Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RD Clark's Excellent Review

RD Clark posts a very kind review:

Tears of Heaven, by RA McCandless, is a fantasy novel with a different and interesting approach. While fantasy novels are common, most are based on Greco-Roman, Nordic, Asian, or Western European mythology. True, you can find them based on almost any mythic system, but the others are rare.

McCandless’ Tears of Heaven is one of the rare ones, based on Judeo-Christian mythology. No, not the over-used end-of-days nonsense. He takes specific passages from the Old Testament, targeting sections people who’ve never read the Bible would be surprised at and many who’ve read it prefer to pretend aren’t there.

Angels are shown not as protectors of humankind, but as the Old Testament presented them, heaven’s hit man. At times they’ve been presented in such a way in fiction, but not often, not usually as well, and seldom in ways as carefully based on Biblical passages. McCandless quotes some of the passages he bases his novel on.

Tears of Heaven centers around one of the Nephilim, a child of a human woman fathered by an angel. In this novel the Nephilim have life spans of thousands of years. Del, a Nephilim, is employed by The Throne (call it heaven, God, a powerful angel, whatever) to eliminate rogues, fallen angels trying to gain power on earth. It isn’t the first time such a device has been used, but I’ve never seen it handled better.

She isn’t happy with the job, but The Throne has blackmailed her into doing it. The surface plot is simple enough. She finds a rogue, has a vicious fight with it, and banishes it. The concept could be boring, but McCandless doesn’t let it. Del’s mental conflicts, her interactions with other major characters, and the carefully-crafted personalities of those involved keep the reader interested and make Del a sympathetic protagonist.

The action scenes, and there are plenty of them, are exceptionally well done. It’s a pleasure to find an author like McCandless who understands that the laws of physics are real. Mass is mass, velocity is velocity, and a few pistol bullets aren’t going to send a man-sized being flying backward or stop a charging demon. Kill it, maybe, but not before it has time to reach you.

This is MY boomstock!
Actually Tears of Heaven is two novels combined, one dealing with Del in the ancient past, one set in modern times. Both are excellent and well interwoven, showing ways her earlier life influences her today. A few brief forays into ethics, philosophy, and theology, are somewhat pedantic if taken by themselves, but ultimately help explain Del’s character and behavior.

If you like a well-constructed, fast-moving fantasy with interesting twists, I think you’ll enjoy Tears of Heaven by RA McCandless.

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