Evan Burl and the Falling by Justin Blaney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this (revised) book in exchange for an honest review.
The last time I read this book, I gave it four stars. It didn't feel complete, but I still really enjoyed it. This time around, it is deserving of the five-star rank.
Evan Burl and the Falling is about a boy named Evan who discovers that he's doomed to become a monster. He lives with his uncle who he finds is charged with destroying him. He also lives with a group of girls he calls The Fallings, because they all fell from the sky as babies in boxes, completely unharmed. They appear to be immortal at first, as nothing can truly harm them and their wounds heal very quickly. But as he and they soon find out, they are not immortal at all. And something is causing them to die one by one.
Evan decides he must leave to protect them, but only after he finds out what is causing them to die. Is it him? Is it his uncle? What is happening to these girls he sees as his own sisters? And what is his future? Can he choose not to be a monster?
It's difficult to describe exactly what made me love this book so much. The writing style was great, very fluid and mostly easy to read. I felt so badly for Evan and his struggles with trying to control the sapience. I enjoyed the story immensely, and wanted to keep reading and reading and reading. It was a wonderful piece of fantasy, and only fantasy, which is so rare to see these days (unless you're looking for epic fantasy, of which there is plenty - but this is just simple fantasy).
****THERE ARE SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT****
There were parts that didn't make much sense, or seemed to be thrown in as a way to make certain story arcs work, however I believe that they could be fleshed out and made to work in the story. For example (and I'm sure some of these will be explored in book 2), who really killed Terillium? How did Ani "become" Terisma? Was it a mental break after her house burned down? Who set the fire? How did her mother get downstairs under the castle in a cage? Hagnus seems much older when Cevo first sees her, but she makes it sound like she's younger than Henri, who is only 14, so how old is she? More could be done with Cevo and his history with Terillium. And what was Henri trying to accomplish by dealing with Mazol?
Overall, the expanded book was much more enjoyable than the original as it was clearer and dealt much more with Evan's struggles. The hanging ending was a great way to set it up for a sequel, as we don't truly know what happened to Cevo, Terisma, Evan, Henri, Clare, or any of the other characters (except Hagnus, unfortunately). I look forward to reading the second book when it's done, and this is a book I would be happy to have on my shelves.
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