WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL by MARC TURNER
I give this book a 3.7. The parts that worked for me were the world building, writing style, and the promise this holds for future books. This had an extremely fast paced, strong beginning, but somewhere in the middle it lost some of its sparkle, and the end was not as impressively written as the start. BUT, it was a very enjoyable book and I would urge, most heartily, readers who enjoy epic fantasy to grab a copy, for I will certainly be buying Book 2, Dragon Hunters, when next I visit London.
Marc Turner is a Canadian who grew up in England and obtained his BA in Law from Oxford in 1996. Following the sale of his debut epic fantasy novel, When the Heavens Fall, he moved to Durham, England, with his wife and son, and now lives the dream: writes full time.
The most endearing quality of his debut novel is that it builds his world by following several threads, something reminiscent of Robert Jordan’s style of writing, and something I have missed in recent books. Marc mentions that he has been influenced by Steven Erikson and Joe Abercombie but, for me, his writing hinted of a mixture of Feist and Terry Brook’s Shannara books, which is a great compliment for him, I’m sure.
Giving a little background, but without ruining the story for readers, I will say simply this: there are four separate protagonists, Luker, a rogue Guardian mage who searches for his missing master. Romany, a priestess of the Spider Temple, who is charged by her goddess to observe a magician named Mayot who has stolen the Book of Lost Souls. A prince, named Ebon Calidar, who is drawn into the mayhem that erupts as consequence of the theft of the book. Parolla, a necromancer, who bears a grudge against Shroud, the Lord of Shadow who covets the stolen book. Parolla I liked especially, since she reminded me of Brook’s Grianne Ohmsford, High Druid of Paranor.
Several times during my reading of this book I was sent chasing for my Oxford Dictionary, with words such as ‘perspicacious’, ‘unconscionable’, and ‘obsequious’ baffling me. Some readers might find this a turn-off, as the meaning must be construed in absence of the will to search the dictionary, or readers might not want to be bothered to halt the story to do this. In my case, being a writer, it added a wealth of new words to my growing list of unknowns.
Marc deserves the praise he has received for his debut, and I am pleased that it has allowed him to follow his dream. As mentioned in my intro, I feel his books to follow will delve deeper into his world and will build a complex, intriguing web which will ultimately draw to him an even more expansive loyal fan base, and will result in even higher ratings, I’m sure. Well done, Marc, great book!