3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Set in a world comprising eight empires, Heaven’s Expedition, a fictional novel by Joshua Giem, follows archaeologists on their journey across the "Great Ranges" (gigantic mountains) to the sunward pole of the world (the side the world that faces the sun) in search of the "Forebears" (a prehistorical civilization) and their world-transforming technology. In anticipation of the dangers that come with crossing the "Great Ranges," Haye Zintan, the main character, is recruited for this expedition for her gun skills. Different creatures and monsters encountered along the way ensure that the journey is anything but straightforward, and Haye's past as an outlaw wanted by the "White Hats" (ruthless bounty hunters) further complicates things. Will they be successful? If they are successful, will their expectations be fulfilled at the sunward pole of the world?
The book is a plot-driven novel with many intriguing features, from armed airships to reptilian creatures employed in explorations. We follow the action-packed story, written in the first-person perspective, through the eyes of the main character, Haye Zintan. Although the story kicks off with a slow pace, the plot's pace picks up early on, as we get a better understanding of the dynamics between the characters and the challenges they face.
"The few individuals entangled in barbed wire were lacerated beyond recognition. The field of battle ran green. It could have been mistaken for a verdant carpet of moss. The thick blood stained the water pools a brilliant green. The smell of decay hadn’t yet set in. Instead, a plethora of different smells filled the air: sweat, organs, blood."
The first thing that captivated me in the book was Joshua Giem's detailed descriptive writing style, especially in action scenes where the characters were in danger, as I was left on the edge of my seat anticipating what would happen next. A good example of the author's style of writing is included in the previous paragraph, and it ensured that I had a clear picture of events throughout the story. This, however, means that details of killings and violence are included, and the book will not appeal to readers that are sensitive to such scenes.
There is also an interesting debate involving religion and science between some characters in the story as they share their ideas and expectations of what exactly lies at the sunward pole of the world. This added another layer of excitement for me while I read. Furthermore, it was great that Heaven’s Expedition was a well-edited book, as I didn't find any errors throughout my read. This ensured that my reading flow was maintained throughout.
My main issue with the book has to do with the lack of character depth. We get a glimpse of what makes the main character tick, but I cannot say the same about the other characters in the story. Therefore, it was difficult to relate to most of them and root for them to succeed. Some characters' roles were not clear, as I couldn't tell if they were good or bad. Perhaps more effort should have been put into giving more details about certain characters through the dialogue. There are no plot holes, thankfully, and everything comes together in a satisfying ending that indicates that there will be a sequel to this book.
All things considered, Heaven’s Expedition deserves a rating of 3 out of 4. The book is an engaging, suspenseful read, but the issues I discussed above convinced me to rate the book just below the maximum rating. Even though the book's description says that it is for young adults, I would still recommend this book to older fans of action and fantasy novels.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon