Falter by Haven Cage
“In FALTER, a dark New Adult/Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Nevaeh Richards thinks she has found a chance to leave her homeless life behind. When the spirit of the only father she knows is wrongfully taken to Hell, Nevaeh is hurled into a world haunted by monstrous demons, rogue Guardian angels, love that is beyond her control, and a soul-threatening choice between the inherent evil inside her and the faltering faith she is struggling to grasp. Nevaeh and George have lived on the streets as father and daughter since he found her, alone and unconscious, many years ago. When they start a new life employed at Joe’s cafe, Nevaeh experiences debilitating visions and frightening apparitions. Adding to the troubling path her life has taken, George suddenly becomes ill and an Animus demon takes his soul hostage in Hell. Unfortunately, the ransom may be more than Nevaeh can afford. As Nevaeh spirals into this supernatural world, Gavyn—the handsome café-owner—tries to convince her that she belongs to a hidden race of people with God-given gifts known as Celatum, and she may be a key player in the Celestial war. However, even after all the otherworldly events she experiences, Nevaeh continues to deny her part in it all. Meanwhile, Archard—a stranger she feels undeniably bonded to—mysteriously wanders in and out of her life, offering none of the answers she suspects he holds. Will Nevaeh attain the faith it requires to fulfill her fate as a Celata and take part in the Celestial fight? Or will she give into the darkness that calls to her for the sake of George’s soul and damn herself to Hell?” – From Amazon
Story – Very Good
Falter begins literally where so many other novels begin metaphorically, at rock bottom. Nevaeh is homeless, hungry and can’t seem to get particular tastes out of her mouth. The story is a bit of a slow burn, giving Nevaeh security and warmth in her life if only to begin her torment in a new fashion. With her story best described as an urban paranormal dark fantasy, Miss Cage has given us a story with no lack of originality, and while we may not all be able to identify with Nevaeh’s struggles, we would have a difficult time not having some appreciation for all that she has been through. While we don’t want to give anything away, those seeking a firm ending may be disappointed, but we were left eagerly waiting for the next installment in the series.
“My eyelids fluttered open, but snapped shut again. The tiny bit of light sifting through my lashes was more than my senses could handle right now. My fingers twitched next to my face, but that was the only movement I could muster. The residual heaviness of a dream weighed me down against the dank pavement and left me feeling like I was tied to a cinder block, plummeting to the base of a lake.”
Style and Formatting – Noteworthy
Miss Cage’s writing is gritty, she is not afraid to call things as they are, and her brevity serves her well. In addition, we notice the senses play a major role in how she dictates the tone of her scenes, setting up tastes and smells as much as sights and sounds, which brings an immersive experience for those with the stomach for it. Of course, this is one of only a couple books we have read that we will say should stay out of the hands of younger readers, but that is part of the charm of Miss Cage’s style, and it lends a ‘realness’ to her story.
“The demon’s body shuffled awkwardly toward the woman. My eyes trailed down its back and I gasped. The over-exaggerated curvature of its spine forced nubs of yellow bone to poke through broken skin at each vertebra like spikes. Small trickles of blood oozed from deep festered holes scattered over its dying flesh and then dripped to the floor. It dragged a booted foot through a dark droplet on the dirty ground, smearing the blood as it stopped in front of the woman.”
Literary Value – Praiseworthy
Undeniably, Miss Cage tackles a few issues that we find underrepresented in modern literature. The plight of homeless youth is significant in the opening of the story, and one cannot forget while Nevaeh is bound to the pages of this book, there are young people out there every day who wish their stories too were more fiction than fact. The dichotomy of good and evil is looked at in relative depth thanks to the Christian influences in the novel, that being said, we would not call this a Christian novel by any means, and certainly would not recommend it as such. Miss Cage uses these real world influences to give more depth to her work, which sets her story apart from others like it.
“Archard walked by my side as close as he could without touching me, but it didn’t take his touch to feel the sparks of power surging between us. He glanced at me warily from the corner of his eye, and I got the feeling he suspected I would run at any minute. I had no intention of it—right now.”
Overall – 4.25, Recommended
We liked reading this book, and we love the story that Miss Cage has begun here. While Nevaeh’s motivations are easily identified, we love the direction in which the character is developing. We recommend this book to anyone who enjoys gritty urban fantasies and a bit of self-discovery. We cannot recommend this book for the faint of heart or those who may be offended by depictions of religion.
Want to read Falter? You can find it on Amazon.