Friday, March 1, 2013
Me on Let the Sky Fall
Author: Shannon Messenger
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)
Vane has no idea how he survived the Category 5 tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the dark-haired girl who's swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is. Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She's also a guardian, Vane's guardian, and has sworn an oath to protect him. Even if it means sacrificing her own life. When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra's forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim, the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand, but unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them but the forbidden romance that's grown between them.
Let the Sky Fall is mysterious and enthralling, lush with power and danger. So important is the need to discover the truth, the need to prove oneself worthy, and the desire to survive. Connections twist their way around the pair, known but forbidden. There are whispers on the wind, brushing at them, pushing past them, telling them something is coming and they should be prepared for the worst.
An under-written, in my opinion, mythological creature is the sylph, the air elemental, containing the power to command the various winds and breezes that circle the world. Since they are under-written about, like other creatures that control the four elements, the sylphs in this book are so unique and different they make the book stand out as something new. Combined with the history and culture established by the author, as well as the different types of winds, they were possibly the most compelling part of the book for me. Air and wind, they're such normal everyday occurrences, but what if they could be controlled?
The danger in this book is very immediate. A precarious situation from the start, the author doesn't beat around the bush and instead introduces the reader to the tension almost immediately. Audra, also, doesn't beat around the bush with Vane. Someone is coming for them, possibly to take them, possibly to kill them, and so Vane is not-so-gently shoved head-first into a world he doesn't know and a battle he isn't prepared for.
Chapters alternate between points of view, showing the readers both Vane and Audra. The learning and the knowing, the discovering the truth and the fear of being found, the future in Vane and his powers and the past in Audra and the secrets she keeps. The two come together and need to rely on each other, hopefully without pride getting in the way.
Vane has attitude, snarky and sarcastic guy attitude, and it works well compared to Audra's prideful fear and stubbornness. He has a connection to the wind that reaches back into a past he can't remember, and he discovers he's more than he thought, that he's not what he thought, that there's more out there waiting for him. But does he want it? He wants Audra, he craves more than the simple connection of constantly seeing her in his dreams. Now he knows her, but he also knows what's at stake, and his pride swells at the chance of becoming stronger just for her. It's also for him. If he doesn't grow, if he doesn't survive, then what was the point?
Audra is a frightened, broken girl, unwilling to expose a part of their shared past to Vane. She doesn't want to be hated or feared by him. In a way, a complicated way, she likes him, but her mission draws a line in the sand between them. Teach him, train him, make him learn, but don't fall for him. Getting close isn't an option. And the secrets she keeps, and there are a fair amount, will only serve to hurt him in the end. Her pride and her fear, her massive stubbornness, completely block the way. She can be compassionate, she can seem so young and fragile, but when it comes to her flaws being exposed she can get volatile.
Something is chasing after Vane, someone who craves power and control. There is a saying about absolute power, that it will always corrupt those who attempt to possess it. There can be power, but there must also be peace and compassion, sense and reason. Violence will never be the answer.
Neither Vane nor Audra are perfect. Both have their issues and their mistakes, the desire to hide the bad parts of themselves from the other. Imperfect characters make for engrossing stories and powerful lessons. The looming darkness is drifting its way towards them, and soon everything will converge into one massive storm.
(I acquired an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)