He also made it clear that Solomon was to keep His instructions:. The second appearance of God to Solomon came after the dedication of the temple. God promised that His presence would be with the nation Israel in the temple, but with these warnings:. I have consecrated this temple you built by making it my permanent home; I will be constantly present there.
Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations. They embraced other gods whom they worshiped and served. From among your fellow citizens you must appoint a king—you may not designate a foreigner who is not one of your fellow Israelites. His downfall came late in his life. Solomon married many foreign wives, and eventually his heart was turned to worship their pagan gods:. If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.
God raised up men who opposed Solomon in his lifetime. The first of these opponents was Hadad the Edomite 1 Kings , a most interesting fellow. One wonders why so much detail is given about him, especially regarding his connection with Egypt. While David was king of Israel, Joab slaughtered every male in Edom, but somehow Hadad, who was a young lad at that time, escaped to Egypt.
Nevertheless, when Hadad learned that David and Joab were dead, he asked to return to his homeland. Reluctantly, Pharaoh let him go. The connection with Egypt sounds too much like Joseph and also a bit like Moses. Why are we given all these details? I am inclined to conclude that God wants us to see this connection. Egypt was one of the superpowers of ancient times. Now, it would seem, God was once again using Egypt to protect Hadad, so that he could be an instrument of divine discipline.
Not nearly as much detail is given concerning Rezon. He organized a band of raiders, and when David sought to kill him, he fled to Damascus. One does not get the impression that Jeroboam was a troublemaker, out for trouble. It appears, rather, that Solomon himself created his own problems by the way he dealt with this fellow. Jeroboam was an Ephraimite, the son of a widow. He was a very talented and skillful worker.
When Solomon commenced the construction of a terrace and was closing the gap in the wall surrounding his palace, Jeroboam was one of his workers. Solomon recognized his abilities and promoted him to leader of the work crew of the tribe of Joseph. It was at this time that the prophet Ahijah privately took Jeroboam aside and informed him that he would be given ten of the tribes of Israel to lead as king. He underscored this prophecy by tearing his new robe into 12 pieces, and then giving Jeroboam 10 of them.
He also indicated that at some time in the future the nation would once again be reunited This would be some time in the more distant future, however. God promised Jeroboam great success as the first king of Israel the ten northern tribes of Israel , but only on the condition that Jeroboam walked in the steps of David:. I will allow him to be ruler for the rest of his life for the sake of my chosen servant David who kept my commandments and rules.
Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; I will give you Israel. He stayed in Egypt until Solomon died 1 Kings It is amazing that the prophet makes a promise very much like the Davidic Covenant. Time will reveal that Jeroboam is not like David, and his kingdom will not last.
It would appear that Solomon somehow heard of the prophecy of Ahijah — either that or Solomon simply became jealous of Jeroboam. For one reason or another, Solomon sets out to kill Jeroboam, forcing him to flee to Egypt. There, Jeroboam finds refuge, not unlike Hadad, the Edomite. In time, Shishak, king of Egypt, will come to the aid of Jeroboam when he returns to Israel. There is no indication of repentance on his part. He seems to stay the same wicked course until the day of his death. The scene is now set for the division of the kingdom, which occurs shortly after the death of Solomon.
All Israel gathered at Shechem to make Rehoboam their next king. The people had sent word to Jeroboam in Egypt, asking him to return to Israel. He gathered with the Israelites at Shechem to make Rehoboam king. Whether Jeroboam served as their spokesman is not indicated, but we do know that he was present. The words of warning, spoken years before by the prophet Samuel, were now coming true:.
Solomon had become heavy-handed with them. Rehoboam had the presence of mind to ask for time to seek counsel. He promised to meet with the people and to convey his decision in three days. One might expect them to reinforce the policy of Solomon, but they did not. Their counsel to Rehoboam was short, to the point, and wise:. Their advice was considerably different:. Rehoboam was foolish. If they counseled Rehoboam to lessen the demands his father Solomon had imposed on the people, it might mean that they would not live quite as well.
Perhaps they had already been corrupted with a lust for power. Whatever the reason, their counsel was foolish. Was Rehoboam trying to impress his friends when he arrogantly promised tougher times for the people? The brash young king turned a deaf ear to the requests of the people. I doubt that the nation gathered that day, intent on dividing it. I believe they fully intended to serve Rehoboam, as they had served the kings before him. The seeds of division had been sown years before, as is evident during the reign of David:. The ten northern tribes of Israel walk out on Rehoboam and on the united kingdom:.
Return to your homes, O Israel! Now, look after your own dynasty, O David! In my opinion, there was still time and opportunity for reconciliation. He went so far as to try to compel the ten tribes to return and to submit. He sent Adoniram, the supervisor of his work crews, after them, but the angry Israelites stoned him to death.
It is only at this point that Jeroboam begins to play a significant role in the rebellion, at least as far as the inspired account of Scripture goes. Jeroboam does not appear to assert himself; rather, the ten tribes seek him out, appointing him as their king:. When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. No one except the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty 1 Kings It does not sound as though Jeroboam was vocal or public in his opposition to Rehoboam, or that he sought to be appointed as king over the ten northern tribes, even though he had been told this was his destiny.
Rehoboam makes one more very foolish effort to restore his rule over all Israel — he summoned the warriors of Judah and Benjamin to go to war with the ten tribes. In response, God sent the prophet Shemaiah to Rehoboam with this message:. Each of you go home, for I have caused this to happen. At least Rehoboam heeded the word of God spoken through the prophet.
He was forty-one years old when he became king and he ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord chose from all the tribes of Israel to be his home. His mother was an Ammonite named Naamah. They made him more jealous by their sins than their ancestors had done. They committed the same horrible sins as the nations that the Lord had driven out from before the Israelites. His son Abijah replaced him as king 1 Kings , emphasis mine. There are various points of interest in this summation of the rule of Rehoboam. Once would seem to have been enough.
Twice would indicate that the author wants us to take special note of this fact. The Ammonites were descendants of Lot Genesis , and yet their relationship with the Israelites was not particularly friendly or beneficial. Often we are told that the king caused the people to sin. This is certainly the case with Jeroboam see 1 Kings The impression given is that the people of Judah wanted to sin, and that Rehoboam did little or nothing to resist their sinful ways.
It was not that Rehoboam imposed his wickedness on the people, but that the people imposed their wickedness on Rehoboam. At least we can see that the people of Judah were pursuing wicked ways. The third observation about the reign of Rehoboam is that God used Egypt as His chastening rod against Judah. We see this in verses You may recall that when Hadad the Edomite and Jeroboam fled from Israel, they both fled to Egypt 1 Kings , This kind of violence is a destructive violence dividing a community into victims and per-petrators.
The perpetrator is not seen as in need of protection. Vulnerability, understood in this way, ascribes to a dualist conception in terms of who merits and who does not merit vulnerability. It presumes a hierarchical and inequitable distribution of vulnerability that "generate [s] patronising, oppresssive, paternalistic and controlling, and stigmatising and exclusionary dispositions and treatments of others.
Over-against this reductively negative view of vulnerability, Erinn Gilson proposes a concept of epistemic vulnerability. It is an openness to not knowing, to be wrong yet not re-framing from interaction in which one's ideas, beliefs and feelings are put to the test. Epistemic vulnerability enables one to learn in a context where one is unknowing and foreign, a context where one is not in power. Openness to new ideas entails the dispelling of wilful ignorance and altering unconscious beliefs and habits that are ingrained into our bodies.
It entails an openness to the ambivalence of our bodily and emotional responses, to enable knowledge to sink into our bodies. Openness to alter beliefs and habits also entails an openness to altering oneself as well as the concept one has of the self.
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In other words, the change that takes place, should affect what one does, how one thinks about and defines oneself. Gilson defines it as follows:. If epistemic vulnerability is defined by openness to changes in the self in light of coming to perceive what one does not know and has prevented oneself from knowing, then it entails a different perspective on change, permanence, history and the formation of the self. In allowing the self to change, one likewise allows change in what one knows, how one knows, and in relation to whom and what one knows.
Thus, epistemic vulnerability entails rejecting the closure of the self that defines invulnerability. Instead, one begins to comprehend oneself as a being who has come into being and is continually evolving, one positions oneself as one who has been and will continue to be affected by others; one perceives oneself as vulnerable and conceives this vulnerability as the condition of one's knowledge since it is only by being affected by others that one knows and is.
Vulnerability and Oppression. Levinas' ethical moment in which the naked face of the other plays a crucial role, creates vulnerability. It is then in terms of vulnerability that an ethical responsibility is called forth: "The Other, a stranger who shares my humanity, exacts from me a certain responsibility to respect his dignity once I am aware of our interconnectedness.
From the discussion so far it is clear that vulnerability can be interpreted in two ways: a reductively negative understanding that sees it as weakness, harm and injury, in line with the common perception of vulnerability as expressed in dictionaries; and as a common condition of humanity that makes wounding possible. In this sense, vulnerability is a potential that requires an openness to affect and be affected, the ability to be harmed and experience loss, and the ability to transform oneself and change deep-seated habits. It is with the latter understanding of vulnerability that I renew my proposal for a her-meneutic of vulnerability in order to take seriously that ethical obligation the naked face of the Other imposes on me.
A hermeneutics of vulnerability enables one to unmask the privileged positions apartheid and colonialism have allocated to a certain group at the expense of other groups. Recognising vulnerability is a helpful step in dismantling the after-effects of apartheid. However, from a position of privilege and sovereignty, a common reaction still seems to be one of disavowal and avoidance of vulnerability.
A failure to recognise vulnerability facilitates the flourishing of oppressive social, economic and political relations, or, conversely, to undo oppressive relations it is necessary to recognise vulnerability. In other words, an assured ignorance of vulnerability is cultivated in order to achieve a sense of invulnerability in terms of a self-sufficient sovereign subjectivity. Cultivated willfully or subconsciously, invulnerability produces and maintains ignorance. It is more than not caring to know. Willful ignorance is continuously produced in the choices people make and their actions.
Moreover, vulnerability is rather objectionable when the power remains asymmetrical with the privileged not only in possession of what the vulnerable needs, but also in control of the access to that which the vulnerable needs. Manasseh in 2 King and 2 Chronicles Manasseh's Villainy in both Narratives. In the story of Manasseh in 2 Kings the kingdom of Judah is rendered extremely vulnerable because of the actions of Manasseh as king.
Manasseh receives the blame for the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles participate in the vilification of Manasseh. The sins attributed to Manasseh indicate key aspects of Deuteronomistic law. Deut Israel is warned against the abominable practices of the nations they are about to drive out of Canaan and ordered not to inquire about worshipping them in order to imitate these abhorrent practices see Deut Manasseh is accused of returning the high places and erecting high sacred poles for Asherah.
Deut The people are admonished to destroy all the high places in the hills and mountains as well as under the trees. Deut polemicises the abhorrent practices of the nations Israel drove out of Canaan: passing children through fire, practices of divination, soothsaying, augury, sorcery, consulting ghosts, and seeking oracles from the dead. Deut prohibits the shedding of innocent blood on caution of bloodguilt. Both the Deuternomist and the Chronicler provide negative portrayals of Manasseh that can be labelled with the term 'blackballing.
Ahab was the epitome of depravity in the Northern Kingdom. Manasseh is not the only king in Judah committing various idolatrous evils, but his shedding of innocent blood 2 Kings placed him at the pinnacle of those who committed cult crimes with regard to the laws laid down in the Deuteronomistic history. Manasseh's Wickedness in 2 Kings Judah's eventual exile is blamed on Manasseh's wickedness and transgression of Deutero-nomistic law. He is constructed as a scapegoat and villain in order to provide a comforting explanation for an audience struggling with exile and catastrophe.
The latter was destroyed because of their following of the cults of the foreign nations -their extreme foreignness remaining a focus in the Manasseh narrative. In fact, he was even worse than these nations in that he saw to it that Judah worshipped these idols v. His following of the foreign cults strengthens the comparison in v. Manasseh and the latter are compared to the Amorites 2 Kings and 1 Kings The reference to Ahab depicts Manasseh in ways even worse than Ahab himself.
Manasseh's wickedness has the same consequences Jerobeam's evil initially had for Israel. It is as if these three kings are in competition of being portrayed as the most evil: "Manasseh appears to have been depicted as akin to the worst monarchs, especially Israelite ones, and as the opposite of the best kings. Nevertheless, two things happen in the process: a king whose reign was 55 years long, and in terms of Deuteronomistic theology a successful king, is completely vilified and attributed the exile of a kingdom, whilst the inhabitants of the kingdom abscond their own responsibility.
Manasseh's Wickedness and Vulnerability in 2 Chronicles 2 Chronicles more or less replicates 2 Kings , except that Ahab is not mentioned in the Chronicles version. Verses tell the story quite differently from the Kings' version, perhaps with more of a recitation of generic impieties and without reference to Manasseh's slaughter of innocent people in Jerusalem.
The building of the wall, alluding to Nehemiah's own wall building project, suggests a presentation of Jerusalem as the central administrative location for the province - Jerusalem is mentioned five times in the Manasseh narrative. How does one explain the repentance of Manasseh in the Chronicles narrative?
His repentance appears to be indicative of vulnerability and subsequent change in thinking and behaviour. Readers offered various explanations. One suggested that his long reign was incompatible with the image of a scapegoat and it became theologically necessary to have him end his reign successfully. He chose the former in linking the reign to Manasseh's repentance.
The Deute-ronomistic history suggested cultic abominations, a problem even in the Persian Period. Manasseh's Ba'als, Asherah's and host of heavens became those deities that were not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: in the Diaspora the Jews were confronted with worshipping foreign deities and in Yehud, those who settled there under the migration policies of the Empire brought with them their own cult. Manasseh symbolised those Jews who accepted these foreign cults. Whereas the Kingdom of Judah experienced the consequences of Manasseh's apostasy a few generations later, retribution is immediate and personal in the book of Chronicles.
Retribution is constructed in terms of the Assyrian Empire striking Judah. Theologically, Assyria became the rod of Yahweh's anger and the club of his fury Is. While in captivity Manasseh repents and prays to YHWH, who hears his pleas and forgives him by sending him back to Jerusalem 2 Chronicles The appropriate response to his vulnerability is humility and prayer: Manasseh humbles himself before the deity and prays.
The deity, in turn, in receiving his prayer and hearing his plea, restores him. Handy argues that the trope of repentance before a merciful deity stands central to Persian and Hellenistic literature and strands of the Jewish tradition can be noticed within the rabbinic tradition and the early Christian tradition.
The Chronicler refers to it twice whereas in the Hasmonean period an apocryphal text was produced to fill in the contents of Manasseh's prayer. Manasseh backs his repentance with a building project, a military strategy, and spiritual renewal. He builds a wall around Jerusalem and staffs the fortified cities with military commanders.
Both projects allude to a strengthening of the power to resist. Moreover, in Chronicles no reference is made to child sacrifice, witchery, soothsaying or augury. It is as if something needed to be left for Josiah to do in Chronicles! Two Traditions of Manasseh's Story. It is clear that the story of Manasseh in Kings as well as Chronicles presents the reader with two traditions that developed consecutively and provided an impetus within the history of reception of Manasseh to two different readings.
Handy summarises it well:. During the period of Persian and Hellenistic rule there were two diametrically opposed trajectories regarding Manasseh that begin in the Persian period and carried on into early Judaism and Christianity. One leads straight from the book of Kings, intensifying the wickedness of Manasseh until he is presented as the tool of Satan, if not the embodiment of evil itself.
The other trajectory builds on the Chronicler's addition of Manasseh's prayer and repentance. Here Manasseh becomes the very embodiment of the penitent, producing a vision not only of a converted king but also of an all-merciful deity who provides a way to make amends for evil behaviour. Both extreme views of Manasseh are elaborations of the memory first encoded in Kings.
The wonderful, temple-restoring, good king Manasseh developed in Yehud under Persian imperial rule. The Manasseh of irredeemable evil, incorporating the entire notion of Satan as the embodiment of evil, seems, as a working hypothesis, to have originated during the Hasmonean wars and rule. Remembering Manasseh as having abandoned the true faith, cult, and people of Israel, the authors could then equate those of their day who they felt followed in his footsteps with this national exemplar of wickedness.
There is a strong tradition of regarding Manasseh in a negative light. In the Martyrdom of Isaiah Chapter 5 Manasseh becomes demonic by his participation in sawing Isaiah into two. In 2 Baruch Manasseh is associated with apocalyptic imagery of destruction.
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The portrayal of Manasseh in Rabbinical literature is quite ambivalent. The Talmud singles out Jerobeam, Ahab and Manasseh as those kings whose evilness caused them to forfeit their share in the world to come. The Talmud introduced Manasseh as a Torah-scholar who interpreted Leviticus in 35 different ways. San b he is not allowed to be judged since Yahweh already judged him. In line with his association with the Northern Kingdom, the negative interpretation of his name received further impetus in the interpretative history.
His name became suggestive of forgetfulness: he forgot God and his father Hezekiah.
In fact, he is described as poking fun at his pious father when he was brought to the synagogue in his youth. He is also said to have violated his sister. His role as scapegoat is enhanced by incest and even parricide, such as the killing of his grandfather Isaiah. In the Kings version, Manasseh is linked to two of the four and in the post-biblical literature, three of the four seem to play a role.
In the Pseudepigrapha he is depicted as being under the influence of Satan who led him to be the cause of Jerusalem's apostasy. Nevertheless, he is thought here as in the Talmud to have been a great scholar of the Torah despite his ridicule of it. The greater the scholar, the greater the evil inclination, the rabbis argued! His repentance reported in Chronicles did not go unnoticed in some rabbinical writings. His repentance redeemed him from losing out on his share of the world to come.
He regards these transgressions as lawlessness that eventually brought down the Kingdom of Judah. In addition, he credits the origin of such lawlessness to Jerobeam. One scholar made an important observation regarding the scholarly interest in Manasseh: most authors usually side with the biblical heroes, like David, Solomon, Hezekiah, or Josiah.
Villains, such as Manasseh, do not attract a lot of interest.
When the Heavens Fall
For example, he is blamed for the introduction of foreign cults despite evidence that the cult in those days differed very little from surrounding cultures or that his worshipping constituted a syncretistic cult enhanced by Assyrian beliefs. He is sometimes even accused of cult crimes not found in the biblical text. In his deviation, a personal and intentional villainy is assumed in his rejection of his father's reforms.
Starting with Levinas' ethical moment and the face-to-face dialectic with the other, reading the story of Manasseh in both Kings and Chronicles leads one to realise that the reader never really sees the face of Manasseh. He is very much a cardboard character because the narrative is manipulated to achieve other ends.
In 2 Kings 21 Manasseh's reign is long and apparently successful if one compares it with that of Solomon. He does not suffer the consequences of his wrongdoing. The people of Jerusalem suffer. Subsequently, one tends to see vulnerability in a negative light: infliction of harm and punishment upon Jerusalem. In 2 Chronicles 33, Manasseh is the one who suffers. On a different level, Manasseh as king represents autonomy, i. Yet one wonders whether his openness to other ways of worshipping does not constitute vulnerability as potential on his side, with the deity as the invulnerable opposite other.
In his story, this openness tends to be harmful to the deity, who lashes out, rendering the king vulnerable. The more historical question one would ask is whether Manasseh's behaviour as king and his openness to other forms of religions were not valid for his time when YHWH was still the chief deity and the other deities part of the pantheon. It is clear that the story in Kings searches for an explanation for the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of Judah.
It finds reason in the deeds of one person, Manasseh. A particular problem arises: the divine promise of the Davidic House's eternal presence on the throne is nullified by the deeds of a single king: "Nevertheless, the question of the Deity's culpability in reneging on the promise to the house of David and in holding the entire nation responsible for the action of one man remains.
Another possibility is that the catastrophic situation that saw the demise of the monarchy and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem is parallel to the defeat of YHWH as national deity or him actively abandoning his elected favourite, Israel. And if YHWH used the Babylonian deities in this way, it means he controls them too, preparing the way for monotheism to be finalised within the Deuteronomistic history 92 and Deuteronomy itself Deut :. The composite nature of the biblical text in overlaying traditions on top of one another presents readers with two contradictory and sometimes mutually exclusive portrayals of the deity YHWH: YHWH as the only and universal deity and YHWH as one amongst many, albeit the head of the divine council or of the other deities.
A nascent, monotheistic community in the Persian province of Beyond the River would have had a vested interest in both approaches - one more subtle and the other more direct, to critique old orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the monarchic era that still existed in Yehud. They wished to rebuff the understanding of Yahweh as the head of a pantheon, replacing it with a monotheistic Yahwism that allowed for angelic, messenger-type beings. The new view would have entailed economic benefits to the priestly scribal class in pushing for a new ideology, yet not alienating those who pay taxes and make voluntary sacrifices in the temple.
Yet, the new view made it clear that the ways of the past, worshipping Yhwh as part of a pantheon, led to the catastrophe of the exile and the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. The Exile becomes the result of the religiosity and behaviour of the past. The [new form of Yahwism] was essentially used to state more openly and directly that the old position, though still around, where Yahweh was the head of a pantheon, was a bad one.
Look what happened - Yahweh allowed us and our ancestors to suffer and be subjugated and taken into captivity because of our apostasy in worshipping him incorrectly. An unintended consequence of the development into monotheism is that the deity is made invulnerable and defended against other deities. To ask other readers questions about When the Heavens Fall , please sign up.
Is this a stand alone book, or the first book in a series? Jack Atkinson The next entry is coming this February and the next is late next year, which seems so soon. Which is amazing as this is one of the best reads I've had …more The next entry is coming this February and the next is late next year, which seems so soon. Which is amazing as this is one of the best reads I've had in ages. See 2 questions about When the Heavens Fall…. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3.
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Sort order. Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews. A fact which seems odd, because — with its huge world, multi-thread narrative, and grimdark tinged story — it is exactly the sort of fantasy I tend to look for. And I never would have had a second thought about passing it up if I had not begun seeing reviews about it. Not all of those were five star reviews, truth be told, and some of the reviewers were not glowingly compli Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews.
Not all of those were five star reviews, truth be told, and some of the reviewers were not glowingly complimentary of the story, but I heard enough to know I had to get my hands on it and give it a try.
Maybe a bit more dark and brooding, but otherwise very familiar. Basically, we have a former Guardian think kickass magical warrior-type named Luker returning to a city he had left long ago. What he has come back for is to head up a search party for his mentor think father figure who disappeared trying to apprehend a rogue mage named Mayot Mencada and retrieve a powerful artifact — a relic ominously dubbed the Book of Lost Souls. Okay, I have to admit this sounded really interesting.
And as Mr. Turner began getting his quest group together and sending them out into this huge world I was really excited. Then Mr. Turner pulled the rug out from under me. The first locale is a small kingdom on the edge of the Forest of Sighs. But though he presents a brave face to the world, our young lord is haunted by fear — a deep seated fear that the forest spirits will once again take over his mind, driving him back into the state of insanity that he only too recently emerged from.
And this apprehension is beginning to grow as the realization sets in that there is a power stirring in the forest that might be even worse than the spirits themselves. Across the continent, Parolla is a young woman driven by a seemingly impossible quest. For this god took someone or something important to her, and she will not rest until she uncovers a way to get it back. Lastly, there is the rather pompous, pleasure loving priestess named Romany, follower of the Spider goddess.
And when this crafty divinity shows up unexpectedly telling Romany she must go forth on an important and dangerous mission to the Forest of Sighs, the priestess is very unhappy, mainly because she will not be able to take her daily bubble bath and partake of her gourmet meals. But one cannot turn down a god, so off Romany goes to aid a rogue wizard who has a strange artifact that the Spider goddess does not want Shroud to retrieve. From this multi-threaded story, Mr. Turner weaves an intricate plot which slowly brings Luker, Ebon, Parolla, and Romany to life, unveils more than a few behind-the-scenes power players, carefully molds a vivid world in which all the events take place, and eventually draws everyone together for a rousing conclusions.
All of it done in a style that other reviewers have compared to Steven Erikson. Not having had the pleasure to sample Mr. The fact that so much background, geography, and lore was also interwoven into those initial chapters really made me feel like I was drowning in a fantasy information ocean. But as the tale moved along and I became familiar with everyone and everything, those problems mostly disappeared — though, obviously, I did have my favorite characters and wished more of my time was spent with them as opposed to others.
All in all, I enjoyed When the Heavens Fall. Sure, it was a difficult story to get into, but the payoff for being patient was very rewarding. This is a dark, epic novel. One filled with complex necromancy, dark sorcery and more than a few monsters and gods. There are heroes and villains, intrigue and combat, mystery and magic; all of it set in a very intricately detailed world with a living history that springs to life before your eyes. And the four main characters who carry you through this initial foray into Mr. Yes, the web Mr. Turner weaves here is large and complex, but if you have the patience to stay with it, everything slowly clicks into place like a huge jigsaw puzzle being solved and ends with a truly mesmerizing conclusion.
Tor provided this book to me for free in return for an honest review. The review above was not paid for or influenced in any way by any person, entity or organization, but is my own personal opinions. Turner's debut is sporting a departmental line of structure rarely seen in modern fiction. Pick a random fantasy book from your bookshelf. Turn it upside down.
Read the summary. Now tell me the plot. No, wait, let me do that for you. You have a story told either from one or from multiple points of view, by several main characters. You follow the Protagonists' personal stories, and in doing so you sometimes witness a greater plot arc that involves the fate of an empire, or even that of a world. W Turner's debut is sporting a departmental line of structure rarely seen in modern fiction. Well, in When The Heavens Fall that's not the case at all, but exactly the opposite. The main theme is a possible destruction of the world and the enslavement of all people, and we get to see the circumstances that led to that event, as well as the events that follow, witnessing the final outcome.
In doing so, we follow the paths carved by the people that directly influenced the story, but make no mistake; they are not the protagonists. The story itself is. Such an uncivilized use of gold, particularly since, as even the priestess knew, the metal was soft and therefore entirely unsuited for use as armor.
Such wanton profligacy! Such vulgar exhibitionism! Perhaps when this was over she would find a better use for that gold It is gritty, brooding and intimate, featuring a well-thought-out magic system that is the most important and integral part of the story. The world building is mesmerizing, and it's subtly implied that there is a lot more going on outside the story. The greatest part of it though, is the motives of the protagonists. Each and every character has it's own reasons to be part of the story, and yet every action -and inaction- is intertwined with some other character's path, creating a complex web of inter-colliding circumstances.
Merin has to follow his Emperor's commands and retrieve the book for him. Chamery intends on stealing the power for himself. Jenna is following Luker, the only person left in her miserable life. Ebon wants to save his kingdom. Vale wants to protect Ebon. Garat's intend is to avenge his brother's death. Romany is following her Goddess' instructions. Parolla wants to find a way to Shroud's kingdom, and finally, Mottle is a crazy motherfucker who doesn't need a fucking reason to do anything.
I recommend it for your next read. View 2 comments. Because of that, I am super excited to dive into his second book and see how a new plot structure with a new cast of characters unfolds. Plus the second book is called Dragon Hunters, which already has my immediate attention.
Turner set a really cool atmosphere with his world building — a rather ominous overtone shrouded with secrets. He even hinted at several cool magics and gave us a glimpse into some fascinating nonhuman characters. So, even though he set the stage brilliantly, where he took the story left a little to be desired. They were perspectives from each aspect of the mystery surrounding a magical book, and the reader learned very early on what was going on.
So it was a case of dramatic irony as the characters slowly got onto the same page as the reader. Another issue that perpetuated this problem was pacing. Everybody just kind of maintained status quo for a good bulk of the book and so at times it felt like we were switching POVs just for the sake of and not because that perspective had something interesting and new to show us.
So for that reason, I feel the book could have been stronger had the plot been tightened with a bit more focus within each POV. This is also likely the main reason why it took me a full two weeks to get through. All that said, I still have an overall positive attitude towards the book and thought the things it did well, it did really well. Recommendations: this is a slow burn fantasy that built a great foundation to this cool world and had a cast of highly interesting characters even if they were a tad flat.
Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www. Other books you might like View all 4 comments. At first glance, this seemed like your classic quest narrative. All the characters and events appeared to be linked to the theft of an extremely powerful and dangerous magical artifact called the Book of Lost Souls. Hidden long ago by the death god Shroud, a rogue mage called Mayot Mencada has since uncovered the tome and spirited it away deep into the Forest of Sighs.
This sparks the beginning of the story for four different characters, each with their own agendas. Luker is a former Guardian who embarks on this journey to search not for the book but for his mentor, who was the last person to go after Mayot. Tasked to keep an eye on things is a priestess named Romany, whose patron goddess the Spider was the one who manipulated Mayot into stealing the book in the first place. However, When the Heavens Fall does not follow this format, instead switching from viewpoint to viewpoint randomly within chapters, which is one reason why the first pages gave me so much trouble.
This constant jumping around — especially when the story is dealing with multiple characters in different locations — gives the introduction a sense of disorganization. To its credit, the book picks up by a lot after the first half. Each plot thread does have its ups and downs, though. And because Romany so often dealt in the metaphysical realm and appeared in a spiritual form, that abstraction might have predisposed me against her chapters. This is a very large and intricate web that Marc Turner has spun, and while it does take a little patience, I promise everything will eventually click into place.
The ending is truly superb. After reading When the Heavens Fall, I can definitely see that, though I would say his writing style leans more towards the former author than the latter. Magic is a very complex and abstract concept here, and in a novel like this which is not immune to its fair share of common fantasy tropes, I have to say the system of necromancy and dark sorcery is its most unique and striking aspect. The biggest obstacle was the pacing, which was uneven in parts and slowed the momentum. For you, this could end up one of your favorite reads this year.
For me, it was an experience I wish I could have enjoyed more. It was a new and refreshing encounter with a very different kind of sword and sorcery. View 1 comment. Seek not beauty in death. Consider not your own life. And, besides pirates and great female character in it, I was intrigued by this story in which world setting is such that mages are using their powers based on four elements; in essence an elemental magic system where earth power is dominant over air, where air rules water, water fire and fire earth.
And now when I have finished it I am overwhelmed by how much this book has to offer. So, what this book is about? Well, it all starts with a book itself. Until one day that book is stolen and one of most powerful sorcerers of the Dark Tower, a veteran necromancer Mayor Mencada, is set to retrieve it. After a time his regular reports became scarce and then nonexistent. Long silence was the only answer and after yet another retrieving mission failed, strange rumors are reaching the Empire; rumors of terrifying evil in Forest of Sigh, in ancient capitol Estapharriol, which is buried beneath the trees.
Luker Essendar is an ex-Guardian, an elite soldier, who has ability to use his power called Will in order to, for example, ever so slightly influence laws of physics and inanimate objects that abide by them. So it figures how such ability makes him master of swordsman and excellent tactician. While other mages, necromancers and Gods might succumb to their delusions of omnipotence, Luker had eyes only for task at hand.
But also, he is a broken man, returning to his homeland after losing whatever he ought so many years ago to find. Finally and completely unexpectedly, it is in his homeland that he will find something to seek for. His former master, member of Guardian Council, Kanon who seems lost after he was sent to retrieve certain sorcerer. Actually, if it was up to her, she would be entirely devoted to peaceful baths and good vine. And for that task she sends her high priestess, a task from which Romany will learn just how much she resembles her Goddess.
He successfully defends his kingdom from local tribesmen and spirits of long lost nation that still dwells in the forest of their ultimate demise, while preparing himself to take the throne and negotiate truce with northern ruler of Sartor, Consel Garat Hallon. Until one night, while hosting the peacetalks, his capitol is attacked by the people believed to be long extinct and their spirits trapped in the forest. But this people are far from spirits, because they are indeed banging at his door in flesh and blood. And when he hits them down, they get back up, refusing to die.
Parolla Morivan is a necromancer running from the zealots of the Antlered God and its worshiper Lord of the Hunt. She is also looking for a door to the Underworld and a God that usurp its throne, Shroud. This God gifted her with great powers, so vast and cruel in its core, that they make her one of the most powerful sorceress in the known world, but also loneliest, because none living creature could stand beside her, without her corrupting it, taking its life force from it, until it withers to ashes.
And she is looking forward expressing her gratitude for such gift in person. Marc Turner did incredible work creating this world with deeply rooted history in it, astonishingly creative magic system and diverse characterization. Nor did he take reader by his hand to explain to him how grass is green, sky blue and water wet. But above everything else, he used subtlety. Not just in characterization, but in worldbuilding, telling the story etc. Romany is obviously not ready to jump to action, after years of spending secluded in a temple, in luxury and lazing while minions served her.
But she accepts, although grudgingly and because she has no choice in the matter. There's also part of her that is power-crazy as her Goddess, and this is a great opportunity to gain even more power. So, in order for Spider to transport her to place where she needs her, she has to deconstruct Romany in atomic particles, for the sake of safeness, and more importantly - speed, and then she reassembles her upon they arrival at destination.
This not just subtly adds more layers and builds a character without overwhelming the reader with characters history, convoluted plot or something else, but successfully leaves a space for a characters build up in more ways than few, while moving the plot and story forward. And book is filled with many other examples such as this. Regrettably I have to say that those who find Steven Erikson's books challenging will find this one to be that too.
Even I who somehow managed to complete a ten days marathon of Malazan books had to put down this novel a bit from time to time and rest my eyes and my brain. Those who enjoy Malazan world should have this as priority. View all 15 comments. Truly epic magical battles. Highly recommended for anyone into epic fantasy with a dark edge. From the characters, to the world-building, to the story, to the narration, Marc Turner's debut just feels like something I'd almost swear I read 25 years ago. That's not necessarily a bad thing - many of my favorite epics are from that era - but it will certainly present a challenge to readers who've become accustomed to something more polished and more complex.
I've already seen some readers complain about the world-building, but I appreciated both the world itself and the way it's built. What you have to understand is that Turner's style is about as far away from info-dumping as you can get. He throws us head-first us into the story, drags us along, and simply expects us to catch up. The politics, mythology, and magic are revealed in sporadic dribs and drabs, often through conversation or internal monologues. You have to pay attention, and you have to make some connections on your own to have the story come together, and I liked that.
As for the characters, I liked them, and was certainly invested in their fates, but I'll be the first to admit they could have benefited from a little more emotional depth. The Lurker and Jenna were an interesting pair, playing off one another nicely, but neither one grabbed me and screamed HERO! Ebon was a legitimate hero, but a little too good to be interesting - he really needed a just a few darker, selfish aspects to round him out.
Romany was pretty much his polar opposite, a legitimate villain, but a little too bad to be truly interesting, although I loved her interactions with Spider.