Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review: and Falling, Fly by Skyler White


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 cost?

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'OtelMathillide- 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.


First off, let me say that the acquisitive and shallow part of me ( I must be part valkyrie) loves this cover. It's so pretty and honestly it represents the book rather well, I think, which is unfortunately rare in books now days it seems. Also, note the title. It's unique and right away you know that the author's writing is going to be different.

Let me just say that this is not a kick butt action Urban Fantasy novel. It is a dark fantasy and as such ( in my opinion) is more about the journey than the destination. The story itself is more a compilation of themes and probing questions than a real story of vampires and angels. Honestly, if it was only a story of vamps and angels and mythological creatures, it wouldn't be able to stand up to criticism. There are just too many things that don't stay true to the apparent rules of the world and too many things left unexplained or that just don't make sense. However, this book isn't as much another vamp story in a genre saturated with them. It is a story of desire. Of despair. Of hope when there is no reason to. Of getting what you want versus what will make you happy. It's a journey of self discovery and asks the question of "why are we here?"

I love the way desire as a theme was handled in this book. We often associate desire with evil, with the fall, with sin, but this novel points out the oft times overlooked truth that desire is ultimately what drives us, to good or to ill. For example, if you were born in desperate poverty you may desire to grow up and have money so that you never have to feel hunger and lack again. You would then try harder in school than those that aren't motivated by the same driving desires as you are and would aim for college and beyond that a good job and amassing of financial success and your likelihood of reaching your goal is probably much greater than the kids who did not desire it as much as you did. On the other hand, we can be ruled by our desires to the point of destructive behavior. Just because you desire to be numb and drink to achieve it does not mean that you will be happy just because you have what you thought you wanted.

The characters in the story, most specifically Dominic and Olivia face such a dilemma thought they don't really realize it. They have both been striving for something they desire above all else, but when they get what they want will they find the peace they so desperately seek?

The story is often surreal and feels more like you've entered a strange dream than a solid reality, but the characters felt real to me. I cared what happened and I hoped against hope that there could be a happy ending for them. The writing itself is a bit heavy handed at times. I get that it's mood writing meant to set a certain feel and it does, but there were many times when more could be said with less and Olivia's angsty narrative often felt as if she were talking in circles. Though the writing wasn't as tight as it could be the fact that the characters were well done and made me care kept me coming back to the story to see how things would turn out for them.

The ending was a bit confusing and I honestly wondered at one point how we got there and what exactly had happened and was happening. That was slightly distracting and could have been handled better, in my opinion. There was one truth that I was able to see in the end, though, that made it bittersweet and helped to satisfy me and that's what really counts.

If you're a fan of dark fantasy and want to take a trippy ride filled with mythological creatures and neuroscience then you should add and Falling, Fly to your collection. I believe the author has talent and potential and I look forward to seeing her hone her craft and clean up her work more in the future.

In the end, there were several plot holes and things that just got confusing, but the story stayed true to the themes that it was trying to develop and the mood it was trying to convey and I felt it was a journey worth taking.

I give and Falling, Fly a solid B as my final grade. I appreciate that Ms. White wasn't afraid to try something new and different and she blended two ostensibly unblendable things like mythology and neuroscience and she did it surprisingly well. Kudos to Ms. White for her success there.

11 comments:

Wendy said...

A great review, K! I had such a hard time reading this book, it's definitely a very dark, odd story.

The Queen B said...

Thanks sweets, though I'm not even going to ask who K is. ::taps foot:: I did enjoy this book. It was a journey and there could have been more answers, but it was very provocative and romantic and not in the usual way. You gotta like that :P

Sparklybearsy said...

ohhh im intrigued now, i think i need to read this book! ive heard about this author on twitter. Must check it out =)

great review hun!!

The Queen B said...

@Sparklybearsy Thanks babe! It's definitely trippy and surreal but that's cool, ya know? It goes places you weren't expecting to go and you're along for the ride. You'll have to check it out and tell me what you think :P

Wendy said...

Er, B. I MEANT B. Carry on..

The Queen B said...

LOL!

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I'm having a hard time getting to this. Olivia annoys me and it is trying to be dark but isn't really.

The Queen B said...

KB- It is angsty and heavy but I think that it is dark. Dominic was probably a more interesting character than Olivia, but she does change by the end. Though, the ending was a bit foggy on a few things...

Has said...

I have this book on my wishlist - and your review sold me on getting it on my next splurge;
I like the fact its different from the usual UF fare and I am open to that.

The Queen B said...

Has- It's not actiony like Kate Daniels and Mercy, but it's heavily atmospheric. It has it's strengths and it's just very different. It's slower, but I think it was worth the read.

Dannie said...

Glad you liked it some. I personally couldn't get very far in...wasn't a fan of Olivia. The titles cool though.

 
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