Iris doesn't remember anything about her life prior to living with her father in a rather isolated, home schooled environment. She suffers from severe asthma, but is well cared for by both her father and her nurse, Diana. She finds joy in a simple life, and occasionally escapes the infirmity of her body in dreams of an island covered in feathery snow. But upon waking from one particularly bad asthma attack, Iris learns that her dream island may in fact be real. As the truth of her past and her destiny are revealed, Iris learns that she is a Stryx, a special person who's soul is half bird.
“Jump. You know you can do it. Run. Jump. Fly... Run. Jump. Fly. I will lead you there. To the place you wish to see...” The voice remained soft and lightly tempting but with no real force behind it, letting Iris know that the final decision was hers to make.
This wasn’t the first time her dreams had taken on a mind of their own. She would close her eyes each night and everything would meld with her memories of the night she decided to never leave her father’s side. There was a big difference between Iris when she was awake and when she was fast asleep. When she slept, she knew that what her heart was telling her was true; she was only one leap of faith away from flying.
Running to the balcony she climbed over the railing and looked at the night sky.
“It is so simple. Just...FALL.”
I admit that this book kind of made me feel like the slow kid in class, as I did not realize until like halfway in that this is actually not a shapeshifter book. I'm not sure what put it in my head that it would be or should be, but I'm actually glad to say that it's not. I don't think the tone of the story or the ideas presented would have worked as well or had as appealing an impact if this had been just one more shapeshifter book. The idea of possessing the soul of an animal, or of having some sort of spiritual connection to an animal, is obviously not new, but it also hasn't been written to death. I found the spiritual aspect of the world building to be refreshing and intriguing when compared to the usual world building of your run of the mill shapeshifter novel. It uses song, poetry, dreams, and old legends to provide Iris with her history
Iris is a well rounded heroine. She's physically weak, but gifted with a unique world view and wisdom that she's still struggling to grow into. I see a lot of potential in her, and I'll be eager to see her growth in future books.
The author did a good job in building character relationships that felt relatively genuine. I liked Diana, for example, who has all but served as a mother to Iris. As Diana's personal history was revealed, I really started to like her and feel for her. I also liked Falcon (aka love interest), despite myself. I like his will and his willingness to sacrifice himself, and I like how hard he's worked to be a good guy. I give his character points mostly for potential, but it's a lot of potential.