‘No. Just a lot of sand. It’s kind of orangish-gold, with hints of pink, and I can see tiny clouds of it floating above the ground, like . . . like smoke.’

‘Piled up in lots of hills?’

‘Yes, exactly! And it’s beautiful.’

Thorne snorted. ‘If this is how you feel about a desert, I can’t wait until you see your first real tree. Your mind will explode.’

– Cress and Captain Carswell Thorne, Cress