I downloaded “Fall, Falling, Fallen,” by Karalynn Lee because it was offered as a freebie from Samhain Publishers, knowing absolutely nothing about the it. I’ve been stocking my new e-reader with as many free short stories and novellas as I can get my hands on, the bulk of which have failed to move me. “Fall, Falling, Fallen,” however, caught my attention right from the beginning and held it firmly straight through to the end of the story.
The heroine is Melea, one of the daughters of the lord of Jenne, who spends her time breeding and working with hunting hounds, even though it’s considered an unsuitable pastime for a woman of her status. She prefers to chase after a missing dog rather than stay in Jenne to greet visiting Prince Kaen and, in true romance fashion, winds up running into him alone in the wilderness. The attraction and flirtation proceed from there just as any fan of romance might expect.
Though the basic plot outline is conventional, “Fall, Falling, Fallen” has plenty of interesting and unexpected details of character and setting which keep the story fresh. Instead of a typical, vaguely European setting for a story featuring royalty and magic, the characters are dark-skinned, and the hunting hounds pursue gazelles through a landscape dotted with baobabs. Lee also manages to pack a lot of personality into just a few pages, and Melea and Kaen are so appealing that I wished the story would turn out to be the first chapter of a novel.
Lucky me! Karalynn Lee has a novella available from Samhain right now, Summer-set, featuring the same setting, though it focuses on Kaen’s companion, the wolf-born Ryuan, and his own romance. I’ll be purchasing my copy today, and if it’s anything like as engaging as “Fall, Falling, Fallen,” I’m sure I’ll be recommending it here soon!