Title: When the Heavens Fall
Author: Marc Turner
Page Count/Review Word Count: 568
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
Right – you’re just going to have to bear with me for a little while on this one, because there were a lot of pages and so there have to be a lot of words in the review, too. In fact, the length of this book meant that it took me ten days to read it, and I can sometimes blaze through a book in a day or two, but then I did read a few other books at the same time to break it up a bit – it’s the same technique that I used for Lord of the Rings.
And therein, in many ways, lies the problem. See, I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Hobbit, the Silmarillion and a few other bits and bobs here and there, but there’s so much more Tolkien that I have left to read. I also haven’t started to read the Game of Thrones series yet, and I’ve been holding back on watching the show because I feel like I should read the books first. Why bother with this, then?
There a few good reasons, even if they are reasons that it shares with some other epic fantasy works. The first is the fact that the political landscape here is so well-developed that the author’s organisation skills leave me baffled – in fact, the book comes with the standard map that we’re used to from fantasy novels, as well as a complete list of all of the major characters and the different sets of allegiances that they fall under.
This level of planning has gone into the world as a whole, too – some of the nuances that the author captures in his work make you feel as though you’re really there, and I was a particular fan of how the magic system worked. A good fantasy author always has a system – otherwise, ‘magic’ becomes this catch-all term that can be used to explain away lazy plot holes. I don’t want to go into too much detail about Turner’s magic system here, but suffice to say that it’s believable, inasmuch as magic ever can be.
The characters are pretty kick-ass as well, and I was a particular fan of both Luker and Parolla, for different reasons. It takes you a while to get your head around what’s happening, but once you’ve figured that out, it’s easy to see the motivations behind each of the characters, which is always good – it helps you to relate to them. I also think that this is one of those (reasonably) rare books that you can read over and over again, and discover new subtleties every time, particularly in terms of the characters’ relationships with each other.
There are a lot of positives to this book, but I just can’t honestly hold my hand on my heart and say that I’ll read the next book in the series, because I probably won’t. In fact, in some ways, I think the author is missing out on a trick here – I feel like he could have split this novel into two and made twice as much money from selling it. And then it’d be a much easier read, too.