Releases March 2, 2010
In a dark and seedy underground of burned-out rock stars and angels-turned- vampires, a revolutionary neuroscientist and a fallen angel must put 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 Mathillide-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 fractures 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 earth-bound angel, reborn and undead-encounter the mystery of love and find it is both fall...and flight.
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Cover Thoughts: This cover is incredibly eye-catching with the female cover model portraying Olivia, the heroine, to near perfection. I especially love the stone outline of wings in the background. Her entire look is ghostly and intriguing, leaving the reader with questions and a curious desire to discover the answers.
Single Title/Series: This is Book One in The Harrowing Series but can be read as a stand alone novel.
Why I Read It: I was offered an Advanced Review Copy by Skyler White.
AND FALLING, FLY is not an easy read. Its a twisted, layered plot that has you continually questioning the sanity of its characters. Are they really fallen angels turned vampires? Does the hero truly recall dozens of lost lifetimes and lost loves? Or are they all as delusional as they claim to be? Am I delusional for believing them? Am I being tricked? All these are questions I asked myself repeatedly from page one to the very last sentence. And one question still lingers: Was any of it even real?
Also, this book takes commitment with a capital C. On numerous occasions I dropped the book, willing to give up and walk away from this supposed "novel". I couldn't connect to the characters. I couldn't even figure out what the hell was going on! But I stuck with it, determined to figure out the confusing mystery laid out in this complex pattern of words and phrases. The author wanted to convey something to me. And while I don't claim to be smart enough to know for a fact that I took away from AND FALLING, FLY exactly what the Ms. White intended, I do believe that I took at least one thing from her incredible imagination and that is that love can, and does set us free.
Olivia Wright is a vampire, cast from heaven to be the angel of desire - desire in corporeal form for others to covet but never desire for herself. Molded and shaped into a being to satisfy other's appetites, Olivia is sickened by their lust-fulled gaze that forever keeps her from seeing her true native face. All she sees it what they want and while their cravings allow her to momentarily fill the void of her everlasting numbness with their blood, it does not provide for her the love that she seeks and that of which would ultimately set her free. Now, filled with self-loathing and damned for eternity, Olivia has given up on her one and only hope: The loophole that would return her wings so that she may be able to once again fly. That dream is now lost and all that remains is Hell. But Hell is home - an inverted hotel deep beneath the mystery-seeped soil of Ireland. There her sisters reside. There she can wallow in her numbness and escape the cloying eyes of the surface and the mortals that inhabit it.
However, Hell is the last place Dominic O'Shaughnessy ever hoped to see again. A neuroscientist searching for for the means to block memories from the remembrance capabilities of the human mind, Dominic's struggle has him checking back into the dreaded L'Otel Matillide - Hell and the hotel of the damned. There he hopes to acquire research subjects that are consumed by delusion for that's what he believes the guests of Hell to be - delusional. With combined brain scans and an experimental drug, Dominic hopes to cure them of their illnesses while simultaneously curing his own.
Dominic, a man of strict science-based logic, is plagued by memories - memories that he's rationally convinced himself to believe as simply being an illness that needs a cure. Since he turned eighteen he's had these strange memories that weren't made in his lifetime. He's loved, lost, had children, been white and black, has died and been reborn time and again. Nine years ago he came to Hell to understand his infliction and was told by the owner that he's cursed - cursed as the Reborn: a mortal forever to be reincarnated. But Dominic cannot - will not - believe that he's cursed. He doesn't believe in curses, he believes in science and science is telling him that he has a disease, one that needs to be cured so that he can finally be sane. Hopefully the inhabitants of Hell can give him the data he needs to find his desperately needed cure.
Within minutes of Dominic's arrival in Hell, his entire being lights up when one particularly beautiful woman arrives soon after. Ushered immediately from the lobby by the irritatingly enlightened owner, the beauty first makes eye contact with Dominic and little does he know that this moment starts him on a irreversible path towards a surprising outcome. One that the present Dominic would never believe.
Olivia is just as intrigued by the man in the lobby as he is with her. She's even more intrigued when he visibly restrains his desire for her. No human, male of female, has been desirous of Olivia and not acted upon it in some way. Even more intriguing is that his desire does not change her body to conform to his appetites. He finds her natural form beautiful and that in and of itself deserves her attention. But there's a distinctly different situation in Dominic's case that impacts his reaction to Olivia and that is that he knows she's a vampire, an angel of desire, and he's not afraid of a woman that to him is clearly delusional. He simply can't fear what he doesn't believe for his scientific mind will rationalize the anomalies as just that, anomalies. But Dominic can't rationalize his feelings for Olivia.
Woman have always been a mystery to Dominic and one better left unsolved. But a part of Dominic also fears falling in love because his disease, his delusions, have shown him the pain of heartache and he does not wish to live it again in this reality. Olivia, however, is not easily avoided and while Dominic has distinctly told her that he can't use her in his research because of her emotional affect on him, she's quite persistent. And really, Dominic can't stay away from her either. She fascinates him on a level beyond even his beloved research and against his better judgement, Dominic falls in love with Olivia.
In the moment that Olivia is given up all hope that she'll find salvation, Dominic gifts her with his. For the first time Olivia feels sensation, emotionally and especially physically. Dominic's kiss, his touch is felt by her and Olivia finds herself consumed by her own desire. She desires Dominic. But this desire eclipses the physical and while that is surely a part of it, beyond that they each desire the hearts of the other, their passion, their souls. But it all comes at a price and that price is sacrifice. Will it be too much? Now that they've each finally unburdened themselves with their delusions and embraced each other in love, can they let go?
This is a difficult review and I just know I'm not doing the book justice. There is so much going on, so many concepts tested and destroyed that its almost impossible to describe it sufficiently. Instead, I've focused on the romance which is what I loved most the about the novel. The romance is passionate and while its not one's typical romance by any means, in fact its the most different of any I've previously read, its still the romance that's the pulsing heart of the novel.
Again, AND FALLING, FLY is not an easy read but if you can commit yourself to the novel and push through the initial confusion, the end is worth it. The novel makes you question who we are, what we're capable of and that delusional or not, we're all deserving of love and the strength to fall with the hope of flying.
Smexy Books: 3.5/5
Fang-tastic Books: 4.5/5
That's Queen Bitch To You: B