Kiss of the Butterfly
Author: James Lyon
Release Date: July 22, 2012
Rating: 5 birds
The smell of blood is in the air, I sense it even now. People thirst for it; the entire country is mad with desire for it. And now we are going to war with our brothers because they look like us, and because we can smell our blood coursing through their veins...” A mysterious letter starts a university student on a journey into the war-torn lands of rapidly disintegrating Yugoslavia. Naively trusting his enigmatic professor, the student unwittingly descends into a dystopian crucible of decay, destruction, passion, death, romance, lust, immorality, genocide, and forbidden knowledge promising immortality. As the journey grows ever more perilous, he realizes he must confront an ancient evil that has been once again loosed upon the earth: from medieval Bosnia to enlightenment-era Vienna, from the bright beaches of modern-day Southern California to the exotically dark cityscapes of Budapest and Belgrade, and horrors of Bosnia.
Vampires have formed an integral part of Balkan folklore for over a thousand years. "Kiss" represents a radical departure from popular vampire legend, based as it is on genuine Balkan folklore from as far back as the 14th century, not on pop culture or fantasy. "Kiss of the Butterfly" offers up the real, horrible creatures that existed long before Dracula and places them within a modern spectrum.
Meticulously researched, “Kiss of the Butterfly” weaves together intricate threads from the 15th, 18th and 20th centuries to create a rich phantasmagorical tapestry of allegory and reality. It is about divided loyalties, friendship and betrayal, virtue and innocence lost, obsession and devotion, desire and denial, the thirst for life and hunger for death, rebirth and salvation. “Kiss” blends history and the terrors of the Balkans as it explores dark corners of the soul.
“Kiss of the Butterfly” is based on true historical events. In the year of his death, 1476, the Prince of Wallachia -- Vlad III (Dracula) -- committed atrocities under the cloak of medieval Bosnia’s forested mountains, culminating in a bloody massacre in the mining town of Srebrenica. A little over 500 years later, in July 1995, history repeated itself when troops commanded by General Ratko Mladic entered Srebrenica and slaughtered nearly 8,000 people, making it the worst massacre Europe had seen since the Second World War. For most people, the two events seemed unconnected…
This is a creepy but in a good way book. I have never been outside of the US, heck I haven’t been any further north than Colorado, and when I do imagine traveling this area of the world isn’t first on my list but I will tell you after reading this book it has moved up in the list strictly because of the history of the region. The conflict that is taking place during the main part of the book happened when I was quite young so I was unsure of many of the details until I looked them up and I really made me appreciate this novel all the more because it is an actual time and place that occurred whether one believes in vampires or not.
The characters are well rounded and not at all flat even the ones we meet for only a short amount of time and I think that speaks volumes about the writing of Mr. Lyon. The description of the past events when described and mixed with the current (for the setting) events is seamless.
Back to the creepy part which as I said earlier isn’t creepy in a bad way but in a good one. The imagery of the folklore of the protection of the past is one of my favorite in this book, I could just see it and while that could freak someone out I found it comforting.
I really recommend this book to anyone who is either knowledgeable about Balkan events in the early nineties or is like me and willing to learn more with the added bonus of a fictional story woven in.