Review of The Melding of Aeris by D. Wallace Peach
Long ago, this world endured the Burn, a fire that destroyed the lush world so genetically manipulated by man that it threatened to poison all life, hence the Burn. Now recovering, again the unscrupulous have invented a new way to alter human bodies: transfiguration. That is, via special chemicals including the Pathway, one can meld anything onto the human body’s surface, replacing skin and hair for example. But it goes far beyond any sentient reason. The wealthy Worthy graft skin of animals onto themselves, such as snake skins, wolf pelts, and much more. While some animals are raised to supply these needs, others called Skinners kidnap, flay, and kill other humans to obtain the next set of hair or eyes or face that some Worthy just has to “have” on their body.
Worse, children born to these people inherit a merging of the grafts from their parents bodies. The son of one of the most powerful rulers, Aeris, is born a man but whose exterior is that of a monster, and he longs to have human skin. When he turns eighteen, his father gives him his wish, but to Aeris’ horror, his new skin is that of a murdered man. Horrified and appalled at the price he must forever pay, Aeris flees his plush life and joins the rebellion, whose members are mostly other transfigured renegades. Their goal: put an end to this diabolical process.
The tale is replete with tales of evil, of greed that knows no bounds, and of impossible loves. In places, I found it a bit dark for my tastes. Still, it is an exciting read, one that you will find hard to put down until you reach the surprise ending, as I have come to expect from this author. Peach’s endings just never seem to be quite what I anticipate them to be! Yes, another “I didn’t see that one coming!” Here is another 5-star novel from D. Wallace Peach.