London’s Lessons: Advice from an OTHERBORN protagonist
London, the main protagonist of OTHERBORN, has lived through a lot. Her father is a pit worker, which is about as low as you can get behind the walls. Her mother is hooked on city-issue booze. Her friends and her instincts are about all she has in the world, and even those will be tested to their limits. Most of what she has to teach can be found in the pages of her OTHERBORN journey, but I think if she could sum it up, she’d like the chance to share it again. So here, I’ll let her tell a bit of what she’s learned in her own words.
1. Big hearts need thick skins
Some people would describe me as rough around the edges. Most would just call me a bitch. But those who really know me, like did, like Rye— they know that I’m a lot softer on the inside than I’d ever let on. If I didn’t care so much, things wouldn’t hurt so bad. The truth is, I carry a bigger heart than most. It’s a lot to protect in a world like this one. I wouldn’t change it, even if I could, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to lay it on the line for every schmuck that comes along.
2. Follow your dreams wherever they may lead
I learned this one the hard way, but it bears repeating. There’s no denying the truth of who you are, and that person will always shine through in your dreams. You can fight it, suppress it, hell, you can even sedate it, but in the end, it’s going to come out. And all that time spinning your wheels will only set you back. Suck it up and live your truth out loud, let your dreams define you.
3. Pretty is skin deep but beauty shines from within
I wouldn’t call myself pretty, but I’m sure some guys would. Pretty is relative. Girls at my school who flour their skin to look as pale as possible think they’re being pretty. I just think they’re being ridiculous. What Rye sees in me, it’s not a pretty face. Especially when my face changes every night and he sees the coal black eyes and sharply slanted cheekbones of my Other. It’s something much deeper than that. Real beauty flows from the inside out, not the other way around.
4. Fear is a four letter word
I don’t do fear. I get scared, sure. But I never let it hold me back. There’s no room for fear in this world. Not behind the walls, not in the , and certainly not in the Astral. If I gave in to fear, I never would have written that song. I never would have kissed Rye. I never would have left the comfort of the walls. I probably wouldn’t have stopped at just a cut either. I’ve never been big on manners. Didn’t need them, growing up like I did. But if there’s one foul word that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, so that I’d rather swallow it whole than ever speak it out loud, it’s fear.
5. Real friends can’t be bought or sold
I choose my friends carefully. People have to prove themselves to me. They have to show me that there is something deep and loyal there, something I can trust in. I’ve made mistakes though. I’ve been fooled. And I’ve paid for every miscalculation. But here’s what sticks with me above all, real friends aren’t for sale. They can’t be bought or sold for any price. They’re there for reasons even they can’t explain half the time, and you can’t put a price on that kind of dedication.
6. Face value is cheap
We’re all more than we seem. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. Never take someone at face value alone. Weigh every word, every gesture, against the judgment of your own gut. Actions may speak louder than words, but motivations and intentions are always whispering behind the scenes, and that’s where the full truth of a person can be read. When you take a person at face value, you’re almost always sure to feel cheated in the end.
London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.
Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her.
What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future.
When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?