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When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner {4 Stars}

When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner is an epic fantasy debut that took me completely by surprise. I was excited about the idea of a fallible lord of the dead who lost a valuable object and the battle between a number of heroes to get that object back, but I had no idea the world of When the Heavens Fall would be so rich and engrossing! If you are a fan of a solid plot and characters set in a flourishing world, this is a series not to miss!

Note: I received an advanced copy of When the Heavens Fall from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner {4 Stars}

When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner (The Chronicle of the Exile #1)
Published by Tor Books on May 19th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 544 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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If you pick a fight with Shroud, the Lord of the Dead, you had better make sure you end up on the winning side, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.

A book that gives its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost.

However, the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the powerful magic that has been unleashed. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince who battles enemies both personal and political, and a young girl of great power, whose past uniquely prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I can’t get over how much I love the world of When the Heavens Fall! One of my favorite things in fantasy is when lots of little details are just a bit different than our world. Instead of the animals that we are familiar with, When the Heavens Fall briefly mentions differences that are just enough for it to be clear that we aren’t in Kansas anymore ;-). I seriously want a fictional non-fiction bestiary to exist!
  • The plot and pacing of When the Heavens Fall is incredibly solid. I wouldn’t say it is break-neck, but there is always a development appearing just as something else gets resolved and I always felt we were moving steadily forward.
  • There are equal number female to male main characters in When the Heavens Fall, what is this crazy awesomeness?????? Epic fantasy of the 21st century, that’s what!
  • I really liked the style of alternating points of view that When the Heavens Fall used. Within one chapter, it alternated between two of the four main characters and then the next chapter had the other two, though it switched pairs sometimes I think. This made it easy for me to connect with the characters within that chapter and gave me a full enough dose of each of them at a time without getting bored or impatient to find out what happened next. I hope to see this done more often :D.
  • I think we all know that the one thing I love more than dragons are dead ancients and gods! What is cooler than something that seemed so powerful being mysteriously brought down and having only ruins to tell the story?? Well, When the Heavens Fall has a rich history lurking beneath the surface of current events and I am dying to know more!
  • There was something just inherently readable about When the Heavens Fall. Because of its size, I was worried I wouldn’t read it quickly or even finish, but I read the bulk of it in one blissful Saturday (last week actually when I said I was too busy to write an update post ;-) ). Don’t be intimidated by its size :).

Weaknesses:

  • I kept wishing there was a bit more description to help me visualize all the cool slightly different critters. From what the characters called them, I could usually infer that there were like our equivalent animal but different in a specific way, but not always and I wanted more!
  • You won’t be terribly surprised while reading When the Heavens Fall so if you need a plot that turns and twists to stay intrigued, that won’t work out.
  • While I liked the characters just fine, they are definitely not the strength of When the Heavens Fall. They don’t develop much or form very solid connections. There is potential for this in future books, but When the Heavens Fall is definitely not a character-driven story.

Summary:

When the Heavens Fall is a great epic fantasy for Brandon Sanderson fans. It reminded me a lot of earlier Sanderson work ;-). I’m very excited to see how Turner develops as an author if this is his debut and can’t wait for more in this world!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. I just ordered a copy over the weekend. The summary sold me completely – raising an ancient race in order to challenge the god of the underworld? Yes please! I’m excited about that style of alternating POV. It sounds great

  2. Sounds like an interesting book. I hadn’t even heard of it before! And I’ve just been lamenting that so many of the fantasy books I come across are ‘one man/woman army’ kinds of things. Really happy to hear this has four main characters – and even balanced in gender. Certainly going to be giving this book a look.
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

  3. Wow you have totally changed my mind about this one. I don’t know, that gloomy cover kind of put me off it but if there are ANIMALS in the book, and cool ones, I’m there!
    Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [154] – THE STARS TURNED AWAY by Lisa MaxwellMy Profile

    • Haha, I completely understand, the cover does it no justice at all! Look at the cover for book two, it is much better depiction of the series :D

  4. Well said. You’re spot-on with the need for some better visuals and the rather straightforward plot, but I still had a ton of fun with. It reminded me of the 80s/90s fantasy that I grew up on, and just had that somewhat classic feel.
    Bob @ Beauty in Ruins recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: The Empire Ascendant by Kameron HurleyMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] intricate and fascinating fantasy in The Chronicle of the Exile. While it is somewhat a sequel to When the Heavens Fall, it can easily be read on its own, though you’ll probably then be too addicted to not go back […]

  2. […] I’m very excited to welcome Marc Turner to the blog. Last year he published When the Heavens Fall, which I devoured in a single day despite its hefty page count. Now he’s back with a loose […]

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