Wendy reviews ‘Falling Awake III’ (Requiem, Book 3) by Kristoffer Gair. Self published July 14, 2020, 476 pages.
They targeted him before he was ever born. They will hunt him. They will execute anyone around him. They will rip his innocence away, corrupt him, and twist him into an instrument of terror. He will give the world reason to fear, fear the unknown, and he will do this lifetime after lifetime after lifetime.
Except this time, Daniel Davis hasn’t come back alone.
Four souls have returned with him, would-be protectors who’ve vowed to shield him from this fate. If they succeed, Daniel will turn what is into what can be. And if they fail, his light will dim and fade…forever.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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The Fickle Finger of Friends and Family
The running joke in my family and circle of friends for years was the question, “When are you going to stop writing comedy and instead write something serious?” This annoyed me. You have no idea how much it annoyed me. First, I was just happy to finish a draft that made me laugh and could land a publisher. Second, I had to get people interested enough to read it, let alone inspire them to write a review if they liked it. And at the end of the day? “When are you going to write something serious?”
Are you kidding me with this?
So, I did. It took me a long time to feel inspired enough to write something serious, but I did it. I can’t exactly say I had a choice in the matter. I lost my father-in-law in 2013, my mentor in 2014, a friend and fellow author (Dorien Grey), then my father a month later in 2015, another friend in 2016, another good friend in early 2018, my Grandmother a few months after that, and then my mother a few months after that. Life got serious, and I wrote something serious.
In fact, I wrote such a serious story that one reviewer stated she read it twice thinking she’d missed the snark and usual humor I’d been writing. I think family, friends, and readers were so shocked by the change in direction, they didn’t quite know what to say at first. My family thought Falling Awake was dark as heck. They didn’t realize just how dark dark could get until the second book, but the first one is something they felt was plenty dark. Reviews from friends and critics began to trickle in and the response was positive. Honestly, they were the best responses I’ve ever had for my work.
Yes, other folks thought it was dark, too dark sometimes, especially the second book, Revenant. And maybe it was. There are a few light moments in the first two books, only they’re few and far between. I was especially cognizant of needing a little more humor when writing the third book in the series, Requiem. Writing about the afterlife, about dark souls going after good ones, doesn’t always lend itself to humorous moments. However, one of the characters, Alex, has embraced the sarcastic, somewhat naughty side of life and strives to be the entertaining one. It’s through Alex we get some of our lightest moments, which the story needed between the more serious sections.
Here’s the kicker. Family and friends read the first two Falling Awake books, took me aside when I’d see them, and ask, “When are you going to write something funny again?”
Are you kidding me with this?
I figure when people around me stop dying, I’ll start writing comedy again. I think that’s fair, don’t you? Of course, at this rate, I’m going to run out of friends and family before I turn the age of 60. Maybe 55. In the meantime, there’s the writing project I’m working on. It’s… Naa. I’ll tell you about that later.
“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” Amanda grabbed a blanket from the inside of the vehicle and wrapped it around Daniel, then took a clean cloth and held it up to his chin. He’d need stitches and there’d be one hell of a scar. “Look at me.” He did, still shaking.
She’d almost been a moment too late. A second of hesitation and he’d be dead. What did the intruder want? What had he been looking for? And why did he scream what he did at Daniel?
Let me see your eyes. It’s in there, isn’t it? Deep down you can feel it.
The intruder’s words. Why the eyes? What was in them? What had he looked for? And why would Daniel feel it? Why did all of this feel so familiar to her? She knew the answers somewhere in the back of her memory, just out of reach. Why couldn’t she remember?
You can’t hide from us! We’ll find you again and again and again!
This had happened before. It happened now. It would happen again. Unless…
She studied the young boy’s face, the remains of a kind of innocence now lost and something new dawning. He’d never be the same again. Ever. Nobody prepared him for this. Not this young. How did one recover? With time? Without his mother or father?
Daniel began sobbing anew, as if reading her mind about his parents, whom she was sure he already missed.
“You’re—” Her voice cracked and she struggled not to break down in front of him. He didn’t need that. He needed strength. “You’re safe, baby. You’re safe now, Daniel.”
He stared into her eyes now. Was he searching for truth, or to see the depths of her own demons compared to his?
She met his gaze with her own and peered into his eyes. Blue. The blue eyes she’d seen in her recent dreams when he’d appeared much older. Still there, but… She felt her head tilt to the side as she searched even deeper. Beyond the blue. Something else. Something new. Foreign. Fear? No. Fear was on the outside, on the surface, but below the fear in a place he couldn’t feel or know existed inside himself? Shadows. Something that didn’t belong. A blackness, a blackness that swirled around in its infancy, as if waking.
The intruder is responsible for this. He woke this thing.
The blackness stopped moving for a moment. Did it sense her? She stared at it and some part of it intuitively stared back at her. The blackness knew her. They were old acquaintances. And if the thing, this entity or presence…whatever the hell it was…could have sneered at her, she knew it would have.
Have you ever heard a child scream as if their soul was being ripped apart at the seams? Like there’s no safe place in Heaven, Earth, or in-between that’s safe.
Where did these words come from? When did she say them? Part of her understood she never had, and yet another part, the part far back in her mind, knew she had. But when? How could that even be possible? Amanda also understood Daniel’s soul was infected and this thing inside him would take great joy in ripping him apart.
“You’re safe now, Daniel,” she repeated, mostly to reassure herself, only she knew deep down it wasn’t true.
The darkness in Daniel’s eyes began its dance anew.
…it’s going to eat him from the inside out.
Her words again? When did she say this?
“You’re not going to get him,” she muttered.
The darkness found an opening and began to disappear behind Daniel’s eyes, hiding beyond the physical, beyond reach. Beyond her reach.
He’s already ours.
Daniel began to shake.
This is the third and final installment of the Falling Awake trilogy and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover. If you haven’t read the first and second book yet, do yourself a favor and grab them now. I’ll do you a solid and give you the links. Here ya go, you’re welcome
This is the third and final book of the trilogy. You will need to read the first two books before this installment so click those links above if you haven’t read them yet.
Kristoffer writes with such emotion and feeling that even though I’m not sure I’m going to recover from this trilogy, I feel whole and so much satisfaction. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have read them and I really hope that you’ll take a chance on them too. It’s clear that he’s put his heart and soul into this story and he weaves an incredible tale.
I know that I can’t do this book justice in my review. I don’t have enough words to tell you how this book, this trilogy, has affected me. I know that it will stay with me for a long, long time.
I experienced so many emotions while reading this story. Truly it has all the feels. I knew that I would need tissues, wine, and chocolate and boy, I sure did. There’s drama and suspense, there’s action, mystery, a certain mystical quality, it was spiritual and magical. There were unexpected moments of humor and I love the cultural aspects of this story, how the characters blended and how they did not. It also had moments of terror and heartbreak and I bawled my eyes out. Seriously, ugly cried!
Even that this book was all of that, it was to me, an epic love story. Not just between two people, but an entire group. An entire blended chosen family came together to battle. Some of this blended family even coming from beyond and between to fight with the young men who star in the story. A true “Good vs evil” tale!
I can’t say enough about the characters and how much I loved them. I feel like I know them and that we became friends. I would certainly like to meet people irl that have the kind of spirits that the heroes of this book had.
This is a phenomenal story and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is one of the best stories that I’ve ever read and you don’t want to miss it.
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Kristoffer Gair grew up in Fraser, MI and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He is the author of 7 novels—some written under the pseudonym Kage Alan—been a part of 6 anthologies, and currently lives in a suburb of Detroit.