Book Review: The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

the-seventh-age-dawnThe Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 1

Publisher: Inkshares (January 17, 2017)

Length: 429 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

The Seventh Age: Dawn certainly knows how to kick things off with style. In fact, the very first page opens with us standing twenty-one floors up above the city of Chicago on an I beam with our protagonist Mike Auburn, a man with a death wish. Rather, he is obsessed with death; everyone he has ever loved has crossed into the great unknown, and now Mike flirts regularly with it in the hopes of glimpsing the ghosts of his past on the other side. As it happens, Mike’s penchant for death defying stunts and near-death experiences also catches the attention of a group looking to recruit a candidate of his skills and interests.

Before long, Mike finds himself joining forces with a mysterious organization led by a man called O’Neil, enlisted into the war against the coming apocalypse. Soon our hero is battling demons, staving off the encroaching forces of the Unification whose aims involve resurrecting a powerful being named Lazarus so that they can usher in a new age where magic will once again reign supreme. After devouring the heart of the monster Golgoroth, Mike transcends his own humanity, becoming the key to an age-old conflict between the realms of supernatural beings.

I enjoyed The Seventh Age: Dawn for the most part, though I’ll also be honest and say that there were times where I really struggled. It’s an ambitious book for sure, though it also suffers occasionally from excessiveness and bloat, a common issue for first novels where you get the sense that the author is trying to cram as much as possible into their debut effort. Rick Heinz throws in everything but the kitchen sink: angels, demons, warlocks, vampires, ghosts, shapeshifters, and I’m sure there are quite a few more creatures that I’m forgetting. I believe therein lies part of the problem. There was simply too much to process such a short time, and in the end I felt like I was only able to absorb a small fraction of the information deluge.

Fortunately, after a few false starts I managed to fall into an easier rhythm, though I also can’t help but feel that “rhythm” might be a wildly inaccurate term to describe the nature of this book. The plot is complicated and rather dense, and the reader is dropped hard into the thick of things straight from the beginning. To the novel’s credit, at no point does the story slow down as we’re thrust into one frenetic situation after another. There’s really nothing soft or predictable about it.

That said though, for an urban fantasy, it’s a bit on the heavier side for my tastes. This is my go-to genre from straight-up fun, not to wrack my brain teasing out multiple impenetrable layers of hidden agendas or trying to work out who’s who. A book with so much action should not feel tedious, or else there’s something not right going on, and I just feel that the story tries to do too much at times and things can get very messy especially with the overabundance of POV characters. The constant shifts and back-and-forths made it nearly impossible to connect with any one person, and trying to keep all the names straight was one reason why I had difficulty getting into this book early on. Another issue is wordiness. In my opinion, there are quite a few scenes that could have been cut down or omitted altogether.

Still, the overall concept is a good one, even if the execution was a little shaky. For all the pomp and zeal that The Seven Age: Dawn tries to pack into its 400 or so pages, the overall plot is relatively light on substance, though that could change in the next installment. Rick Heinz may have tried to cover too much ground in this series opener, but there’s no denying that he’s created an interesting world that I wouldn’t mind exploring further. I also enjoyed the gritty dry tone he established for the rest of the series, a style which reminds me somewhat of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim. Perhaps I just need to spend more time in this world to form stronger attachment to the characters and to get a better sense of where things stand.

3stars

Mogsy 2

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17 Comments on “Book Review: The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz

  1. I don’t go to urban fantasy just for fun, so I don’t think the heaviness would bother me, but the POV shifts would. I find it hard to connect to anyone when the POV jumps around too often, and I’m a character person. I’ve had my eye on this one, but I think I’ll wait to see how the second book is before deciding.

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    • I may just be more used to UF written in the first person (it just occurred to me that most of the series I follow are written in this narrative mode). Juggling multiple POVs might work better for others 🙂

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  2. This sounds like a very “crowded” book indeed, and as you rightly say it might be because the author wanted to share all of his creations all at once, instead of pacing himself. It’s a good thing that this did not turn you off from the story itself, although I must admit that angels, demons and assorted otherwordly beings are not exactly my cup of tea… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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    • I did like the overall story. Some streamlining might have helped improve the flow, but at least we have the full gist of things now 🙂 And I don’t mind angels and demons, sometimes they’re a good diversion from my usual shapeshifter UF 🙂

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  3. I agree, I equate UF with “fun” and a fast paced plot. I haven’t heard of this, too bad it didn’t work that well, but it sounds like the author has potential:-D

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    • Yeah, typically I pick up UF whenever I’m in the mood for something light – I know not everyone is the same way though, and some UF can be pretty heavy and cerebral! 🙂 This series definitely has potential, and I’m curious about the sequel.

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  4. Thanks so much for the review! Since I’m well into my sequel, I can say for certain that I’m dialing the amount of POV characters down from the first. I’ll be the first to admit that for my first book, I totally tried to bite off a bit much! (Hindsight, 20/20 ya?) Still, I’m glad you had enjoyed the world set-up. This is a fantastic review of my book from an outsiders perspective that offers good feedback on whats working and what’s not.

    Hopefully you come back for book 2!

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      • I’ve read a lot of your reviews and they are always insightful and amazing. So it’s been an honor to be featured here. Plus I’m pretty sure we’ve been on the same server for more than a few games. :). I’ll fade back for now, unless you have any questions though. I’m always willing to talk craft and gaming! One thing I can say, is when I embarked on this, I wanted to merge my two favorite genres: epic fantasy and urban fantasy. Hence the multiple POV and larger scale idea. But there is all kinds of fun stuff… like what got left on the publishers editing room floor, and my favorite–A Chicago street address that got swapped in copy edit to no longer exist. (I’m from Chicago so all of my friends have been sassing me about it).

        Anyway, thank you so much! Your feedback really does mean a lot to me. I will endeavor to improve!

        ~Rick.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is too cool! Always great to read books by authors who are fellow gamers. And I could definitely see the parallel in the multiple POVs with epic fantasy. I didn’t write about it here, but I’ve noted on this aspect in some of my other reviews 🙂 I think it’s easier for me to get into multiple POVs when I know to expect them, but sometimes I can still have a pretty hard time even when I’m reading epic fantasy, and that’s actually one of my favorite genres! 😀

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          • Gah! Okay, so I’ve gotta ask then. Because this one has been eating at me: When we (publisher and I) came up with the plan on the back of the book to market it, we had two pitches, one was pitched as sort of your standard urban fantasy fare with just Mike as the main hero. The other focused on the global conspiracy and a cast of characters.

            In a way, we kinda didn’t want to get into any of the conspiracy or the fact that it was a multi-pov book (with I’ll admit, one to many), because it might have given away too much. Particularly by revealing Gabriel and Delilah. On top of that, there was originally chapter art for each of the character sections, that made it clear whose POV you were in. Both of those we swapped at the last minute and took them out due to some metrics from distributors.

            Would it have been less jarring if you knew up front, and also, had the chapter art? (Which also had the dates and timeline as well).

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          • Well, knowing that it’s a multi-POV book would have been helpful, but I probably wouldn’t have wanted that at the expense of ruining any surprises. If I had to choose between a synopsis that is more vague versus one that would give away too much, I would err on the side of the former. The chapter art would also have been really cool, but I doubt that would have been a game changer 🙂

            I think in the end you all made the right call!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review – and to add to your comments above, forearmed, etc. I think the general concept with UF is that it will be a rather quick paced read and not be too mentally challenging (sorry, but there it is) so, knowing that this isn’t going to be quite as straightforward as you’re expecting is an absolute bonus before picking it up.
    Lynn 😀

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    • Haha, I know what you mean. I guess it’s got something to do with the type of UF I’m drawn to (Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, etc.) which gives me that general outlook and expectation, but there’s definitely a wide range out there.

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  6. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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