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Pub Date 20 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 08 Aug 2023

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In this captivating sci-fi debut, a nonverbal autistic woman refuses to stand by as her sexist, ableist, dogmatic society clings to a centuries-long conflict. 

Citadel, the only city on the planet Edalide, has a holy mission: exterminate the demons from the Flooded Forest. The unholy, vicious animals were a mistake made by their god that must be corrected.

Or at least, that’s what everyone’s been told.

When Olivia, a nonverbal autistic nineteen-year-old, has a chance run-in with a “demon,” she realizes that these beings are not vicious, animals, or unholy, but sentient people. Forever scarred by her mother’s legally sanctioned murder, and determined to prevent either side from losing more loved ones, Olivia embarks on a hazardous journey into the Flooded Forest where she faces flesh-eating predators, telekinetic zealot-warriors, and the demons of her own past.

Olivia’s quest for answers forces her to decide to either seek justice for both sides or continue the cycle of war, revenge, and death.

In this captivating sci-fi debut, a nonverbal autistic woman refuses to stand by as her sexist, ableist, dogmatic society clings to a centuries-long conflict. 

Citadel, the only city on the planet...

Marketing Plan

  • National reviews, features, and author interviews 
  • Sci-fi buzz mailing
  • Digital and print advertising campaign
  • Social media campaign
  • Bookseller and library show marketing
  • National reviews, features, and author interviews 
  • Sci-fi buzz mailing
  • Digital and print advertising campaign
  • Social media campaign
  • Bookseller and library show marketing

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798200836420
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 43 members

Featured Reviews

The first thing that I want you to know about Citadel is that Olivia is a bad ass protagonist. She is 19, nonverbal, autistic, brave, bold and the only person who is curious about the humanity of the demons her human peers have been taught to kill and exterminate based on an age old prophesy.

Olivia ends up having her lover killed and goes into the woods to avenge his death by better understanding who the demons are and what they want from humans. When she interacts with a couple of demons who do not kill her at first sight she realizes she can communicate with them telepathically. It is then that she learns there demons are more like humans than she realized- they have their own tribes, cultures, and values. When she proves her herself to be loyal to her demon friends she is tasked with rescuing a cub from the bondage of a monster. She manages to accomplish this amazing feat and returns to the Citadel with the intention of making peace between humans and demons. Ultimately, this results in her own imprisonment and an ending I wasn't expecting.

Bravo! What a brilliant exploration of relationship, communication styles, and the importance of de-stigmatizing neurodiversity. This is for sure a book I will read again and again. Thank you to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC of Citadel!

Citadel by C.M. Alongi was just absolutely fantastic. I loved it so much more than I thought I was going to. Not that I didn’t think I was going to like it. More like I was pleasantly surprised at the neurodivergent representation.

On the planet Edalide, Citadel is the only city that houses the human population. Their mission: to destroy the demons that have plagued their people for as far as they can remember. Or at least, that is what the Church tells people to believe. Olivia, a non-verbal, autistic, 19-year-old, doesn’t believe everything that the Church says. After a chance encounter with a friendly demon, she is determined to discover the truth of their existence. Entering the forest by herself, she finds herself in the middle of a war between the humans and the so-called demons and must decide if she wants to continue the cycle of revenge and violence, or somehow broker peace between the two species.

I was absolutely delighted to find that the main character of this book is a non-verbal autistic character. The representation was just top tier, and also it made for a really interesting story. I think that Alongi did a fantastic job with the dialogue between human characters despite Olivia’s inability to verbally communicate. Olivia herself is an amazing character. She is a scientist at heart, so her curiosity really kept the story moving along. She’s compassionate, smart, and does what she wants to do even though her fellow humans think she’s weird or a “freak.” I really admire that about her.

Some other characters that deserve mentioning are Riley and Ormus. I think that they are great foils for each other. Riley is an aspiring medic who doesn’t care that his dream is considered “a woman’s job.” He wants to change his world for the better by going against what is expected of him as a man. Ormus is Olivia’s father and the captain of the city guard. He is a traditionalist who just wants the best for his family, even if that means putting their heads down and following the traditions of the city. I loved both of these characters in different ways. The only gripe I had was that I wish that I could have spent more time with them in order to really flesh them out.

The pacing at the very beginning of the book was a little slow for me. I found it a bit difficult to get into the story because there was just so much exposition to establish the rules of a brand new planet and world. It can be difficult to introduce readers into a world that is completely unlike Earth. However, after all of that is explained to the reader, it picks up significantly. If you can get past the exposition, the world that Alongi has created is rich and full of life. It makes the rest of the story flow much easier.

The ending took me by surprise. Not in the sense that I didn’t know what was going to happen. It just ended so abruptly. I kept trying to turn the page on my ereader, but there just wasn’t any more. I think that it would be safe to assume that this is going to be a series. If it isn’t then I will be very disappointed. I still have so many questions.

There is so much stuff that I loved about this book. The characters were lovable and realistic. They had dimensions, so nobody was fully good or fully bad. I think that that makes for the best characters. The story itself was so interesting, and it was told through the lens of a neurodivergent character. It really gave the book a little extra spice that made me devour page after page. I loved the way that Alongi had Olivia communicate with the other characters. I won’t spoil it, but it is incredibly cute when she realizes that she is able to talk with everyone.

I’m giving this book 4 stars, only because the pacing was a bit slow at the beginning, and the ending was a bit abrupt. Other than that this book is perfect.If you love fantasy and neurodivergent characters, this is the book for you!

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A 19 year old nonverbal autistic woman who lives in a city called Ctiadel. Olivia boyfriend gets killed and goes into the woods to avenge his death . When she is dicovered by demons who do not kill her , she realizes she can communicate with them telepathically. She manages to returns to the Citadel with the intention of making peace between humans and demons.

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Citadel is a wonderful book with beautiful world building. Badass female MC who is also neurodivergent? Yes please and thank you! It read as much more of a fantasy at the beginning of the book, and then there is suddenly sci-fi thrown in there. Although maybe I should’ve seen it coming a la Styx’s “Come Sail Away”.

“I thought that they were angels
But to my surprise
We climbed aboard their starship
We headed for the skies.”

There were so many complex characters, and then there was Augustus, an incredibly one-dimensional, evil man with absolutely zero redeeming qualities. I can’t stop thinking about Riley, Olivia, and Ormus.
I thought the ending, though maybe a little rushed/abrupt, was also rather perfect. I don’t have any suggestions of how to successfully add just a couple more chapters to adjust speed of the ending. And it’s a really good stopping point.
I can’t wait for a book 2.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for my ARC in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

"Citadel" is such a wildly cool book. From the nonverbal autistic-coded main character to the surprise Sci-Fi, I enjoyed reading this one so much. Olivia, the main character, is a freaking badass. She's curious, intelligent, brave, and stubborn. I love her and would die for her.

The story of "Citadel" follows Olivia and her people in Citadel, a walled town that is in opposition to these demons that occupy the surrounding forest. After the killing of her boyfriend, Elias, Olivia goes into the forest alone and discovers that the demons are not what the people of Citadel have believed them to be. I don't want to spoil anything but Olivia's discovery and forest journey is so freaking cool and well done. It easily could have resulted in Olivia being perfect and never doing anything wrong but she struggles and things go wrong and so, it's so gratifying when she does succeed.

I am so excited for the next book and will definitely be picking it up when it's announced.

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Citadel was surprising, in a great way. All I really knew going in was the main character Olivia, is autistic and the genre is sci-fi. I was (metaphorically) on the edge of my seat throughout the book. I love Olivia's character, I loved that she was autistic and nonverbal. The moment when she realized she had judged the chimera the same way the other humans judged her for her apparent inability to communicate was profound and very impactful. I found the story to be original, and well done, mixing sci-fi and dystopian futuristic in a fantastic way. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book!

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