Published: November 2016, by Smashwords
Length: 276 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Married to the prettiest wife in the world, having many loyal friends and his own law firm, Jack Mann is about to receive the Lawyer of the Year Award, when he finds himself outside a movie theatre, face-to-face with a male giant, wearing a skirt who offers Jack videos of his wife and friends' darkest secrets. Jack enters the movie theatre and finds out that he too has done terrible things, some which he forgot to remember. What can Jack do, now that he is dead?
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This in no way influences my opinions.
Heavenwood isn't really the type of book I'm used to, or one that I might normally read. Most aspects of this novel were completely different to what I'm used to reading, however, this was in no way a bad thing and I really enjoyed this book, particularly for its themes and the twists and turns in the plot line. This was something that pleased me for the entirety of the novel, and also one of my favourite things about the novel as a whole.
I'll admit, initially I was slightly confused with everything that occurred in the outset of the novel - we see a few different points of view, some of which appear to be told as flashbacks, and straightaway they seem to be completely separate storylines to each other. It was only when I continued reading for a little longer that I realised this was not at all the case. The plot lines interwove really well, and a lot faster than I had anticipated, which I believe the story benefited from. This meant that it didn't take too long for the story to 'introduce' itself and set out the main plot line.
The characters in Heavenwood were initially slightly confusing people for me, before the plot lines had straightened themselves out. Jack is our main character, who has just died and gone to 'Heavenwood', and Nikka is his wife, now widow. We see Jack's friend Dickson in a few of the scenes, too, who appears to be attempting to get with Nikka following Jack's death, which I think is the part I found to be the most confusing. However, I was happy by the end of the novel when everything was revealed regarding these characters - it was a satisfying reveal and ending and I was content with the character progression, particularly that of Jack, throughout the course of the novel - I definitely found that I liked him as a person more towards the end.
In terms of the writing in Heavenwood, I have no faults to pick up on. Perhaps the style of writing isn't what I'm used to reading and what I'd necessarily pick when I look for a novel, but in terms of how it told the story, it was pretty fast-paced yet also descriptive. The length of this novel was something that I thought benefited the story as a whole, and since it is a fairly short book it was able to get to the point quite quickly - I liked this. Overall, though, I had no problems with the writing in this book - it definitely did what it needed to and conveyed the story well.
In the least negative way possible, the story of Heavenwood was slightly confusing from time to time. I did feel that parts of it were difficult to follow, and while the concept behind the story was definitely interesting, it was also strange until I managed to get my head around it. I liked the themes behind the story, particularly the ideas of forgiveness and learning more about yourself, and I also really liked the idea this story proposed about what happens to you when you die, and it was definitely an interesting touch for all of the characters in the story to be dead.
Some parts of the story did seem slightly far-fetched to me, even for a novel set in an after-world of sorts. I'm not quite sure how I felt about all the murders that everybody had committed. Obviously, murders do happen, and there are murderers who go undiscovered, but for a great deal of the principal characters to have killed someone at some point seemed slightly too far for me, but it definitely was an interesting touch.
Overall, I liked this book. I liked how deep it was, and how it left me as the reader with so many moral questions and thoughts. This story did touch me a lot, and made me consider things about my life and my choices that I definitely wouldn't have thought of before reading Heavenwood. For that reason, I think it's quite an important book for a wide audience to read, and therefore I would recommend it to (young) adults who are a fan of urban fantasy books, particularly those which deal with death or life after death. I gave Heavenwood 3.5 stars overall, because I did really enjoy it, but like most other books, it had a few minor faults that just prevented it from being amazing, in my opinion. It was still a really good read though, and I'd be interested in keeping an eye on this author for any future work.
If you're interested in reading Heavenwood (and I really suggest that you give it a go!) you can purchase it from the following sites:
I hope you have enjoyed reading this review, and I'll be back with more very soon!
If you've read Heavenwood then I'd love to know what you thought!