Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fallen by Traci L. Slatton

Fallen. Traci L. Slatton. Telemachus Press, LLC. July 2011. 240 pp. paperback. ISBN #: 9781935670896.

The world is coming to an end from the mists, phenomena that eat through metals and flesh, leaving behind a sand-like, formless substance. One woman, however, has survived and with her daughter now travels with seven children. They arrive at a camp led by a mysterious, tough guy named Arthur who has created a safe camp and community where the mists cannot attack, but that does not mean they are safe by any means!

For Arthur possesses the ability to sense when the mists are approaching and is able to raise his arms and make the mists disperse permanently. So why is he is so hard and what secrets does he possess about the mists that he will share with no one. Emma makes a very quick agreement with Arthur in order to ensure the safety of her young charges, but she's clear that means no commitment. Arthur wants that contract to mean she will obey him no matter what, and therein the sparks begin to fly.

Emma lives to love her kids, several of whom have very specific and unusual psychic powers, a reality that seems to be tied to the presence of the devastating mists but one that saves their lives more than once. Arthur and the community members have other known and unknown enemies who can be just as lethal as the power bent on eradicating humanity and even the earth. Another female community has several members with their own gifts and they know something about Arthur that they keep telling her to ask him about; this part of the novel occurs with some annoying frequency but does add to the mystery of it all.

The remainder of the novel concerns the ultimate confrontation between rogue riders, Arthur's former friend and now enemy, Alexei, and some conflicts based on so-called Tesla technology. Science can be a very dangerous subject! Ultimately, a surprising conclusion leaves the reader breathless and yet anticipating a return to the core personal and communal conflicts and chaos in another follow-up novel.

The reader is forced to consider previously stable definitions of time, obedience, psychic powers, science, and most importantly, love. Powers exist, perhaps, that enhance long-ignored mental skills but is the power of memory too strong to allow for new ways of relating and the freedom to explore same without guilt and ignoring the instinctive inclinations of the heart?

Many, many questions arise as one reads this story that defies what can be falsely read as a simplistic story/plot. Traci L. Slatton is a writer to watch closely, including in whatever sequels follow this unique, well-written sci-fi novel!

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