Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Book Review: And Falling, Fly by Skyler White
And Falling, Fly is a beautifully poetic work by author Skyler White. I first became acquainted with Skyler through Women in Horror Month and her intriguing interview made me want to check out her novel.
And let me say, as much as I was impressed by her interview I was doubly impressed by And Falling, Fly!
The description from the back cover:
In a dark and seedy underground of burned-out rock stars and angels-turned-vampires, a revolutionary neuroscientist and a fallen angel must pit medicine against mythology in an attempt to erase their tortured pasts…but at what price?
Olivia, vampire and fallen angel of desire, is hopeless…and damned. Since the fall from Eden, she has hungered for love, but fed only on desire. Dominic O’Shaughnessy is a neuroscientist plagued by impossible visions. When his research and her despair collide at L’Otel Matillide – a subterranean hell of beauty, demons and dreams – rationalist and angel unite in a clash of desire and damnation that threatens to destroy them both.
In this fractured Hotel of the Damned, Olivia and Dominic discover the only force consistent in their opposing realities is the deep, erotic gravity between them. Bound to each other finally in a knot of interwoven freedoms, Dominic and Olivia – the vision-touched scientist and the earthbound angel, reborn and undead – encounter the mystery of love and find it is both fall…and flight.
And Falling, Fly is captivating and masterfully written by author Skyler White. In fact, writing is so fluid, graceful and imaginative that I just couldn’t put the novel down! I am usually one that loathes too much romance in books I read, but I actually enjoyed the love story between the two leads and it fit quite well into the over-arching story. With elegant prose, amazingly complex characters, intriguing forays into neuroscience, magical surroundings and even some nice philosophical and religious ponderings, and Falling, Fly is a wondrous book to have the pleasure to read!
Of course, this is a dark fantasy novel so besides the love story it features its fair share of bloody action – usually revolving around a clan of vampire sisters (whom Olivia belongs to). Their beauty is sharply contrasted against their ferocity as they feed on others’ desire and fear. In actuality, these vamps are actually fallen angels, but plenty of other demons haunt the pages (and other characters) of the book. The novel also takes place in a hotel otherwise known as Hell run by a kindly old man named Gaehod. Here he tries to help those that have fallen, but most don’t want the assistance and are content to do nothing but to waste away their eternity there.
I loved White’s description of the otherworldly L’Otel Matillide – it’s unlike any other Hell I’ve ever read about. Instead of a gigantic pit of fire, the Hell in and Falling, Fly is quite well-appointed and set up like a hotel. Though deep underground, it has a garden (complete with an apple tree and a serpent) with a river running through it, a night club where “guests” can indulge their every desire and endless rooms to explore. Sure, it might sound more like heaven, but it is a self-imposed prison for the lost and forsaken. There are also achingly beautiful descriptions of the Irish countryside, and White’s writing style and voice brings anything she describes to vivid life!
Like the setting, the story is just as complex. The backstory of Dominic being a “Reborn” (or one that is reincarnated but is cursed to remember his past lives) and trying to block his memories with neuroscience was extremely interesting. I also like how this tied into the ending of the book and how his desire to lose his memories threatened to defeat him in the end. The backstory of Olivia is just as thought-provoking – she desired to be loved and accepted just as she is so that she might re-gain her angel wings.
From its sophisticated, intelligent writing style to its compelling characters to its reinvention of vampire lore, And Falling, Fly had me hooked from page one. It’s a book that’s hard to put down once you start reading and extremely rewarding once you reach its end.
And Falling, Fly is a gorgeously penned dark fantasy novel that has piqued my thirst for more novels in this vein from Skyler White. It’s the perfect novel for hopeless romantics, sinners, saints and those in the mood for a completely different vampire novel.
Order it on Amazon!