When The Heav­ens Fall

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated book -

Long and wind­ing roads

Re­lease Date: 22 May

544 pages | Pa­per­back Au­thor: Marc Turner Pub­lisher: Ti­tan Books

A lot of fan­tasy calls

it­self “epic”, but many books fall short of match­ing the enor­mous scope of the word. An epic fan­tasy should have armies, gods and mon­sters, quests and magic, the dread, the un­dead and the living. By de­sign, if there’s a quest me­chanic ( de­stroy a ring, or in this case re­trieve a book), then there’s also got to be lots of jour­ney­ing via fan­tas­ti­cal way­points, with a few hair- rais­ing sword and sorcery en­coun­ters along the way. When The Heav­ens Fall is chock full of such epic- ness.

Per­haps it’s too much. An epic fan­tasy re­quires a large cast, and Marc Turner’s de­but novel fol­lows four POV char­ac­ters: Luker ( a Jedi- style Guardian), Ro­many ( a priest­ess of the Spi­der god­dess), Ebon ( prince of un­der- siege Gali­tia) and Parolla ( a sor­cer­ess who seeks vengeance with the Shroud, Lord of the Dead). Each one has their own rea­sons to hunt down the Book of Lost Souls, which gives its owner the power to com­mand an army of the un­dead. Some want to de­stroy the book, oth­ers to use it for their own ends.

There’s con­flict a- plenty and a world built with RPG lev­els of depth. But while four POVs can keep a nar­ra­tive fresh, it can also bog a story down. There are ar­guably two view­points too many, and the book’s plod­ding first act holds you back from the of­ten ex­hil­a­rat­ing set­pieces that fol­low as story threads in­ter­twine. Dean Evans Turner has writ­ten a story that pre­cedes the book: “There’s A Devil Watch­ing Over You” will be pub­lished on Tor. com.

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