Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Review: WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL, by Marc Turner

Marc Turner
Tor Books, 2015
541 pages
Dark Fantasy

As much as I love reading giant fantasy novels, writing reviews on them is never simple. How do you summarize a tome into a few paragraphs? Below is my best attempt at conveying the pure enjoyment I received from reading WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL.

See if you can stay with me on this, I am going to recap in what I call "a nutshell." Basically there is this Book of Lost Souls. It is filled with power, and magic. Locked power. Locked magic. The one who possess the book, must also know how to unlock the secrets if the power and magic is to be wielded, and wielded correctly.

The existence of such a book poses a threat to the rest of the world for far too many obvious reasons. And so the quest for four separate groups begins. Their race for the book is not unobserved. The one with the book knows the opposition is en route, and will stop at nothing to stop them!

Mayot Mencada is a mage. He has the Book. And with it he unlocked a secret. He found a way to call the souls of the dead back through Shroud's gate. He, in all of his limited wisdom, has recruited an army of undead to protect his person . . . while he works at unlocking more of the book's potential and increasing his power!

Luker, a former Guardian agrees to lead a team. He somewhat strong armed into the mission. The fact his former master, Kanon, disappeared prior to Luker's enlistment is about the only reason he truly agrees. He doesn't care about the book. He wants only to rescue his old friend. Teamed with assassin, Jenna, and some others from the Emperor's personally hand-picked team, they set out to find (Konan) the book!

Luker and Jenna are by far my favorite two characters. They have history together. And although we get snippets into what that history was, snippets mind you, there is clearly another book in their older adventures that I am certain Turner will not leave unturned (unwritten).

Ebon, the Prince of Galitia, has also amassed a small team to join him on the trek across the lands with the intention of recovering the book first! His kingdom is under attack. Raised dead pound at the city walls, and threaten to destroy his realm. Unstoppable, there is little chance of defeating an army that is not alive. Time is of the essence. He needs the book so he can put a stop to the siege!

Romany Elivar is the high priestess to the goddess, Spider. The two are sneaky and conniving. Too late to snatch the book up for themselves, they are left with feeding the book's owner bits and pieces of information on how to handle the magic found inside the pages.

Shroud is the Lord of the Dead. He wants the book as well. It may be the only talisman in existence that can rival his power, his strength his magic -- despite his being a god! Unfortunately, with so many facets in play, snatching the book from Mayot is not as easy as one might hope!

There are so many components, and angels, so many variables, and plots . . . WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL is non-stop. I feel the urgency after turning every page, after reading every paragraph. The characters  are superbly crafted. Turner makes you care about each of them: the heroes, the heroines, the nasty, the dark, and the deranged!

I have the second book in the Chronicles of Exile ready to go! I cannot wait to get started!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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