Maybe you’ve found yourself with some extra reading time. Or, maybe you’re looking for a good book to get cozy with. Either way, Uniting the Heavens should be on your reading list.
Uniting the Heavens is a fantasy novel by author Emily English.
I’ll start by admitting that I usually don’t read self-published books. While I admire any author who’s completed writing a story and put in the work to have it published, my experience with self-published novels has been underwhelming. Too often, I find that they have overly-complicated, yet clichéd, plotlines, or stray into fan fiction romance. I can honestly and gladly say that Uniting the Heavens does neither.
The plot is strong and nuanced, as are the characters. It’s fast-paced, with an intriguing plot full of mystery and character-driven action.
The story begins by introducing Aren and his young sister, Selina. Things start out with a bang, as Aren’s fishing getaway is interrupted by a man bearing an urgent message. Aren and Selina become caught up in the man’s mission to deliver the letter to Aren’s home city of Tiede.
What ensues is a breakneck journey through the mysterious Tiede Wood as events are set in motion that will impact the futures of Aren, Selina and all of Tiede.
I’ll admit I found the beginning’s fast pace was a bit overwhelming. A lot of names and concepts are introduced along with hints about Aren’s past. This is the rockiest part of the story. Stick with it until the characters arrive at the city of Tiede. Here the story begins to unfold and readers will be rewarded as many of the earlier questions are answered.
Throughout the story the characterization is overall strong with an emphasis on interaction. The writing does not monologue back-story, but offers indications based on interactions and reactions to the events of the story. As a reader, I especially appreciate this because it’s much more interesting to read. Also on the subject of character, this story has quite a few. The main characters are Aren, an apprentice librarian, and Kaila an elemental water spirit. The view point is split between Aren and Kaila.
The second thing that stood out to me was the relationships between Aren and his family. You find out early on that Aren is a foundling of unknown origins. Yet he has strong ties to his brothers, and especially his sister Selina. The portrayal of this bond was one of my favorite things. I especially liked the character of Selina. Throughout the story she deals with an upheaval of her world, that parallels Aren’s. Her connection to the land, the water spirit Kaila, is part of the ongoing mystery of the deeper plot. So is her connection to Aren. I often find sibling ties like this+ lacking in modern novels. It’s refreshing to see thought given to these relationships. It adds depth to the characters and plays a key part in the overall plot.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the lack of ‘insta-love’. Although there is romance, it is slowly woven throughout the story instead of being the driving force. Aren’s love interest is also not immediately recognizable, so it doesn’t come across as too forced.
Another strong point, especially for me, is that it can be read as a standalone novel. While the overall story is intended to be a series, this book answers many of the questions it raises and ties up the main plot line. While questions remain, the story does not end on a cliff hanger forcing you to immediately dive into the next book. Hallelujah, thank you!
Overall, Uniting the Heavens was an enjoyable read, with intriguing characters and enough mysteries to keep me guessing. I definitely recommend picking up a copy and settling in for the evening or afternoon. Visit Emily English’s site EnglishScribbles, or grab it on kindle.
This review was not solicited, or sponsored.