REVIEW BY KNICKY LAUREL
Author name: J. Edward Ritchie
Book Title: Fall From Grace
The Synopsis: Heaven: a paradise of all that is pure in Creation. Led by brothers Michael and Satanail, the Angelic Host is a testament to cosmic harmony and love. But when an unprecedented revelation threatens to uproot their peace, a schism splits the Host’s loyalties. Every angel has to make a choice: faith or freedom. Good or evil. Salvation or damnation.
War consumes Heaven in the first and most destructive loss of life that Creation will ever know. As brother turns on brother, the fate of Heaven and Earth rests in the hands of the Creator’s chosen son, Michael. How far will he go, what will he sacrifice in the name of their Father, to protect his family?
Witness the tragic downfall of a civilization told from both sides of a bloody rebellion. More than myth, more than legend, Heaven’s war will forever stand as a harrowing warning that even the purest of souls can fall from grace.
Length: 424 pages
Release date: January 14, 2015
Available formats: Paperback and Kindle from Amazon
Purchase link: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Gcsr4c
Author Bio: J. Edward Ritchie grew up in Connecticut and attended Boston College. He worked as a screenwriter in Los Angeles for ten years before relocating with his wife to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. For his world creation style of fiction, he finds inspiration across literature, comics, films, and video games. Fall From Grace is his first novel.
“Michael stood at the precipice of a remote mountain that pierced the clouds like a monolith of natural grandeur.”
This opening line captures perfectly the crux of this story, with one of our two protagonists standing at the precipice of one of the most important decisions in heaven’s history, one that concerns the direction of angelkind, and future of angels and human beings both. That decision does pierce the peace that heaven has always known, as it rends the hosts into two factions – one which dedicates itself to protecting and serving humanity, and the other which seeks to destroy it and fly in the face of The Creator.
This is the story of heaven and hell, a story of angels and demons, of humans and hope. It is an account of the fall of Satan, the first humans and the origin of sin. The stage on which it is set is fascinating, the worldbuilding excellent and very imaginative. The best worldbuilding is the kind that can strike the balance between feeling full and leaving you genuinely curious, wanting to delve even deeper into that world. Ritchie strikes this balance well.
In tandem with its rich worldbuilding, Fall From Grace is a triumph of solid, if not stellar, characterization, with the interactions between the two protagonists being subtle and a point of much interest. However, it is Satanail’s development that I found slightly ill-paced and off-putting; personally, I would have liked to seen him struggle with the first lie he tells before telling it, for example. Up until that point in the story even though he had been characterized as spirited and in charge – perhaps even a bit overconfident and ego-driven – he was still a good and virtuous being, and so I found the sudden change in him jarring, especially so early on in the story.
That initial twisting of his character then seems only to occur for the convenience and service of the plot rather than for any other reason I could think of, and as a result he just comes across as evil by nature and design rather than by circumstance and situation. Despite that however, there are still great moments of character interaction and dialogue between him and Michael, moments that are quiet but disquieting, moments that – along with the lovely, clear descriptive prose and great, snappy dialogue – linger.
The overall pacing of the story unfolds quite well, as Ritchie takes on humanity’s impulse to believe in something unanswerable and bigger than everything that is, and tell its story. Through an awesome exploration of faith-based mythos and our insistent, insatiable hunger for salvation and hope, he weaves a high fantasy tale of truly epic proportions, and does so with a wonderful, effortless sense of how to craft a good story.
“The future is laden with secrets. Shall we uncover them together?” – Fall From Grace, J. Edward Ritchie.
Overall Orb Rating
4 Orbs – Shipshape (I enjoyed the journey)
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