Note: I read this as a part of PulseIt's 31-day bookathon. And yes, I couldn't get Adele's "Skyfall" out of my head as I read this book. It was infectious.
Shannon Messenger's "Let the Sky Fall" pleasantly surprised me. Not in a way that I expected to be surprised. Granted, this book does not stray far from the typical "the chosen one" trope, but I'm surprised how humored and immersive this journey turned out to be. The story focuses between two perspectives: Vane, a boy who doesn't remember much of his tragic past (lost his parents in an L5 tornado) and has seemingly bad luck with girls, and Audra, a guardian charged with protecting Vane and helping him confront his destiny as a sylph/windtalker. The urgency in Audra's task mounts as enemy forces threaten her kind, and she has to teach Vane in a limited amount of days how to wield abilities. But the biggest wedge between them is the weight of the past, and even as the two grow more attracted to each other, they have to confront memories and events that threaten the balance not only between their worlds, but also each other. Vane's challenges have to do with confronting his memories and what they offered alongside his destiny, while Audra struggles between stepping to the task she has to take on and the secrets she's keeping from Vane.
This was a far better paranormal/supernatural romance novel than most I've picked up in the past few years, but it does have some issues. It's somewhat derivative - the troupe and romance have places where it reads long. What sold me was Messenger's humored tone and watching the building process of the characters as the narrative went on. I liked the interactions between Vane and Audra. Audra is a kick butt and take names female character, and Vane has this awkward, goofy but otherwise likable demeanor to him as well - both characters have their respective growing pains to deal with and Messenger does a fine job of shaping their experiences. The world of the windtalkers/sylph is also intriguing for what it had to offer, and while there were places where the ability building read a little long, I still followed it to see how Vane grew over time, with Audra's natural abilities and lessons coming to the forefront. The romance was palpable, with some portions where it convinced me, while others I kind of cringed at the overfocus, not because of the nature of their relationship in itself. I didn't think this was entirely instalove because the two knew each other from childhood, and I appreciated watching how the two grew closer over time.
The last 20% of the novel was when the action and revelations really picked up, and I didn't quite expect the resolution to the conflict to be what it was. The book ends with something of a cliffhanger to lead into the next book, but not so much that this story couldn't take for what it offered on its own. I would certainly read the sequel, and I thought this was well worth the time taken to read.
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars