“I was six years old the first time mom threatened to sew my mouth shut.”
The Fall is All There is might definitely just be one of the most, if not the most chaotic, books I’ve read last year. We follow our main character Petre, who is one of a set of quadruplet siblings. At the age of eighteen, he makes a dramatic exit and runs away from home. About five years go by before he’s presented with a letter from one of his siblings, informing him that his father (the king) has passed, their sister is being crowned as his successor, and they basically are demanding Petre to come back home to watch her being sworn in. Petre already has his guard up and is like “No, thank you.”
His brother comes anyways and takes Petre on a journey across the apocalyptic wasteland back home to see their sister be crowned. Along the way, there is chaos and a lot of hilarious banter.
Peter is autistic and openly bisexual and just felt like like such an authentic character to me. It was interesting to see his thought processes and also how much of a masochistic kink he seemed to have when it came to his sex escapades. He was definitely a chaotic cinnamon roll that I couldn’t help rooting for.
The worldbuilding in this was also phenomenal. C.M. Caplan references an “annihilation” that took place and caused technology to really alter the world. There are cyborg horses (that explode), battery powered swords, a ghost fog that is extremely dangerous to breathe in, people that have robotic augmentations, and cement jungles.
One of the aspects I really enjoyed seeing in this book is how C.M. Caplan accurately depicted the complicatedness of sibling relationships. I feel like it’s something you can’t really understand unless you yourself are a sibling. The way you can love your sibling to death, but at the same time wanna punch them. Each of Petre’s siblings are trying to get him to swear his allegiance to them as they all go their separate ways on how to rule the country, and you can definitely see how it leaves Petre feeling torn and frustrated and also the overwhelming love he still continues to have for them regardless.
It was also interesting (and a bit heartbreaking, if I’m being honest,) to see how Petre’s own mother behaved towards him and his autism. She seemed to find it more exasperating than anything, and definitely didn’t really try to understand him at all. We see Petre struggle with the fact that he still loves her, even though she constantly hurt him. I mean, the first line in the book is ” I was six years old the first time my mom threatened to sew my mouth shut”, for crying out loud.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, although I feel there is a very niche audience for it. It was chaotic, it was entertaining, it was heartbreaking and thrilling. For such a short book, there are a lot of things that happen and there was truly never a dull moment. I have word from the author that they are indeed currently working on book two, and I plan on being the first in line to purchase it when it releases.