Monday, 4 November 2013

Steve Holak

4/5

The Winds of Heaven and Earth



Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

Both the title and cover of this book was beautiful but I couldn't gage anything from it. The lone man on the cliff top, was he about to jump? Admiring the view? Disposing of a body? It could be a love story, thriller, romance or possibly a fantasy.

The blurb straightens out the genre: fantasy, so now the title takes on a whole new meaning. One thing that did confuse me a little was the line: What he discovers about his adopted wife's hidden past. Having read the book, I now understand that line but at first, I felt it was a typo - he'd adopted his wife?

The sample didn't hook me straight away, I must admit. It opened like a run-of-the-mill crime story, and the newspaper stories were dull. It wasn't until chapter one that my interest was piqued. 

I loved the opening line Demons chased Jordan Parish down the beach and as the book opens, I learn that Melanie, Jordan's pregnant wife has gone missing. Jordan's anger is apparent (he's feeling helpless, lost and confused) but I get no grief or sadness from him and that makes him a little cold.

The Winds of Heaven and Earth took off for me when Jordan travelled to Hawaii after his missing wife's necklace was found on Big Island. There, the magic and fantasy began, and with a cynic like Jordan, it was interesting to see how his character would come to terms with the supernatural elements of the story. 

I discover that, as a child, Melanie was found wandering without knowing how she got there and without memory of her past. 
It’s fascinating to be there with Jordan as is dawns on him that Melanie’s stepbrother, Chase (his close friend) knows the mystery to her disappearance, and that it’s no coincidence that his grandmother, Lena, was also “found” as a child and without a memory of her past. The two people who he trusts the most seem to be conspiring against him, but before he demands answers dark forces whisk Jordan and Chase away. They are separated and Jordan thinks Chase is dead.

Jordan ends up seemingly back in the past (it made me think of Merlin and King Arthur), where he learns his wife is a princess and her father, High Lord Namana, believes her to be dead. He also thinks Jordan is her murderer. It takes a lot for Namana to believe that not only is she alive, she grew up, married Jordan and is expecting his grandchild.

In this new world Jordan discovers Lena, his wife's grandmother and Chase were the keepers of his wife’s secret and know of the prophecy that she, or rather her baby, has to fulfil. It's a very visual read, and as you can probably tell from my review, heavy at times.

It has a strong storyline with excellent characterisation that you have affinity for. The main character, Jordan, seemed like a real flesh and blood person lost in a fantasy novel. He's potty-mouthed, aggressive and impulsive, and at times I wanted to throttle him but it made the story REAL.

It is a complex story with many twists and turns and with characters, which I think, will come into their own in the follow up to The Winds of Heaven and Earth. It's not a stand-alone read, but the ending isn't too much of a cliffhanger. 

The chapters opened with quotes from famous poets or authors like Merwin and Arthur C Clarke, which had a nice touch.

No editing issues.

Blurb

How far would you go to save your wife and child?



To another world?

When Jordan Parish's wife Melanie disappears shortly after the couple announce their pregnancy, everyone assumes the motive is ransom.

But six months pass with no demand, and when the FBI discovers the only clue to her disappearance, a missing family heirloom worn by Melanie the day she vanished--with Jordan's blood on it--the investigation turns to the temperamental and volatile Jordan.

Desperate to find his wife and clear his name, Jordan mounts an investigation of his own. What he discovers about his adopted wife's hidden past plunges him plunges him into the world of mystery and magic surrounding their families. And when Jordan and Melanie's brother Chase pursue strange assailants into a mysterious storm, Jordan is cast into a realm where he finds his child at the center of a struggle for power surrounding the culmination of a centuries-old prophecy.

The Winds of Heaven and Earth launches a new fantasy trilogy, blending epic and contemporary genres in the tradition of Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber