Yvonne Navarro's newest release, Highborn, is an RT paranormal Top Pick! that stands out in large part due to her heroine’s unique experience. Brynna, also known as the fallen angel Astarte, has seen everything the universe has to offer, literally. She lived in heaven and hell and has now come to Earth. Now Navarro explores her heroine's "tri-memory" of her three homes. And be sure to catch the excerpt of Brynna’s first experiences on Earth at the end of this post.
Brynna closes her eyes and remembers:
There is blue, there is white, and there is gold. The blue of ocean water, the soft white of clouds, golden sunlight warm upon her skin even as a cool breeze carries the slightly tangy salt scent of the sea. Every surface feels good beneath her feet but there is no impact, no binding by the laws of gravity because there are no such laws here. She is weightless and enormous white wings fold smoothly along the curve of her spine and carry her anywhere she wishes to go instantly, just because she wishes it to be so. It is a miracle, one of many, just like life itself. That moment when inert cells begin to move, when the heart begins to beat, the millions more where it continues to do so, the every movement of a body that obeys without conscious command. There is a perpetual feeling of contentment and wellbeing, of serenity down to her very essence. It is endless, and eternal, but it is never boring. It is completion, and Brynna misses it with every beat of the human heart within her chest.
Hell is the crimson flipside of Heaven, the turning over of a bright and shiny object to see its dark and insidious undersurface. Like Heaven, everything in Hell sees... but not in a good way. It breathes and it bleeds, and nothing and no one can be trusted. There are rivers of fire and lakes of molten lava bordered by cities constructed by demons as places to rest after tormenting the damned souls. The creatures that roam these cities and the passages within them are unspeakable, more than the human mind could perceive or tolerate. Even the lowest of the low, the alley demons that rip into the souls trying to escape, are too hideous to comprehend. Hunters created from the streams of undulating lava and Lucifer own breath slide along the avenues with unspoken promises of things even worse. Stinging winds sweep below scarlet clouds tinged with a blacker shade of red, spewing lightning and fire upon those below. Mountains surge without warning from the crevices and cracks in the burning ground, jagged and impaling anything in their way. Like Heaven, Hell is also endless and eternal, but it seethes with hatred and pain and misery. Few of the fallen are truly happy in this abominable place, only existing with what they have been given, trapped by their own choosing of Lucifer in a neverforgotten or forgiven war.
And Earth. Ah... It is a strange conglomeration of both Heaven and Hell, a twisted melding of the best and worse of both. Beauty and ugliness, charity and greed, simplicity and decadence. Here are the brightest and most gentle of humans and the worst that human existence ever had to offer, both often enduring punishment they do and do not deserve. It is here that Brynna searches for her path to redemption. How long or what it will take to accomplish it is as much an unanswerable question as if she can even do so. It is a round rock created by God's own hand and teeming with lives caught between the realms, a battleground for those who would claim its inhabitants for their own. Brynna feels a sort of reluctant empathy for these fragile humans, an impossible desire to somehow save them before the inevitable Apocalypse. The sights and sounds of this place have changed so much throughout her visits over the ages. Science, technology, medicine on the surface it all seems so good, but each begets its own evil. Each increases the greed and the lust for power in those most apt to be corrupted in such ways. Communication has made the impossible possible. Four thousand years ago a greedy man who wanted another's tent might be able to take it. Now a greedy man who wants what belongs to others can sometimes take a country without so much as a second thought. Their progress is full of terrifying and deadly implications. Brynna may or may not find her own path to redemption... but what of the human race?
- Yvonne Navarro