and Falling, Fly
Regarding and Falling, Fly, all I can say is: Yes, the author can write. She can wield her wordsmith sword and create unnaturally long, grammatically correct sentences. But within these tortured words is a story about flat characters wallowing in angst and melodrama like professional Emo singers. It leaves much to be desired.
Olivia is a fallen angel of desire and a vampire. As an angel of desire, her body naturally changes to match the desires of the people she meets. As a vampire, she can only feed off people who desire or fear her. She dreams of love, a love that will free her and help her gain the wings she needs to escape her current hell. She believes her most current boyfriend Adam may be the one to save her, if only he will accept the truth of what she is. Things go terribly wrong, and she decides to escape to L’Otel Matillide, also known as Hell, an underground hotel in Ireland that houses the crazies and the damned of the world.
Dominic O’Shaughnessy is a neuroscientist who has been having memories of a past life in Medieval times. Convinced he has a mental illness and has not, in fact, been reincarnated, he has been tirelessly researching ways to block these memories. Eventually, he is forced to go to the place where he vowed he’d never return: Hell. He hopes to study the people there and finally gain some answers; he is petrified that the personal cost will be too high. When he meets Olivia, he is instantly fascinated by her belief that she is a vampire, but he cannot use her in his experiments because of his feelings for her. Olivia is equally curious about him, because for the first time, her body does not transform – his ideal is her true self. He also chooses to not act on his desire for her – another first. As they fall in love, they realize that it their love for each other that holds the answers to their deepest questions.
It took me over three months to get through the book simply because it was boring as heck. I felt like I was wading through a fog of pea soup. Each sentence is purposely difficult, as though complexity translates into literary beauty, or even literary worthiness. Yes, there are some very lyrical phrases. If I was feeling poetic and cliché, I might even call them hauntingly beautiful. But calling bacon “icy slices of porcine heaven” is a bit much, even on my most longwinded days. The laboriousness of the text also tends to create obscurity in scenes, which was too bad because I was disconnected enough from the characters and their situations not to bother rereading for clarification.
Ponderous writing aside, the story is generally uninteresting. Olivia is never fully formed as a character and revels in her unhappiness. Dominic is marginally better, as he tries to prove that people with supernatural abilities are actually ill, but he is not satisfying in his revelations. Most problematic of all, their love for each other did not pull me in the slightest. The ending does pick up quite a bit, and is marginally more interesting than the rest of the book. I can say with some reservation that I liked it. Olivia is shaken out of her self-involved haze for a little while, and, well, I was glad for her.
I say “literary” a few times in this review because the book is obviously trying to go beyond “mere” fiction and become a story that is unusually thought provoking and soul stirring. Instead, it feels very self-indulgent. I’d stay away from and Falling, Fly unless you are a glutton for punishment and/or believe that the only way to true literary fulfillment is to suffer needlessly the entire way through. Sometimes trudging through a concept is really the only way to reach book nirvana, but in this story, there is no such satisfaction. If you can’t tell, I did not enjoy reading and Falling, Fly. At all.