top of page

READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: Shades of the City by Danielle K. Roux

Welcome back to District City, a place haunted by a tragic past, ravaged by monsters, and divided into rival factions by mysterious aura Colors.

In the aftermath of the events at the Blue Embassy, murderous Calen plots revenge and uses his dark power to further his influence. New trials bring Alan and Kazuki closer together as they continue their quest to unlock the secrets of the city.

Mysterious newcomer, Tanith might have all the answers, if they can figure out how to get rid of the voices in their head.

As relationships are torn apart, sacrifices must be made to gain power over others to survive. In this city, the dead don’t stay dead, and dreams reveal fragments of truth. The world may have ended once, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again.

Danielle K. Roux’s exciting sequel to This Will Kill That, SHADES OF THE CITY, is out Tuesday, December first! Preorder your copy today:



Barnes & Noble

Parliament House Press

Be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR list!



The One Where Valen Hears a Very Old Story (10 years ago)

The first city was built by a murderer,” she began, “or so the story goes. Though many believe this story is true.”

“Um, those people are idiots,” Calen chimed in, smirking gleefully as he nudged the child beside him.

“Or they must really want to believe in something,” Tanith countered, pulling the blanket draped over them closer as a chilled wind drove through the clearing: The fire danced, small finger flames twisting upwards, grasping the air.

“May I continue?” their mother asked, her arms folded across her chest. Her form was filtered through smoke and flame, making her eyes glow brighter and her hair shimmer with sparks of crimson and amber. Her warm smile betrayed her softness towards Tanith and Calen. The fierce defender of the Red rebels loved her young children more than anything.

“Yes, Mother,” the pair chirped in unison.

“Once upon a time, there were two brothers. One killed the other.”

“Why?” Calen interjected.

“The narrator doesn’t tell why.” She gestured with her hands, conjuring shadows that played out the story on the other side of the flame: The silhouettes of two young men walking, side by side, one slightly taller with broad shoul ders, and a confident stride; the other slighter with a slower gait.

“Maybe they were fighting over something,” Tanith offered, voice barely above a whisper.

The scene shifted, and the two shadow boys stopped walking abruptly. They seemed to be shouting, gesticu lating wildly. The larger one drew a sword; the smaller one followed, but he was too late. A slash landed across his middle, and he vanished into nothing.

“What would they be fighting over?” Calen rolled his eyes. “There weren’t any cities yet, so there wasn’t anything interesting to do or to see or to fight over.”

“There were things to fight over,” Tanith argued. “There’s always something to fight over: food, shelter, pretty river rocks...”

“Blankets,” Calen grinned, tugging the blanket away from Tanith to demonstrate.

“Hey!” Tanith glared, yanking it back over them both. “Knock it off.”

“It may have been an accident,” their mother said, stifling a laugh at their bickering, as the dead shadow boy reappeared. He began to play-fight with his brother, the pair of them wrestling, throwing their heads back in laughter—unaware that beside them, the ground dropped off… down… down… down… into a pit of jagged rocks. The smaller one rolled too far, and he fell, vanishing after he hit the bottom. The larger shadow boy stood still and watched, unable to save him.

“That seems more likely,” Tanith whispered, their eyes wide and still.

“Regardless, one brother died, and the other was found guilty of his murder and banished.” Mother made a walking motion with her fingers, and the lone shadow boy started walking. His pace was slow, less confident than before.

“Banished?” Calen wondered out loud. The word had such a ring of finality to it. “For how long?”

“As long as he lived. He was meant to wander aimlessly across the world. For as long as he had breath.” “That’s not fair,” Tanith declared. “If it was just an accident...”

“What if it wasn’t?” Calen shivered. “Does that make it fair?”

Tanith didn’t answer him, they just kept watching the scene.

The shadow boy walked onward; his hair and beard grew longer, and he became taller. His stride was steady and confident once again. Then he stopped.

“After wandering for a time, he settled down and built the first city.”

Standing still, people flocked to the shadow man as small buildings took shape around him. More people appeared—crowds of shadows now. The buildings grew taller. He stood at the center, unmoving as though he was already a statue in a square.

“Okay, wait. Why did he build a city?” Calen frowned. “And how? If he had to wander, how would he be able to just stop wandering? That makes no sense.”

“There is quite a lot of wandering one can do in a city.” Their mother smiled, letting the shadow man walk again, this time through streets teeming with market stalls, through twisting alleys, and through doorways into small hidden gardens. Up staircases to the tops of roofs to look out on the landscape of peaks and valleys. To spires and towers. To squat one-room houses and temples that reached for the heavens.

“What happened to him after he built the city?” Tanith asked, their voice a quiet whisper.

“He lived a long life. Had many children and grand children and great-grandchildren. He founded a line of great kings. A dynasty.”

The shadow man sat on a throne at the top of a temple. Below him, each level was lined in thrones and filled with shadow people; all his descendants.

“Not bad for a murderer,” Calen said and smirked as the shadows faded away.

Tanith shushed him under their breath, but Calen shrugged, staring at the empty flames. He may have only been alive for ten years, yet he knew that he was already as doomed as both of the brothers in the story. His whole family was doomed. They’d been cursed since before they were born, and they hadn’t even done anything wrong. “Thanks for the story, Mother.”

“Now, get some sleep, my little ravens.” She kissed them both on the forehead and hugged them tightly. “We have another big day of wandering tomorrow.”



The One Where Raith Does Some Spooky Stuff (Saturday, 5AM)

Dying hadn’t hurt nearly as much as he’d wanted it to.

The blow had been so swift, he’d barely had time to register the meaning of what was happening. He felt the cut, a sharp sting, followed by numbness. He saw his body fall, but he got back up again, ready to continue the fight. Yet he had felt lighter—like he was suspended in water. And Rin was still standing there, her sword, her dress, and her hair sprayed with his blood. She’d dropped her sword.

Not by accident, or out of fear. She released her grip on the hilt and let it crash to the floor as a gesture of finality.

End scene.

It was then that he’d noticed his body was still lying on

the floor, face down... Or rather, chest down. His body was missing the head, so his face remained with that part, which had rolled some distance away: He remembered reading about people who had been beheaded, mostly deposed nobles from the distant past. With a sharp enough blade or a skilled enough wielder, it was said to be a quick and painless death. So painless, he’d not even noticed.


He wished it had hurt more than that.

He had always wanted to die a slow and agonizing death after losing some great campaign against an enemy. This one was fine, though. At least he died fighting—not from eating poorly cooked fish. But it would have been more dramatic if he’d been able to slip away gradually as he bled out in the center of the room. And he wished he’d had more time to speak some profound last words or confess some deep secret.

Most of all, he wished he’d been made to suffer. He deserved it, after all, and it would have felt so satisfying for everyone involved. Rin could have taken her time and done him in little by little. Slicing and dicing until there was nothing left of him, then pain and death would be a sweet relief.

Oh well. Rin did what she wanted—she always did— killing him with a clean blow to the neck. His life extin guished with one effortless slash of her blade.

Rin had always been a better fighter. Rin was faster and could predict his movements, sometimes even before he decided what to do. The only thing he had on her was being larger, taller, and more muscular: size could be intimidating psychologically. But Rin was immensely strong for her size, like one of those insects that could carry a fucking tree branch into its den.

She was also strong mentally. She didn’t fall for any of those regular tricks that most people did. She wasn’t afraid of him. At least not enough to prevent her from beating the c