By: Christoph Marzi
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale
The night that Heaven lost her heart was cold and moonless. But the blade that sliced it out was warm with her dark blood…David Pettyfer is taking a shortcut over the dark rooftops of London’s brooding houses, when he literally stumbles across Heaven: a strange, beautiful, distraught girl who says that bad men have stolen her heart. Yet she’s still alive…And so begins David and Heaven’s wild, exciting and mysterious adventure – to find Heaven’s heart, and to discover the incredible truth about her origins. Part thriller, part love story and part fairy tale, this brilliantly original novel from a bestselling German author will take your breath away…
Ordinarily when I choose a book from the library, or anywhere else for that matter, I do a little research first. Like most people, I look at the cover. Does is grab my attention? Does it fit my mood? Then I go to the back of the book. Does it sound interesting? Is there an actual plot, or does it just seem like fluffy romance with no “meat”? Then I go to Goodreads for a rating. Sometimes, I admit to reading/skimming a review or two, but generally I try to refrain from doing so. I like to form my own opinions on a book before reading other’s. I also will look up Amazon ratings from time to time as well.
Heaven was an exception. I never even saw the blurb before checking it out. I loved the cover ,and the back cover only reads: “The night that Heaven lost her heart was cold and moonless. But the blade that sliced it out was warm with her dark blood. -A compelling urban fairy tale where love, death, and the stars collide…”
I had no idea what to expect. Other than classic fairy tales and fairytale twists on classics, I’ve never read an original fairy tale, and I wasn’t sure that I’d like it. I honestly felt a little silly carrying it around. But I just couldn’t resist the cover and the intriguing back.
It took me a couple of weeks before I picked Heaven up once I brought her home. I even had to renew it before I opened it. But once I did, it was she difficult to put down.
David Pettyfer is a teenage boy from a challenging family life. When he left home to try to make it on his own, he found himself getting into trouble, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and eventually getting arrested. We meet David as he is trying to leave that world and the woman who he has gotten tangled up with behind. He spends his time working for a lovely old lady in her book shop and roaming the streets of London (well, more like the rooftops of London) delivering books to eccentric customers. It’s on one of these delivery runs that he meets a girl named Heaven with a strange story.
At first, David doesn’t buy Heaven’s story of having her heart removed by a man with gloves and a “raggedy man”, not even when he couldn’t feel her heart beating when she placed his hand on her chest. But who can blame him? No one can survive without a heart.
It isn’t until David sees the bewildered look on the doctor’s face at the two men that she described show up at the hospital to collect her. David and Heaven spend the next several days trying to figure out the mystery of how she could be alive despite not having a heart and what part her deceased parents play in this story, all while being chased by an evil man in leather gloves.
Being a “fairy tale”, obviously, the storyline is unbelievable. And while this sort of thing might have ordinarily have turned me off, the writing and storytelling is beautiful. Marzi’s face-paced story with vivid imagery pulled me into the book and wouldn’t let go.
As far as rating goes, this was a little difficult. I generally like stories that could be true. However, this one was done so well that it hardly matters. I’ve read a couple of reviews since finishing the book where people complained that the villain was pure evil, with no real true humanistic qualities, making him very flat. I didn’t have a problem with this at all, given the genre and who we discover this man actually is in the end.
My one beef would be the supporting characters. I would have like to have gotten to know Mr Mickey, Miss Trodwood, and Heaven’s neighbours, Julian and Eve, a little better. The author even introduced David’s friend, Mike, who ended up playing no part in the story. I also would have like the book to have ended with the last chapter. I found that the epilogue only took away from the magic of the story and made it a little ordinary. Kind of like watching Cinderella move into the castle after marrying the prince.
A fun and different read that I think most YA fantasy fans will enjoy!
About the Author:
Christoph Marzi (born 1970 in Mayen and grew up in Obermendig) lives with his family in the Saarland today and thinks there and elsewhere where the garden that surrounds the house becomes increasingly wild and strange. His novels appear at Heyne and Arena, the many short stories feel well in various anthologies. The novel LYCIDAS was awarded the Deutsches Phantastikpreis in the category “Best Novel Debut German Language” in 2005. The short story collection NIMMERMEHR received the German Fantastic Prize 2009 in the category “Best Short History Collection”. Some of his books have been translated into English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Czech, Serbian, Norwegian and Japanese.
(From Goodreads and translated by Google Translate)
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