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Thursday , 07 January 2016 , 04 : 11 AM
When the Heavens Fall By Marc Turner Review by Matthew Cropley   Can traditional high fantasy be grimdark? Apparently, yes. Marc Turner’s debut novel When the Heavens Fall showed me that fantasy can be saturated with magic without losing any of the grit. It manages to deliver an old-school quest narrative without succumbing to the clichés and stagnation that drove me away from classic fantasy and in to the loving embrace of grimdark. Mayot Mencada, a necromancer, has stolen the Book of Lost Souls and unleashed death magic to blight the land. This focus of power attracts all manner of gods, monsters, and mortals, some hoping to claim the power for themselves and others simply seeking to destroy it. Luker, a pragmatic magical warrior, only hopes to find some sign of his old master, who disappeared tracking Mayot down. Romany, the self-indulgent high-priestess of a shadowy god called the Spider, seeks to manipulate Mayot to her own ends. Ebon, a prince tormented by spirits, only wants to save his kingdom. Finally, Parolla, a young woman cursed with a darkly magical lineage, seeks to use the Book of Lost Souls as a gateway into the underworld itself. Each of these four separate strands hurtles together, telling different sides of a story that comes together in an explosive climax. On the surface the plot may sound like the same sort of thing we’ve all heard a thousand times, and yet, Turner manages to put a spin on it that kept me interested until the very end. The world is dark, the morality ambiguous, and the characters grey. High fantasy is given a grimdark twist and the best of both is brought to the table. Turner’s magical world let me recapture the sense of wonder that drew me to fantasy as a child...
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  • COMMENT BY: Matthew Cropley