Recently two books came to my attention that deal with the mingling of humans and beasts. With the coming of Halloween where people adorn themselves in bizarre outfits and prowl the streets like animals, I thought these two unique and edgy new novels would be perfect for my blog.
The first is The Melding of Aeris by an astounding new author, D. Wallace Peach. It tells of a blasted world slowly recovering from science gone wrong. Scientists tinker with drugs to cure diseases and discover Pathway, a distillation that enables the grafting of skin across species.
Soon rich women are smoothing down soft animal fur on their shoulders like epaulets or admiring serpent skin as elegant as black lace over their arms and chest. Men embed the razor teeth of sea-beasts into the bones of their forearms and cover their backs with wolf pelt to enhance their appearance.
Then they bear children, and the next generation arrives as monsters; creatures created from the vanity of their parents.
Aeris, child of such altered parents, hides in shame in his father’s castle covered by serpent skin and hideous to gaze upon. He longs to look human.
However, his father is rich and uses his influence to get him human skin. Happy at first, Aeris soon learns the dirty secret of the murdered flesh he wears. The Bestiary where the animals are cultivated to supply the parts, the Alchemary where the various vials of distillations are kept, all are part of a secret underground operation run by certain powerful people.
Horrified as he discovers the existence of the black market of flesh and animal parts, Aeris joins a ragged rebellion of misfits to destroy the Pathway drug and bring down the Alchemery at all costs.
And the cost is great. Personally.
Well written, with a nice romance, a unique story and lots of action, I enjoyed The Melding of Aeris a lot.
The second book is reminiscent of the Island of Dr. Moreau. In Halfkinds by Andrew Vu, science has also advanced to the extent that the intelligence of certain animals has been elevated so they can use language and live in human society. But all humans are not happy with this arrangement. The story opens with a prostitute that has raised a family of halfkinds in secret…and then is discovered and murdered. Her “children” flee in fear.
Told from the first person point of view, various viewpoints of the halfkind family are unique and different as each member of this strange inter species family struggles to survive and tell his perspective. They are hunted by an inter species team led by Simon Trevor and although various members of the family group care about others, there is still dissension and betrayal from within the family itself as they run and hide from outside killers.
I found it strange to be in the first person viewpoint of a half frog, half human.
Not to mention the lion and others.
Normally, this would not be a book I would read. It did contain the thoughtful concept of: if you don’t have a chance for a fair life, should you be brought into the world in the first place? It also portrayed a far future where intelligence across species has been enhanced significantly.
This is the first book of a series. I looked at several reviews as I wasn’t a fan, but a number of people really enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot while others didn’t like it at all. So, I finally decided at least to mention this very different story.
So, you’ll either love it or hate it.
But Halloween is approaching, where bizarre beings haunt our streets and sidewalks during the dark of night and beg on strangers’ doorsteps to feed a candy addiction.
Trick or Treat.