green again. The birds chirp in the trees. And the weather warms, which is probably the very best part! So far, I have experienced many April showers. I can't wait for their inevitable consequence: flowers!
    Thanks for the giveaway and Happy Spring!
    mestith at gmail dot com

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  5. the name the cover and the idea

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  6. Love the gripping concept. Great cover too.

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  7. I think I am intrigued by the concept of just an everyday person and their imput and how you just live, and don't always change the world. and what your input may mean in changing the world and of course I would pick the book up at a book store because of thetitle to at least check it out to see if I wanted to read it..

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  8. The name is what first caught my eye. I recently read The Madman's Daughter and loved it, and this name sounded similar to it. And with all the secrets in it it does sound quite simliar!

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  9. The title drew me in but I added it to my TBR a while ago based on the synopsis, I'm just excited to see how everything turns out and what happens =)

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  10. I really like the idea of a book about a regular person in a dystopia. While I enjoy reading about heroes and heroines overthrowing the system, not everyone is able to start a resistance and topple the oppressive regime. What about the ordinary people?

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  11. I want to read about the heroine who fits this line - "and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong." Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book sounds great and I would love to win it!

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  12. Well, first of all, the name of the book intrigued me at first, but it sounds like a good story about finding yourself and doing what's right, which... I should probably read more of.

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  13. I love dystopian books in general, and this just seems like a good twist on the typical tale.

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  14. I entered your shower of books giveaway.
    In response to your question of
    What intrigues you about The Torturer's Daughter?
    The cover of this book grabbed my attention and
    then when I read the synopsis, it sounded like a
    book I would enjoy reading.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!

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  15. It looks pretty dark and interesting! Thanks!

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  16. I enjoy dystopian fiction and this sounds like an intriguing book. Thanks for the giveaway!

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Comment away!

By the way, this is an awards-free blog. I appreciate it though, really. :D

 
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