And Falling, Fly by Skyler White (review dark fantasy)
And Falling, Fly by Skyler White is a dark fantasy book about a “fallen angel of desire” who turns out to be a vampire. Not your typical vampire either. Damned and desperate to gain freedom from her curse, she continuously looks for the one whom she thinks might be able to free her.
And Falling, Fly is the debut work of Skyler White in the dark fantasy genre. The story is about Olivia, a fallen angel of Desire, and Dominic, a neuroscientist whose research into memory and brain chemistry whose research leads him to meet Olivia in the L’otel Matililide. At this “portal neither of this world or the next”, they meet where Olivia tries to convince Dominic that his “hallucinations” are memories from previous lives as well as being part of an ancient curse. Dominic is convinced that Olivia is delusional and that he can cure her of her belief that she is damned. This thought provoking story will lead you into unexpected areas as each try to prove to the other what is real and what is not at the same time they encounter something even more mysterious than being damned or research into science….they encounter the mystery of love.
Sounds pretty cool so far, right? I adore stories that blur the lines between mysticism and logic. I expected to love this one, but I freely admit, the writing style was not my cup of tea. I had a hard time reading it. I had to struggle at first to get into the story. Part of this is due also to the Olivia character. I found her hard to relate to as she seemed so cold and perfect, but full of so much despair and angst while so shallow at the same time. It took time for me to get to where I could not be so annoyed by it. Also, she seemed a bit lost on knowing who she was. It is hard to take this character seriously on her desire for freedom and to be normal when she has no real dreams or goals that make sense with her past.
I also felt like the fact that she kept shape-shifting involuntarily into whatever form was desirable by the person watching her at the time added to her loss of self. I figure this was intentional by the author, but again, it made it hard to connect with the character. I honestly felt like she did not know who she was or who she wanted to be except free from her hell of not being able to feel anything. However, Olivia is convinced that there has to be way out of her hell with the help of someone out there who can help free her from her prison of being unable to truly feel anything like pleasure or pain. Olivia desperately searches for this love while also feeding on those who desire her. She is a very unique version of a vampire for those who enjoy a twist on the concept. I admit freely that I found that concept interesting and wished it had been expanded a bit more as well as maybe giving Olivia more personality outside of her status as one of the damned.
Dominic’s burden was a bit more interesting. He is convinced he is having hallucinations which are interfering with his life. He has these visions of what some would term as being past life memories. These memories are what led him into his research into how to rid the brain of certain memories. It could be the key to his freedom from these hallucinations and memories. He doesn’t believe in the paranormal, but is convinced that anything supernatural springs from areas that science can fix with technology including those who believe they are damned or are vampires. I loved this attitude going up against the supernatural. I’ll leave it up to the reader to find out which of these two characters were in the right of whether it is a delusion or truth.
I will admit, this book is very different from what I was expecting. I will admit it was a thought provoking read on many levels and not what many would expect from its cover. A lot of philosophy and debate on what is real and what is not going by what humans (or other species or creatures) see and make of reality. However, the VERY lyrical poetic writing style made it a bit hard for me to get into. To be honest, it helped detract from the story as it was just too extreme at times. For me, that type of writing can be distracting when it is taken to certain extremes. So be warned that I have a certain bias against this book due to the writing style. Also be warned that the story is told in alternating point of views, first person from the female’s POV and third from the male’s point of view so if that is not your thing, you can avoid it. Despite that, I did enjoy certain aspects of the book including the world building and the complex nature and theme of the book so I will be checking out her next book, In Dreams Begin, as I am curious to see what Sklyer will focus on next.
Overall, the story is interesting, but just very dense and at times it can be confusing. Plus, I thought there were a few obvious plot holes that needed to be addressed, but I won’t go into too much detail so not to spoil it for future readers. Again, I had some issues with the writing style and it took me a few chapters to get into it enough to not want to stop reading. If it had not been for the unique concept for an urban fantasy, I probably would’ve stopped reading it. Also, I was kind of disappointed with the ending as it did not give me a good enough feeling that there was a big resolution in the payoff. However, I would still say it is worth a read as it will make you think. Recommend for fans of dark fantasy and urban fantasy who wish to have something a bit more intellectually filling than the typical vampire romance as nothing is simple or obvious.