BOOK REVIEW – Fell of Dark by Patrick DownesFell of Dark by Patrick Downes
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A book that challenges the word "powerful" and obliterates it

Written in searing prose, this is the story of two boys: Erik, who performs miracles, and Thorn, who hears voices. The book chronicles their lives as their minds devolve into hallucinations, and shows the way their worlds intersect, culminating in a final stand-off.

This debut novel offer a raw, insightful look at the forces that compel us to act against our will. Even more so, it captivates and dares us to look away, knowing full well we can't.

► Trust me, if a book can become an instant favorite and yet make me wary to recommend it, it’s this one. From what I could read, the opinions are mixed (just look at the ratings) and I can’t say that I don’t understand why – anyway, sorry if it comes out with know it all vibes, but to me? This book deserves more praise, because it challenges yourself as a reader and delivers a complex cast of characters that I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. And if we get our new vampire or cute romance every week in the new release charts (we do), I can’t find another book like this one – how powerful it is for a compliment, tell me?

“Speak only when they’re something worth saying. Speak only when it’s necessary. When is there anything worth saying? Can you tell me? When is it necessary?”

After reading several reviews, the complaint that emerges the most is the fact that there’s no plot. With this I both agree and disagree (and now you can wrap your head in your arms and yell, because I do realize that I’m telling anything and everything with this sentence).

Yes it has no regular, well-wrapped plot, as we follow slices of life from two different narrators, Erik and Thorn, throughout several periods of times. Therefore if you expect a beginning, a middle, and a end (exposition – rising action – resolution) you’ll probably end disappointed.

However, I never stopped thinking that the path that we readers followed was making sense but perhaps I’m just that sort of weird. Maybe. Boris Vian and André Breton have owned my heart all my teenage years, after all. So, who knows – surely not me.

“I wish all the voices I hear inside my head would melt down into one voice, a voice I can trust.”

Nevertheless, what I do know is the fact that Fell of dark was such a gripping, compelling read that I couldn’t put it down from the moment I started it, even though I only planned to steal a glance at it.

As for the writing, I found it absolutely incredible, and I’m weighing my words here. Actually, this is the kind of books that make me overjoyed to be able to read in English, because I’m not sure a translation could do justice to all the beautiful experimentations Patrick Downes uses, from the haunting metaphors to the short and even one word sentences. I loved it to pieces, as in my opinion nothing is useless and every sentence serves its purpose, whether it’s to make me think or feel.

“You people. You people.
Youpeopleyoupeopleyoupeople. Cowards, every one of you. What, what, what, what keeps your legs from breaking under all the weight of your fears and lies and hatred? Human beings. I’m not one of you. I’m outside your fences. I’m running around you at the speed of light, you goddamn beasts. But you think I’m the monster.”

I felt everything – every struggle the characters must face, and trust me, there’re plenty. Indeed from Erik’s letter to its future wife to Thorn’s wanderings through the several voices spreading from his head, what Patrick Downes offers us is a poignant descent into madness that managed to break my heart and made me tearing up at the most random moment. Now, that’s what I call a brilliant author, and I’m not too shy to write it : Patrick Downes, I admire you.

► To be frank, the only reason that prevented me from rating it 5 stars is the ending, which was strangely anticlimactic in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about what happened in the end, no. But the truth is, I expected another way to relate it, something else than the dialogues that left me feeling almost empty. Anyway, it’s a matter of personal taste, so perhaps you’ll like it more. Please tell me.

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