Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Book Review: Dragging Wings by Jennifer Caress

Jennifer Caress’ new novel, Dragging Wings, is a hypnotizing blend of dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror that is near impossible to put down once you start reading. The novel’s main strength is its fantastical characters, who are all wonderfully unique and who the reader comes to care so much about. Not only that, but Caress’ story is surrounded with an air of mystery that adds to the ethereal quality of the book.

Dragging Wings features several different stories, though each are anchored by an over-arching storyline about alien conspiracies and the secret society that seeks to stop them as well as two characters named Sammy and Frankie. In each story Caress does an amazing job at making us care for each new character in a short amount of time, even if a character only appears for a chapter. Besides the memorable duo of Sammy and Frankie, there’s the wounded and confused Dandi whose past just keeps haunting her, the stern and lonely Thomas Manner who opens the book with a bang, the intriguing Iliad Strange with all his tricks, the brave Bodhan who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and so many, many more! Each new character is a delightful discovery and you wish that they were actually real so that you could befriend them.

Each story offers something new, but every one goes back to the principles of sharing, caring and love. Without those things, as you will see in the book, people tend to fall apart. Some stories skew on the more surreal, while others contain a slowly creeping dread and still others feature a more sci-fi feel, but all seem to end in the conclusion that individuality must be celebrated and people should love on another no matter their differences. Don’t be fooled, though…this book is far from being a touchy-feely love fest. There are some sinister things that happen here and many people lose themselves to the darkness rather than finding love in the light. Dandi must (literally) fight the demons haunting her, Bodhan loses his sister and his journey is fraught with peril and people who are trying to kill him and Sammy and Frankie try to come to understand what is happening around them.

The atmosphere of the story is very mysterious. We are never told much about the secret society and the alien conspirators it is trying to battle. One thing is clear, though, that if you join the fight for either side it will open your eyes and change your life. The main setting of the quaint town of Arcacia also lends to the air of mystery and fantasy…though in appearances the town seems like any regular ol’ place. The unique characters and strange stories make it feel otherworldly, though.

Dragging Wings is an entirely unique book that will appeal to the freaks ‘n’ geeks that are different but stand by who they are. It spellbindingly blends horror, dark fantasy and sci-fi into an irresistible mixture of ethereal fiction. I hear Jennifer Caress has a previous novel, called Perverted Realities, that features the characters of Sammy and Frankie and if Dragging Wings is any indication, it should be just as enjoyable!

Dragging Wings is available on Amazon.

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