Welcome back to our read of Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain, the second novel in her dark and compelling urban fantasy series, The Fey and the Fallen. When last we left Liam Kelly, the series’s half-fey hero, IRA OC Seamus was forcing him to help with a bank robbery by holding Father Murray and threatening to go after Liam’s mother. Liam was searching for any way to escape before any of them, including himself, got killed.
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Despite being followed and having Frankie in the car, Liam dares to drive to a cemetery and contact his fiana father. He barely convinces Frankie to stay far enough back that he won’t spot or hear Bran, but Frankie proves a loyal and trusting friend, and Liam determines that he’ll get him out of their mess too. Bran answers Liam’s call and promises to do something to help. He won’t bring in the fiana to fight the mortals, but he does promise to do something. When Liam and Frankie leave the cemetery, Frankie reveals that, in addition to all that’s going on, the kidnapping of the priest isn’t on the news and Seamus is holding the wife and child of one of the bank’s employees hostage as well.
Reader Comments: I’m going to enjoy it when Seamus dies. And when Frankie mentioned that the news had not mentioned Father Murray’s kidnapping, I had chills. I have a very bad feeling that Liam will get in the middle of this fight and realize he has barely a clue of what’s actually going on.
Writer Comments: There’s a significant character moment in this chapter, the first time Liam calls Bran “Da.” Bran notes it for himself and we readers. Things like this may seem small, but they are extremely important in a book and especially a series that needs the hero to grow to keep things engaging. Also, by the point, we readers have seen enough of Liam to know his relationship with his family is rocky at best. Reaching out so to Bran is subtly huge, and I do not believe that even Liam fully comprehends its significance at this point.
That night, the bank robbery goes bad. Some of them men turn on them, apparently having warned the cops. Liam does his best to steer them to safety despite getting chewed out by Seamus, getting shot at, and having worse luck than ever getting away. Their car takes a severe beating, and Liam, despite Seamus threatening to shoot him, steals another car so they can escape.
Reader Comments: Hmm, Seamus getting double-crossed, that was fun. I still want to see Liam top him off or do something to let it happen. Although, since he tends to attract ghosts, perhaps him killing Seamus isn’t the best idea. Maybe Frankie can do it.
Writer Comments: There are a series of tricks to increase the pacing of a scene. Leicht uses many of them in this chapter. She focuses on the immediate details. Despite Liam’s tendency to occasionally reminisce or worry, he is very much out of his head in this scene. Most of the narrative focuses on the immediate action and details: road conditions, location of vehicles, what the car hits as they speed away, each bullet shattering glass around them. In addition, most of the paragraphs and sentences are short. To increase narrative speed, decrease paragraph, sentence, and even word length. In slow a scene down, increase paragraph and sentence length and choose longer words.
Thank you for joining me today for these chapters of Stina Leicht’s and Blue Skies from Pain. We’re swiftly approaching the end of this book, but get ready, because when we’re done, Stina Leicht and I have put our heads together for a surprise. Until then, I will see you all back next Monday to find out what happens to Liam next and Friday for further forays into books, fiction, the speculative, and life.