When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner

Just finished reading the first few chapters in When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner.  This is the start of a swords and sorcery epic fantasy with magic, Gods and plenty of swordplay.

This is an odd review to write because at the moment I’ve only read an excerpt of the story but I can already say that this is a story that I would definitely continue with as this got off to a very promising start.

The plot begins with a stolen book.  A powerful book that in turn attracts powerful people in it’s search.  We are introduced in fairly quick succession to a number of characters who all have a part to play.  Lurker is a Guardian, he is pulled into the search for the book against his better judgement and also because he needs to find a friend who seems to have gone missing in connection with this missing artefact.  He will be accompanied by a female friend and assassin called Jenna who seems to join the search in order to escape her own problems.  We have Ebon, a prince and heir to the throne who begins his introduction to us in a daring rescue mission.  Ebon is undoubtedly being set out as the hero of the piece, his status is raised just within these few short chapters however he himself is plagued and tormented by strange voices.  The other two strands are those of a Priestess called Romany who has been set on a course to find the Book by her master and separately the storyline of Parolla who – well, more about in a moment

So, in terms of first impressions.  The writing is appealing and flows quite well although for a fairly short introduction there are a lot of new characters introduced with different undertones and politics.  Turner doesn’t hold your hand but basically throws you straight into the story and you’re left to gather what you will through conversation and character observations.  The plot is quite interesting and there is no shortage of action.  For me personally I would have liked more character development, although this is only the first part of the story so there is still room for more in that area.  I would say that Parolla has captured my attention primarily.  She’s an intriguing character that I’m keen to learn more about – especially why she seems to have incurred the wrath of the antlered God!  She comes across almost as a delicate blossom and yet she is very capable and indeed seems to wield powerful magic.  Interesting and I’m keen to know what her story will turn out to be.

For me, and I wish I had a better phrase, this comes across ‘old school’.  It doesn’t have the feel of the more modern grimdark type of fantasy reads and doesn’t contain the witty dialogue that we come across in more recent stories but gets back to good old fashioned chases, sword fighting and magic with a few underlying currents and a feel of never being given the full picture.  In that respect it undoubtedly in some areas put me in mind of elements of other stories but not, I hasten to add, in a copied sort of fashion – just more a gentle nudge in certain directions.

I don’t usually rate books but I would say that this would warrant a 3.5 – 4 stars review for me.  I thought it was a good introduction with a promising story, I definitely want to learn more and I think there’s plenty of room for development.

I received a copy from the publishers through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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14 Responses to “When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner”

  1. Tammy

    It will be interesting to see how you feel about the whole story, if you get the chance to read the rest.

    • lynnsbooks

      I know – at the time I didn’t realise this was only an excerpt – I find them difficult to review really because you have no idea how you will feel as the story progresses, how the character develops, the plot, everything. So far I think this has a lot of promise, I think the writing is strong. I don’t particularly think it brings anything new to the table but I liked what I read so far. I was thinking of 3.5 which may seem a bit harsh but it was more because I want to leave room for it to grown.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Bob (@beauty_in_ruins)

    “For me, and I wish I had a better phrase, this comes across ‘old school’.”

    Pretty much exactly what I said in my review. It definitely has a very late-80s/early-90s feel to it, and I liked that aspect. If you’re ok with that, then I think you’re exactly the kind of reader who will enjoy it the most. Fun stuff for sure.

    • lynnsbooks

      I actually quite like that this has an 80s/90s vibe to be honest. It shakes things up a bit and is almost unexpected these days. I was thinking of 3.5 for this because it seems fair at the moment as I don’t know how I’ll feel as the story develops and I also want to leave room for it to grow. I think I would have liked a bit more character development but I did really like the young girl who was being following by the Hunt. I thought that part was very interesting.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I still have this one to read/review so only skimmed to get an idea of your reaction. Look forward to reading about Parolla, love when there’s a good female character

    • lynnsbooks

      I think she is probably what made the story for me so far. The other characters are okay but they don’t hold the same interest for me and at the moment aren’t well enough developed.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’ve seen the “old school” description of this used by a couple reviewers, which is interesting because I didn’t really get the vibe – but maybe because I just haven’t read enough old school fantasy, lol. I agree with a lot of your thoughts on the excerpt here. After finishing the full book I think the lower range of your rating is probably closer to my thoughts on this book. Review should be up Friday.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I didn’t want to be harsh with my rating but I think it’s difficult when you’ve only read the first few chapters and I think you have to give room for the book to develop.
      For me this had the feel of the old swords and sorcery type story because it seemed to lack the more modern approach that you seem to read more of these days. Plus there was no real banter or snark, it didn’t feel really dark – at least so far. I kind of liked that the author just expects you to hit the ground running so no info dumps, the writing is good, I would say the characters felt like they could be better developed – although I did really like Parolla and found her parts intriguing.
      I look forward to your review.
      Lynn 😀

  5. TheSkepticalReader

    I’m hoping to read this soon! Nice review. 🙂

  6. jenclair

    I am always intrigued by lost manuscripts and stolen books, so I will keep an eye out for one that combines the lost book with fantasy.

    • lynnsbooks

      The book in this one is the Book of Lost Souls – hoping to find out a bit more about that when I read on.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    Oh an excerpt review. I can never bring myself to do those. I need the whole thing or nothing lol. I was thinking about reading this buy I’m not totally sure it would be for me. Do you plan to go on and read the whole thing soon?

    • lynnsbooks

      I will definitely read the rest of this. I thought it got off to a good start and I want to see how it develops.
      I hadn’t realised this was only an excerpt when I requested – I have a couple of others as well. After I’ve reviewed those I definitely won’t be requesting any others. I find it really difficult to give an opinion based on just a small portion of the book.
      Lynn 😀

  8. May brings flocks of pretty lambs…(monthly round-up) | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] When the Heaven’s Fall by Marc Turner […]

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