Yin-Yang

yinyang-ebook-revised200

Sensitives live, terrified, on the edge of survival in North America: mages want sensitives, but no one ever comes back to explain why. Mage society is based around owning a sensitive, who provides more power to use as well as doing the housework and being available for transformation. But not all mages agree with the system, and not all sensitives are willing to just give up…

An urban fantasy novel about power and freedom and trust

Mages in North America seem to have it all – typically from well-off families, and able to manipulate their environment in ways most of the world would never believe. They don’t even have to bother with the mundane details of life like housework, thanks to their sensitives, who also make a useful source for extra magical energy. After all, sensitives have no use for it themselves, and if mages weren’t meant to make use of it, then the sensitives would obviously have some way to prevent that. That a mage can transform a sensitive physically, with no restrictions beyond overall mass and basic biological viability, whereas magic tends not to work directly on any other living thing, is only further proof. And look at the way they live on their own, barely a step above animals. It’s better for them to belong to a mage.

Sensitives in North America live on the edge of society and survival – typically so paranoid they avoid hospitals and anything else that could lead to being tracked, many of them with little or no education and no legal identity or existence. Mages exist, and mages want sensitives for some reason, but no one ever comes back to explain what that reason is. Waiting every day for the hunters to notice them doesn’t lead to much motivation or hope for the future. And once they’re captured, they’re the property of someone with a terrifying amount of power over them. Anything is better than capture.

Mages are born to be the masters, and sensitives are born victims. Or are they?

Jax’s life is turned upside-down when he’s caught by the hunters and sold to a mage. Andreas is still mourning for his previous sensitive, though, unconsciously creating a difficult standard for Jax to live up to, all the more so while still struggling to come to terms with this new reality as Andreas’ sensitive.

A runaway sensitive isn’t what Van expects at the mental health centre. Is this a hunter trap, set for him and the rest of the Donovan family by the hunters? The hunters would, after all, love to see them cross the line openly and finally do something they can be charged with. Either way, Miranda’s genuinely in trouble, and he can’t just abandon her to it.

Snatching a sensitive out from under the hunters and hiding her is odd behaviour for a mage – but then, Catherine is an odd mage, living in disgrace in the old servants’ quarters of her grandmother’s house, responsible for cooking and housework. Lila owes Catherine her freedom; is there a way to help Catherine achieve her own, and at what price?

Tension is building between traditionally-minded mages and those advocating change; the Donovans and their allies are increasingly active in trying to improve life for free sensitives and protect tame ones. Then hunters find a copy of Van’s book about mages and sensitives… in the hands of a free sensitive. With charges of sedition and immorality against Van, for writing unbiased observations rather than accepted “truth” and for allowing it to reach free sensitives, the outcome of this hearing is going to have consequences far beyond his own fate.

*** Yin-Yang includes a small amount of profanity and no graphic sex or on-screen violence. However, sex and gender roles and relationships within the mage/sensitive subculture are non-traditional in mainstream North American terms. The key criterion in a primary relationship is not relative sex or gender, but the pairing of mage and sensitive; given the transformation of sensitives by their mages, physical sex is non-absolute for a sensitive, and gender identity can vary as in anyone else. ***

*** The way mages treat sensitives is extremely varied and, in some cases is outright abusive. The struggle against that is pretty much the point of the book. If you will be triggered by this, please, don’t read Yin-Yang! ***

Find Yin-Yang on: Smashwords and various ebook software platforms!

Find it on Wattpad, Scribble Hub, and (soon) Royal Road! (Any of these is a great way to leave me comments – I’m more consistently on RR and SH.)

Find it right here on this very site, vanilla HTML that will come up fine on any browser! (Hand-crafted by me. Please let me know about any issues.)

Print version via Lulu.com available! No, I can’t get the price any lower – it’s already at cost.

But please, if you do decide to read it, give me something in return: feedback. Here, any other site it’s on, email me, whatever you like. If you share it with friends, ask them to do the same. That’s the only price, and it’s a request, not an up-front fee.

Original ebook release: 9 May 2014

print cover

print cover

2 Comments

  1. I am so glad I stumbled across this site. I had your old one bookmarked, and was disheartened to find it was abandoned. I have wanted to reread YingYang , oh for the 4th or 5th time, lol.
    There are a handful of books that have implanted themselves into the core of my mind, and this book is one of them. I fell in love with your world building and character development. I do keep hoping against hope that someday you decide to write a sequel, but in the meantime, I’ll be satisfied with another reread.

    • Steph Shangraw

      Thank you! That’s about the most rewarding response I can think of to something I created and characters that matter deeply to me!

      prysmatic.com isn’t exactly abandoned, it’s still mine… I just wanted to create something a bit more clearly focused and better-organized. :-) It should be redirecting straight here, could you let me know if that failed?

      As far as sequels, nothing is impossible, but I have a very long list of other projects at various stages that I really want to complete before I tackle anything new. There are other characters waiting for their turn in the sunlight. Or moonlight. Or spotlight. :-)

      I’m glad you found it again! And thank you so much for letting me know. The hope that it will be enjoyed by others is the only motivation for all the extra work of polishing and publishing the stories I write for fun!

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