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The Wilds | Reign and Ruin 1
by Jules Hedger
Coming home to New York in summer holidays is nothing short of torturous. Maggie's mother is officially the worst widow ever and her wayward uncle can't see past the heroin or the twisted pictures he paints. Lonely is normal and normal is becoming unbearable.
Plagued by nightmares and left behind to pick up the pieces of a fallen king, an opportunity of escape leads Cirrus to take a dangerous gamble; a gamble that snatches Maggie out of her uncle’s apartment and into a dangerous world of shifting sand and treacherous beauty.
Now Maggie must fight for a nation she never knew existed. But who can she trust when everything around her is melting like paint? Even more, the man she's fighting against is at once the captor and her savior, the villain and her friend. They could be each other's salvation or destruction, the choice is up to them...
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Starts off quite dramatic with the death of her uncle thanks to an overdose. His dealer Marty then tells Maggie that he was originally her uncle's imaginary friend, and because he painted him, he came to life. And all of his dreams and paintings live in a world called Palet, and now Maggie is the heir to the throne, the new Painter. In order to rule, Maggie has to go to Palet and complete the Reign Walk, a competition for leadership, a bit like hide and seek and capture the flag, against Cirrus who was originally one of the good guys but was driven mad by his nightmares. Against Cirrus's plans, Maggie drops off his floating fortress into The Wilds, where dreams have no constant shape, and the Reign Walk begins.
First, Cirrus displays his unfluence by sending his henchmen after Maggie. They pick her up at a train station, to bring her back to Cirrus and end the Walk before it had really began. The coal man on the train, first acting on the orders, later slips Maggie a knife and is the first to mention the Riders to her. However, Maggie gets off the train at a place called Lucky Creek, lead by the mayor Tyler. However, nothing is as happy as it may seem at first glance, because Tyler is actually a psycho who turns all his inhabitants into stuffed puppets -- which he also intends to do with Maggie. It's the coal man that helps Maggie reveal Tyler's true colors, but it's too late for her to flee. As Tyler has her on a table, ready to be cut open and stuffed with cotton, Cirrus descents from his cloud to safe her, but as he and Tyler get into a standoff, it's Maggies idea that literally breakes Tyler and his town, the whole dream, apart while also providing her with a chance to run like hell from Cirrus. The coal man hands her a backpack with some basics, but is killed by Cirrus before he can accompany her into the Wilds.
Next, Maggie steps into the desert and finds a man tied high on a pole. A devilishly handsome man who turns aout to be Cirrus's younger bastard brother, Lucan, and one of the Riders. Togther, they make their way through the desert until the finally reach a lighthouse, a helping dream that tries to help people who get lost in the desert. However, their host is killed shortly after their arrival by Cirrus's henchman from a rotten circus. Lucan is overpowered by a man as strong as his is dumb, and again it is Maggie herself who comes up with a risky idea to save her own ass. By luck, she kills the owner of the circus, and can free Lucan, who shoots the oaf. Leof, the owners manic nephew, they take as a hostage.
Getting more desperate by the second, Cirrus sends his most dangerous creation after Maggie -- the moth. However, as it finds them, Leof takes on the beast and gives Lucan and Maggie time to flee. However, they read a cliff, a pit, and the only way is down. Miraculously, they survive their fall, and share some passion before Lucan pulls away. There they meet Cassandra, one of the Riders, and togther they make their way towards Cirrus now grounded mansion for the showdown.
Lucan and Cirrus get into an argument over who is the better brother, for Maggie and in general, and Cirrus shoves him out the window. While he remains unscratched, it's the harsh event that Maggie needs in order not to fall under Cirrus's spell and just let him win. On the contraty, she manages to back him into a corner. Meanwhile, the Riders storm the front and get the house ready to be burned to the ground, and its owner right along with it. Just as Maggie is to take the watch from Cirrus, Lucan grabs her, and the necklace falls into Cirrus's hand -- he won, she lost. The house goes up in flames, but she's with the Riders now who promise to protect her, and help her gain back her throne. However, now Cirrus is healed, which makes him a far more dangerous opponent for the fights to come -- because he still wants Maggie as his queen.