Keeping up the tradition of discussing the unofficial soundtracks of my books after the release! Be warned: these posts may contain vague spoilers for The Lives We Lost.
The first song on my unofficial soundtrack for the second book in the Fallen World trilogy is “Our Hell” by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton:
For whatever reason, Emily Haines’ solo music seems to fit the trilogy perfectly. I consider one of her songs the theme song of The Way We Fall, and “Our Hell” captures a lot of the tensions in its sequel.
There’s Haines’ haunting voice that easily evokes the desolation Kaelyn faces in the changed world of The Lives We Lost, and the march-like beat that echoes the long journey ahead of the group. And the lyrics… The title line, “Our hell is a good life”, could refer to both the survivors making the best of the awful situation they’re in, and those who cling to what security they have left, refusing to take further risks even though things could get much worse if they don’t. The repeated chorus of “What I thought it was it isn’t now” reminds me of the discoveries Kaelyn makes along the way, and on a more metaphorical level, of her realization that her dream of restoring the world to the way it once was may be impossible. Those who have read the book can imagine how mentions of being “on the road”, and knowing “what to forget, how to do right” relate to certain events.
But most affecting to me is the very last verse, which could almost be a reflection of the last few chapters: “There’s a pattern in the system/There’s a bullet in the gun/That’s why I tried to save you/But it can’t be done/It can’t be done.”