Twixt Heaven and Hell - Tristan Gregory
I need to start out by saying this review is different from my other reviews. I have decided to critique the book instead of trying to give you a summary. If this is what you would rather see, let me know. Otherwise I will stick to this format.
I would call this novel a stand-alone epic. Most people consider series such as Wheel of Time and Ice and Fire as Epics, but I chose to use the word Epic in a different way. Some of you may agree, some of you may not. Oh Well. Epic to me is something that will stand the test of time. I know I will always remember\reread the books by Jordan and Martin and I will enjoy every time as if it were my first. The same falls true with Twixt Heaven and Hell. Tristan, unfortunately considers it a “one and done” novel. Personally I would love for him to expand this world (as he may have done in The Wandering Tale, but I have yet to read that) and extend this into a series of “one and done” within the same world with the same characters. Sorry, had to be said…. Here’s the review….
Tristan did an amazing job creating the world in the novel. The magic used by humans is the standard wizard\sorcerer wave of the hand magic, nothing special there, however the magic used with the symbols is ingenious. Excellent idea of engraving the Angelic symbols on to different mediums.
I feel he also did an excellent job with character growth. When we first meet Darius he is a battle hardened wizard; he goes out with his regiment, the Gryphons , and makes amazing advancements for his side in the perpetual war between Heaven and Hell. During the novel Darius starts to see the follies of their ways leading to his ultimate decision near the end of the book. Tristan also portrayed the feelings of pain and loss perfectly. I almost wept with Darius over the loss of a close friend.
The supporting characters are yet another reason I would like to have more from this world. Balkan, Arric and Robert are, I feel, the three biggest supporting characters in the book. Balkan represents the family that Darius could have had, as well as the lab based research that offsets Darius’ more practical field tests. Arric is the essential barrier to Darius’ wishes for autonomy concerning decisions affecting the war. Robert is Darius’ grounding rod on the battle field, 2nd in command and best friend.
The plot is a twist on the ageless battle between good and evil, with Angles and Demons fighting openly and visually in the realm of men. Humans have been recruited by both sides in the holy war and kill each other with the magic granted them by their overseers. Darius is the one who eventually tires of the war’s losses and finds a way to change it forever.
Excellent read\reread\reread… I stick to the term Epic to describe this style of book, type of writing and the feeling it inspires in its readers, not the ‘politically correct’ term for series containing multiple novels. Great job Tristan, keep it up and give us more.