Imperfect is the eleventh novel in the Lower Knight timeline, by Andy Wright. It bridges the gap between the Emergence and the Expansion Eras and follows the events that close out the Sky Highway Saga (taking place two years later). It was self-published on Createspace in 2012.
Cassandra's past is, to put it mildly, unconventional. She's hidden herself in the mountains, away from cities and anyone who might know who she is. But, with the world political climate heating up, she soon has incredibly powerful individuals trying to get her attention.
An empire has put a many-century-long war on pause. Nations prepare in the calm, not expecting it to last. A small but powerful cult grows, flaunting a deadly armament long-condemned by their parent order.
Soon, there won't be many places left to hide in.
Imperfect is a science fiction/fantasy cross-over novel taking place in a setting of strange inventions and complex politics. Advanced technology exists alongside powerful practitioners of ancient arts, and Cassandra’s life gets far more unconventional and complicated when she finds herself part of particular order, that of the Lower Knights.
Setup and Plot SummaryEdit
Imperfect has a parallel-timeline plot structure. Every odd chapter takes place in "present day," in the year 1415 of the world's timeline. Every even chapter takes place in Cassandra's past, outlining the key events that shaped who she is. In the present-day timeline, Cassandra and her friends refer to her as "Cass," while in the past timeline she and most people refer to her as "Cassandra."
Present Day Timeline
Cass has friends in powerful military and government positions around the world, especially in the Natoas Empire. Rumors flare up about a strange, powerful device designed to cause a massive change in the world's climate (either stopping the Elements or removing the Great Cloud). At the same time, Cass has a dream that refers to this device in a way she could not have simply imagined up, and as a result the emperor of the Natoas empire fears she's being targeted by powerful enemies.
This leads to her being sent into training to become a Lower Knight. This angers many people, especially those who do not trust Cass's kind, the Zuukai .
Cassandra is a genetically engineered slave, specially trained to be a high-class escort for the elite aristocracy. Such slaves are called Zuukai . The story begins with her training, revealing that it was exceptionally difficult because she was special ordered as a "custom imperfect." Zuukai have been differentiated from normal humans because they are physically and intellectually perfect, so it is both expensive and risky for Cassandra's manufacturers to create her.
She escapes from her owners and tries to make a life for herself, believing she can hide in human society because of her designed imperfections. The struggles that come from having no identification lead her to obtain a living through criminal activities. She never can escape the identity that most of the world perceives about her, though: that she's an artificially-grown sex slave and bodyguard for the rich.
- Cass/Cassandra: main character
- Nat: emperor of the Natoas Empire
- Ray: bounty hunter, Cass's oldest friend
- Headmaster Cignisterman: master Zuukai trainer
- Kwon: Nat's executive assistant
- Steph Belandar: one of Cass's best friends
- William Carpenter: former Lower Knight colonel who went rogue