By: Kaylin McFarren
Publisher: Creative Edge Publishing LLC
Publication Date: May 2019
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
By all accounts, Skylar Haines has lived a hard life in the few years she’s been alive. Having lost both of her parents at a very young age, she was forced to bounce around in foster care until her cold, abusive grandfather took her into his home. Life unfortunately did not improve despite the new living arrangements; Skylar continued to feel alienated and was bullied at school. Anxiety, fear and depression managed to slither its way into every aspect of her life, causing her to feel as if nothing could ease the insurmountable emotional pain she lived with on a daily basis. The only relief she seemed able to find was when she cut herself. This was the only way Skylar felt she could cope with the unbearably dark emotions that plagued every aspect of her life. To make matters worse, she lost her best friend, Roxy, in a horrible accident. In a totally desperate move, she ran away, and dreamt of a future flying away from her terrible life.
As the years pass by, Skylar takes her destiny into her own hands, and learns to become a stunt pilot and is quite successful. At the tender age of twenty-one, she participates in the Reno National Championship Air Show and is scheduled to perform a challenging duo act with her boyfriend in her own World War II biplane. Despite some reservations from her mentor, Skylar takes off and successfully completes several maneuvers, but is soon confronted by an unusually intense weather system, full of dark clouds, and loses radio contact with her flying partner. The next thing she knows, she’s heading straight for another plane, which she ends up clipping a part of, sending her into a panicked nosedive. Luckily, a mysterious voice radios her from the headset, calms her down, and guides her to a safe landing back at the airport she took off from, or so she thinks.
Immediately after Skylar exits her plane, she notices a few odd things. Familiar employee faces, even those in the crowds, seem to have disappeared, and the buildings, which were recently remodeled, look old. The most confusing and shocking part is when she notices a banner with the words “Welcome to the ‘97 Reno National Championship Races & Air Show,” which is twenty-one years in the past. A young man walks up to Skylar and introduces himself as not only the man who was flying the plane and successfully guided her to a safe landing, but as Dylan Haines, her father, who sadly died eight months before she was born. After a bit of a new reality adjustment, and being confronted face-to-face with the men who would later cause her father’s untimely death, Skylar discovers that she has landed in an unusual, yet critical situation, and has been handed the ultimate power. A chance to change her father’s destiny, and ultimately change her entire family’s future, for better or for worse. But will Skylar be able to navigate her way through numerous treacherous situations to help her father, or will Skylar also be swept up into a dangerous life, and succumb to the tangled, evil forces that led to his death?
Author Kaylin McFarren has produced not only a genre-bending novel with the mix of science fiction, mystery and suspense, but has also successfully penned a thought-provoking read in her use of the time-travel theme. Questions such as “Would you go back in time to alter the past in order to benefit from it in the future?” and “What would you want to change about a past event, if given the opportunity to travel back in time to do so?” will have readers thinking about their answers long after finishing the book.
It should be pointed out that the author makes note, in the beginning of this novel, that a bit of creative license was used in the creation of High Flying. What the author means is that not all of the story should be scrutinized as factual, or even based in reality. This reader had to on occasion remind herself that while some aspects of the story seemed to be a bit implausible and farfetched, the author did this on purpose to accurately convey raw emotions and the real meaning behind the story. However, with the introduction of numerous characters midway through the read, it left this reader a bit confused and at times disinterested in the storyline. Thankfully the writing picked up towards the end and loose ends seemed to resolve themselves enough to deem High Flying a novel worth reading.
Quill says: High Flying is a fast-paced, fantastical thriller that will have readers riveted to every word and breathlessly zooming around with Skylar Haines as she navigates a treacherous past world in hopes of ultimately changing her future.