D. Wallace Peach ~ Novelist
D. Wallace Peach ~ Novelist
A second book by D. Wallace Peach is “The Melding of Aeris”, a wonderful tale of the Worthy using their coin for personal transfigurations at the Alchemary, using exotic skin and feathers from rare creatures, and sometimes human donors, with or without their consent. The Sahl and Sahlessa of Fallmist Keep define the antagonists and exemplars of Transfiguration, until their son is born, as hideous reminder that Transfiguration begets offspring far more exotic than the skin of their parents.
What remains consistent with D. Wallace Peach’s writing is her skill in story development and plot, as well as her wonderful gift for metaphor. Her characters become allies or villains as the plot develops, creating an emotional connection for all players in the unfolding drama. It is this connection with the full array of characters that pulls the reader through the story effortlessly, always wanting to know more, know the fates of lovers, warriors and rulers, whose paths, and very lives are inextricably altered.
Underlying her story of survival in a predatory rule over society by the Worthy, is a subtle weaving of philosophical observations via the characters, as well as metaphoric phrasing that compels the reader to see the larger picture, outside the confinements of those trapped within the unfolding drama. The very underlying theme of humans wearing skins of exotic animals confounds our very senses of what it is to be human, in appearance, which in this story also alters the perception of self, to others.
“Lasandra’s new lips curved like a bow, rose red, and as plump and luscious as a bruise. Barely clad, she posed before her gilded looking-glass, glimpsing in her reflection the potential for perfection. Her transfiguration was almost complete; the last scars barely visible–faint red seams that would fade in a matter of weeks. She wanted new eyes, green ones, the bright emerald of spring grass or fresh limes, and a cascade of long curls as black and thick as a moonless night. She’d spotted the ones she desired in the market place. The woman sold yellow onions from a crudely woven basket. Poor and barefoot, she would sell hers, surely. Lasandra could afford whatever the woman asked. And she’d pay for replacements. She wasn’t merciless; she wouldn’t leave the woman bald and blind!
Her fingers traced the tiny jewels arching over her eyebrows, four on each side. She’d decided on fire rubies with simple gold settings, nothing too ostentatious. Bone-studding was nothing new, but with the other modifications…well, they dazzled the eye. And it hadn’t hurt at all when Syr Sorelis drilled the little screws into her forehead. Thank the alchemists for that little miracle.
A sultry pout over her shoulder, she turned in front of the mirror, admiring her skin. The designers had schemed with her for over a year, visualizing something asymmetrical but precisely balanced. And the Bestiary had grown the species exactly to her specifications, no easy task. The serpent skin lay like scalloped black lace over new snow; sheer, delicate, and soft to the touch. It curled across her skin, starting behind her ears and swirling across her breasts and belly, down the inside of her thighs where it tapered to slender points near the knees. It covered her hands and forearms like fingerless gloves.
The fur alone had required years to cultivate because she desired fine black and white stripes and the texture of velvet. The first animals had been deplorable, their pelts far too coarse, the fur too long and thick. When finally a creature met her expectations, the transfiguration melded its skin to her shoulders like epaulets, formed a curved V on her back and covered every inch of her legs where she hadn’t already melded the snake skin. Stripes ringed her long smooth tail.
Undeniably stunning, a human art form…almost.
As she studied her composition in the mirror, it was all too evident that her brown hair and brown eyes simply wouldn’t do.”
The storyline slips the reader into the mindset of the elite, whose transfiguration processes become their very personality, their perceived social status, as visual rank. Those who find their lives and livelihood dependent upon the rulers for their daily bread, find life quite a bit different than their masters. When desperation is all that is left for some, the ultimate sacrifice of personal harvesting of body parts becomes all too real. A very entertaining and engaging story.