If you pick a fight with Shroud, Lord of the Dead, you had better ensure your victory, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.
A book giving 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. The first of an epic swords and sorcery fantasy trilogy, Marc Turner's When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods.
©2015 Marc Turner (P)2015 Audible Inc.
"A splendid launch. Turner's unquestionably a newcomer to watch." (Kirkus)
The story is very well written and having four story streams coming together is very complex. On audiobook this many streams makes it difficult to engage with the characters as each stream has a number of characters to keep track of. However after half way the story begins to meld together. The journeys are adventurous but lack an originality some other writers seem to offer (Abercrombie and Martin say) also seeding contemporary cliches jolts the reader out of the plot. Again, others make their own cliches up...? However as a debut novel this part of a series has a lot to commend it. My main suggestion to the author is to make the next more original than the past masters of the genre.
"A Good Fantasy!"
‘When the Heavens Fall’ reads a lot like most fantasies do, which is both good and bad. Good because it’s a fun read while you’re at it, interesting and unique enough that you’re enjoying it while you’re in the book. But also disappointing because it really isn’t anything different from what a lot of other fantasy books have to offer. That is, while it clearly has it’s own story, characters, and world, it doesn’t manage to stand out on it’s own. It’s unique but not anything fresh or innovative.
Having said that, I am aware of the fact that this is the author’s debut novel and I do realize it’s only the beginning of a series. So while I made my way through this at a reasonable pace, if I do pick up the next installment in the series, I’m definitely hoping for more excitement. What I can say was more enjoyable was that the author offers more than one perspective in the story. A lot of the other fantasy I’ve read either just follows first person or opt out for third person omniscient. With this one, you get a lot of voices with their own stories so that aspect is a bit more filling in this book than in some other fantasies. At times, I was also reminded somewhat of ‘The Way of Kings,’ but mostly in that we get more than one perspective.
I also enjoyed that we are required to learn about the fantasy world more via conversations and as the story moves along rather than major sections of info-dump where the authors pauses to explain the history of one thing or another. Sanderson does have a habit of dragging things out and while at times ‘When the Heavens Fall’ did slow down for me, I don’t think it necessarily drags at any point.
Because I read this on audiobook, I must also point out that while the narrator—Oliver Wyman—does an excellent job at the voices, the narration of regular passages did seem a tad tedious. It often felt like he was narrating the book with his head down and his voice seemed a bit stifled. I’m speculating about this of course, but I just thought it strange that he does the character voices with such expertise but then I would have so much trouble concentrating on the regular, non-dialogue text. If I had to rate the narration separately, I would give it four stars.
I would recommend this if you’re just looking for an easy fantasy read. If you want something wholly unique and original, this probably doesn’t have a lot which will impress you (especially if you’re a avid fantasy reader). But it’s a good read nonetheless and if I come across the next book in the series, I would love to give it a read.
"Excellent fantasy novel"
The start was somewhat diffused, but once the characters came into focus, the plot was set and story carried me away.
The world is well rendered, the magic systems richly diverse, the main characters fairly complex. The Narrator is one of the best, and did a really good job bringing the characters to life.
When the Heavens Fall is well worth a listen.
I had been hearing good things about this series for a while and really wanting to read it. So instead of patiently waiting till it was on top of my "to be read' pile I pushed the pile over and grabbed it. So glad I did But now I will be even further behind on my stack as ill push everything else out of the way Again when the next book gets here. For a Novel as broad of scope as this it took me a remarkably short amount of time to understand the world building, but at the same time it was not generic fantasy tropes at all. and that is something to be treasured.
Good dialog and pacing of the story was just about perfect. Over all I highly recommend this!
I already owned the book so the story was already familiar. Its easier to follow reading it if its your initial read (print copy has character lists, maps etc.). The narrator was o.k, not my favorite, but I've heard worse. The story was 5 stars, narrator three, thus a 4 star production.
Great book with a great reader. Thoroughly enjoyable. At first, I wondered if using different voices would annoy me, but ultimately it was a plus.
"A little confusing at first"
As the first reviewer said it takes awhile to sort out the players and where they belong in the story. You get dropped right in the middle of there world and it is confusing until you catch on to what is what and who is who. Worth working for so keep listening.
"good, and we'll written"
good story made better by a great narrator. it was hard to understand the dynamics of the world and its politics since I did not have a map making it hard to run to. my only criticisms are the magic system and the constant use of the word score. Just say 20! the magic system was vague with no explanation between the types and differences, though I am sure there is some. maybe in later books, which I will certainly listen to.
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