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. 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.
"Romany's gaze lingered on the coats of golden chain mail worn by the undead champions. 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..."
When the Heavens Fall is great in a lot of aspects. 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.
Luker wants to find his mentor. 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.
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All in all, When the Heavens Fall is an interesting format, and one that you don't see very often, offering a break from ordinary fantasy. I highly recommend it for your next read.