BOOK REVIEW: The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz

Mike Auburn is addicted to thrill seeking, engaging in stunts that bring him close to death. He doesn’t just do it for the adrenaline rush, bringing himself close to death enables him to see into the afterlife. His abilities attract the attention of various parties looking to recruit him. The end of the world is coming soon and Mike’s abilities will prove useful to them.

I have a confession to make. I’m not a fan of most things labeled “fantasy.” The first Harry Potter book bored me as a kid, I have no desire to read any Tolkien, and if I weren’t sent this book to review, I wouldn’t have looked twice at it. I’m not saying that all fantasy is bad, I’ve read and reviewed fantasy books that I very much enjoyed. Plus this book is an urban fantasy, which I usually find much more enjoyable than high fantasy. I feel it was necessary to put my biases out there, because I disliked this book, but I really think it was more due to personal taste.

Towards the beginning of The Seventh Age: Dawn, I was very engaged with the story and the character of Mike Auburn. However, about 1/4th of the way into the book, it started to lose me. Heinz introduces a lot of characters and plot points and the book jumps between them a lot. I usually enjoy this style of storytelling, but here it just made it hard for me to grasp on to anything. Like a lot of the fantasy that bores me that I mentioned, the story becomes lost in its world building. There’s way too many expository exchanges in the dialogue for my taste.

“’All right. Fine. You want me to focus on the mission. Tell me again what the hell the plan is,’ Mike said, banging his head on the window in frustration.

Mike could almost feel Bollard roll his eyes before he responded. He revved the van up close to a poor sedan, almost running it off the road. ‘For the seventh time, in your language, there is a bad guy who did a bad thing and we are going to spot him,’ Bollard said at last.”

Whenever the story switched back to Mike, I could get somewhat invested again, but for a good chunk of the story, it feels like he doesn’t get much to do. At one point in the story, Mike eats the heart of a demon and becomes a vampire. Between that, which happens relatively early in the story, and the final confrontation with the villain, I can’t think of much else he does. While he actually does a lot, I had to skim back through the middle to remind myself he did. These parts left me so unengaged, that I forgot about them as soon as I finished the chapter.

While I can think of the names of the others important characters besides Mike, I couldn’t tell you anything other than their basic role in the story. No one except the main character was at all interesting to me. That might be fine if the story followed Mike the whole time, but it doesn’t.

The climax of the book did get me interested again, but after that the book just putters to a halt. I can’t blame Heinz, since this is the first in a series. I can’t say I’m at all interested in read the future installments though.

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