When The Heavens Fall
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.